Are you making the Personalized LinkedIn request mistake? I hope not.

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

It never fails. Not a day goes by when I don’t receive this request from a stranger on LinkedIn. Still the biggest surprise: no personalized requests.

I wrote an article on this very topic just a few short months ago, yet this baffling behavior continues, and I seem powerless to stop it.

Help me out, folks!

Are you making this LinkedIn mistake? I hope not, because:

  • You’re being rude.  First and foremost, it’s just not good manners to use the default LinkedIn request. Many of us don’t appreciate random requests without a personal message. We may even be tempted to hit “Report Spam” or “I Don’t Know This Person” button. If that happens a few times, you could be banned from the site.
  • You’re being lazy.  Not a good first impression to make. It only takes 2-3 minutes to write a personalized message.
  • I forgot who you are.  Though I don’t mean to, I may have forgotten you if we met a long time ago, or we haven’t spoken in a while. Personalize your message with a gentle reminder!
  • I can’t help you if I don’t know who you are. Personalizing your request gives me context. Who knows – I may even help you land your next job!

If you’ve requested a connection with me, you may have been surprised not only by how quickly I replied, but by my personalized message to you. I probably asked you why you wanted to connect. I probably also, very politely, mentioned that you didn’t include a personalized message with your request.

This was my very polite way of telling you to be careful. If you responded – whether you were legitimately sorry, or offered excuses, I’ll remember.

If you didn’t reply, shame on you! Like the thank-you letters your mother (hopefully) encouraged you to write, LinkedIn requests should be personalized and standard.

LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, folks. Let’s not treat it as such.