Home > Resumes > LinkedIn Invitation Etiquette

LinkedIn Invitation Etiquette

Lately I have noticed a flurry of LinkedIn invitation activity. What bothers me is not the amount of invitations being sent or received but how users are going about the invitation process. So I’ve put together this brief blurb on LinkedIn invitation etiquette.linkedin

I do not mind receiving invitations from people I have never met (even though LinkedIn says you should really only accept invites from people you know.) If I feel that a connection would be mutually beneficial, in most cases I will accept. However, what irks me is when I receive inmail from someone I have never met requesting that I send them an invitation. I know you only receive a certain number of invitations from LinkedIn and it is NOT OK to request that I use one of mine to connect with you if: I’ve never met you before, have no clue who you are, and you have already used all your invitations. This is just poor form and will promptly get your message deleted.

If we don’t know each other, do not send a blanket invitation request. If you just send the standard invitation I won’t know who you are or why you want to connect. When I want to connect with someone I do not personally know I find a common link and then tell them about it. For example, I have not met all the other great professional resume writers out there but I want to make connections and learn and grow. So if I find someone’s blog that I really enjoy reading I’ll request to connect and tell them. I’ll say I really loved your blog, it’s very informative and I would really like to connect. In almost all cases the other person has accepted my invitation.

I have also connected with tons of recruiters. I connect with them because we have a career path that runs along the same track. We’re both trying to help job seekers, we just help them in two different ways. It is always a good idea to connect with people in similar industries who you could potentially partner with later down the road.

Don’t waste invitations on people that could really have no value to your job search or career. (especially if you do not know them.) If you are in one part of the world and they are in the other, both in completely different industries, and the chances of either of you being beneficial to each other is slim to none – do not waste your invitation. Remember, you only get so many and when that one great connection comes along that you just HAVE to make – you want to make sure you have an invitation to send.

Scout out the right people and ensure you make connections ‘with a purpose’. Don’t just frivolously throw invitations away to connect on a whim.

Remember proper etiquette when sending invitations, let the ‘invited’ know WHY you want to connect and even what you can bring to the connection. The idea is that connections will be mutual beneficial and not just a one way street.

For more information on LinkedIn view our profile development page.

Jessica Holbrook is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. She has written more than 100 articles that are featured on some of the best career advice Web sites today. In addition, her writing has been included in Launch pad, a career search strategy guide featuring exclusive information by the top career experts in the industry.

As CEO of Great Resumes Fast, Jessica enjoys collaborating with forward-thinking professionals and executives, identifying their personal brand and value proposition and leveraging their unique talent, passion, and vision to position them as a leader in their industry. Her passion is helping professionals and executives uncover what makes them stand out in the crowd.

For a free resume analysis, e-mail your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com.

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Categories: Resumes
  1. Pradeep Kumar
    November 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Hi
    Nice writeup.
    Thanks
    Rgards
    Pradeep

  2. Ilana Shapiro
    November 5, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you for this article. It is very informative.

    Do you know how many invitations one gets?

    Best,
    Ilana

    • November 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm

      I believe you get 3,000 total – I will have to double check that to be absolutely sure.

  3. Dave
    November 6, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Please take this article to heart..not using LinkIn or other social media correctly, can cost you an opportunity regardless of how good a fit your are for the position.

  4. Bill Walton
    November 6, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Thanks….I just sent an invite to someone I didn’t know with an explanation about why. I felt kind of guilty about it, but I actually thought we had similar career paths in the same industry.

  5. Rakesh Sud
    November 6, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Sending an email to someone asking them to invite is not necessarily a bad thing. It is up to the recepient to send the invite if he feels the connection will be useful to him.

    Rakesh Sud

  6. Shulonda Adane
    November 6, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Great article and very informative…thanks for sharing

  7. November 6, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Thank you for this nice article

  8. Paulo Lopes
    November 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Very good remarks. I think that with the development in the net of social networks Linkedin started to be confused with these ones and less of a way of putting togetther same industry professionals for development of their own careers by many people. Thanks also for the information that is a limit on the invitations you can send although I am glad I am far away from the number givven to a late question. However, I should say that perhaps the flurry of invatitions as to do with some job insecurity or even job loss and the fact that recruiterrs, as far as I know, haven´t been ver active through LinkedIn but on these late one I might be dead wrong. Again very good points raised. Kind regards.

  9. November 6, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Jessica, really interesting article. The whole social media marketing space has really yet to take off in the UK and we are a little behind the US so unfortunately I suspect unsolicited approaches will increase by those uneducated in how to use social media as a business development tool, especially as LinkedIn is the second largest social media site.

  10. Sanju Laitonjam
    November 6, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Nice Article, I am sure we all face this everyday. When we receive an invitation and we would really wish people would mention something to connect- atleast I do. Sometimes I get an invitation indicating friends but I find it hard to re-collect when did I met the person and the note attached does not give me any hint either.

    I do practice the good things you mentioned and hope everyone will do the same.

  11. S.K.Srivastava
    November 6, 2009 at 10:43 am

    True guidance. It will help a lot to those who invite unknown people.
    regards,
    S.K.Srivastava, India

  12. Vera Peres
    November 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Very appropriate!!
    Thank you

  13. Carmela Ciotti-Hooper
    November 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Great article….totally in agreement. Thanks for putting it out there.

  14. Patty Malenfant
    November 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Great article! I have always wondered who to connect with on LinkedIn, especially when I may have only met a person through an introduction.

  15. November 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Jessica,
    Great article.
    I have sent e-mails to a number of people that I have never met, asking them to view my profile and my company, and to let me know if we have something in common to network with and if we do, would they network with me?

    I would be more than glad to send them an invitation. These are people that I have taken the time to view their profiles and done my homework, where I feel that we could network effectively and where we might mutually benefit from the relationship and in all cases I write a nice polite request.

    In some cases they have sent me their invitation. They can either ignore my request or say no, either way, I will be OK with it. My intent here is not to solicit an invitation from them. I did not know that there was a limit on invitations, I’m not even close to 500 never mind 3000.

    The reason I decided to take this route, was because I was using the standard format to invite someone I did not know. I would write a paragraph simular to what I described above and asked if they would network with me, the majority would accept with no problem, but you have a number of people that instead of declining or ignoring your request, they click on “I do not know this person” or whatever the wording is for someone you have not met, and when people do that, you go LinkeIn Jail, which basically says:

    “Please note: This message is a notice that you are nearing the threshold of “I don’t know” responses you can receive before you will be required to enter an email address when sending invitations. Please remember to only invite people you know.”

    I did not know that there was a threshold on I don’t know this person responses” I checked on the total of the invitations that I’ve sent out and the I don’t know this person constitutes 3% which means that 97% of the recipients accepted or declined. This is a form of Spam on individual which I believe to be unfair.

    This is a platform for networking with people, build some business relationships,and some of us are just tryng to rebuild our lifes after this catastrophic economy.

    I have enjoyed LinkedIn for quite a while. I have met a lot of wonderful people here. In my opinion this is the best networking site today.

    If you go to LinkedIn jail the only recourse you have to grow your network, is to write to someone and asked them if they would network with you.

    Thanks for your article.

  16. Phil Henderson
    November 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I too get a tremendous number of invitations to connect with people I don’t know and most of the time (because of my schedule), I simply delete the invitation. If the person would take the time to actually introduce themselves and why they want to link up, I would be more receptive.

    I hope people read your article and apply the principles.

  17. November 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    This was helpful to me. I have just started to use Linkedin to search for people who are ‘early adopters’ in the HR field. My job is to locate people who wish to participate in the Beta for a new online recruiting tool. The numerous groups within the HR field have allowed me to be more targeted in my approach to finding people. Your suggestions have given me confidence that I will do a better job of finding these indivduals.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post it.

  18. November 6, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I will normally send someone an email asking them if it’s OK to send an invite prior to sending it. There are folks out there who don’t use Linked In or do not want to get extra email – I’ve ran across 2 instances where I asked people via email if they wanted to Link In, and they said no. I’m glad I asked before sending the invitation.

    Regards,

    Glenn

  19. November 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Jessica – Wonderful Article!

    I will save in my list of Help Items For Candidates. This is something every candidate needs to read as they network to their next opportunity.

  20. Ed Rosenbaum
    November 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Jessica,
    Very well written and presented. Thank you for making me think clearer about how to best build my network.

  21. Candace
    November 7, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Do most people on linkedin REALLY know each other? You are fortuante that you have a large following, but really is it cumbersome to read requests that quickly and reject if you don’t want them in your network? This is the foundation of linkedin, make your profile private and only those with the paid subscription can connect with you. Not being critical, but linkedin…..is what it means…..linkedin.

  22. November 9, 2009 at 7:00 am

    I absolutely agree that inviting someone on their request is usually not a good idea if you don’t have a reason to be connected. As mentioned in the article it can be a waste of the limited number of invites LinedIn provides.

    However, the problem becomes far less critical when someone from the start is using the correct strategy for connecting. That strategy doesn’t use up one’s invitations!

    I have nearly 3000 connections and I have only used about 200 invitations, and most of those were getting my network started before I found the correct strategies for building a network of valued connections.

    It is my opinion, and I teach in my blog and LinkedIn courses that the best invitations are those you attract and if you do wish to invite someone the last resort is using the LinkedIn invite system.

    By the way, you can send a message to someone you don’t know and ask them to invite you and get an almost 100% positive result if you really understand how to make an invitation. I do this all the time.

    • November 9, 2009 at 11:42 am

      Hi Flyn,

      Sendig a message requesting an invite is one of the very things I talk about in my article ‘not to do’. I personally believe it’s rude to request an invitation versus using on of your own to invite the person and briefly explain why you would like to be connected.

      Thanks,
      Jessica

  23. Mark Woodman
    November 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Jessica, totally agree with your excellent article. I would add that recently LinkedIn reduced the invitation mail to just 200 characters which makes it a little difficult to include any reasons behind the invitation. Unless LinkedIn increases the number of characters, the best way to make contact may well be to send an email first, as Glenn has written in #19 above.

  24. Fredrik LA
    November 14, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Interesting thoughts you are bringing forth in this article, but I have problems to accept the basis of the conclusions. Linkedin is a great arena to connect, with others on a private level asmuch as getting involved in professional networking – both needs a reason.

    So, with this in mind I find it difficult to agree with this article. A good professional networker is always proactive (as far as I am concerned), the same way as a good leader is always open to responses from all levels of organised hierarchy – equally. Kept in mind the saying “Always smile to the receptionist, that person could terminate your long time efforts to close deals further up the stairs, in ways you would never even imagine”

    There might be reasons, not visible yet, when one get approaches or invitations. And if one is not interested in the dynamics of these doings, I can not suggest other than to back out.

    In this case, close ones Linkedin account for invitations from any other than existing first line contacts. Which for me personally would make Linkedin a total waste of time!

  25. November 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    LinkedIn networking is a useful tool in a job search. But, like all venues, it is becoming a quagmire of over use. If you seek a job in medical device sales, you are better off joining a niche job board like GorillaMed.com, which focuses solely on medical sales jobs.

  26. fabio
    November 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Jessica,
    very useful article, I agree on that.
    Also interesting the comments of the other readers.
    Good to know and to share all points.

  27. Sateesh Akulapelly
    November 17, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Hi,
    Thank you very much for such a informative article.

  28. Steve Hutton
    November 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Good post. Thanks for the info. This should be required reading for everyone on LinkedIn.

  29. Neliana Pucci
    November 28, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Nice article!

    Regards,

    Neliana – Brasil

  30. Jamie
    December 6, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Thanks for this article. All new LinkedIners should read it.

  1. November 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm
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