It’s easy to send a LinkedIn connection request with no message, but that makes it just as easy for the person on the other end to decline that request. You’re not showing any interest in them or any reason for them to want to connect with you, and as a result, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on a great networking opportunity. But what are you supposed to say in the message?
Before we jump into the key components of a good LinkedIn connection request, let’s talk about the structure. It should be pretty short and easy to read. Don’t make it more than a paragraph, with 2 sentences max allowed for each component I’ll mention, but shorter is generally better.
You’ll also want to keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to be more friendly and personal than the average professional email – you’re talking to a person about their work, not to a company, so it’s okay to keep it somewhat light and friendly. It’s also great to personalize these components towards each individual you request, just so they’re aware you aren’t firing off copy-and-pasted messages to every person recommended for you – it shows you’re genuinely interested in them.
You have an idea of who you’re connecting with already, but they’ll want to know who you are before they connect! When you’re writing this portion of the message, write it like you would a professional summary on your resume. Keep it to a quick 1-2 sentences where you state what you do professionally. No need to impress them with any highlights, just say enough about your current situation to spark interest.
Part of your introduction should also involve a quick mention of where you stumbled across their profile and why it interested you, just so they’re clear on where you’re coming from.
State Your Intent
Be honest right off the bat about why you’re interested in connecting with them. Let them know you’re interested in opportunities at their company, or that you’re new to the workforce and interested in their line of work. You could even simply say you’re impressed by their skills and work experience and would love to connect. This sets an expectation right out of the gate and gives them a reason to accept your request.
Find Common Ground
By stating your intent in connecting with them, you’ve clarified why they’re a good connection for you to have – but how can you interest them? Look for common ground on their profile and bring that up in your request message. Maybe you’re both alumni from the same school, or you see that they have screenwriting as a skill on their profile and you have on-set experience. Just mention anything that could tie the two of you together outside of your own reasons for connecting.
It’s just that simple – then, you’ll have a new connection! Once your request is accepted, remember to shoot off another message thanking them, allowing the opportunity for a conversation to blossom and further displaying that your interest in them was sincere. If you asked to learn more about their company, feel free to ask if they’d like to meet up (even over Zoom!) to discuss your interests further, or even just use the LinkedIn chat function to send your questions. With this formula, you’ll quickly have a whole new network of professional contacts to tap into.
Struggling to figure your career journey out right now? Ask Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, a Career Question!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Featured Image: Adobe Stock