5 Tips to Maximize LinkedIn Requests

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Generic LinkedIn Requests End Relationships Before They Start.


I am a LinkedIn super user & love its power for managing my professional network.

Self proclaimed super user – but here are the facts to back this up:

  • I have 1,000+ business connections (that I actually personally know)
  • I run a group of 2,500+ members about campus recruiting & social media
  • I spend minimum 15 min/per day managing my LinkedIn network
  • I post minimum 3 statuses a week on LinkedIn sharing articles
  • I love the power of LinkedIn to manage my professional network, soft recruit, and gain industry advice/best practices through the power of participating in groups (more on that in a later blog post). I use LinkedIn to manage all of my business connections – people I have worked with, currently work with, and professionals I meet at conferences. These are individuals I want to extend an in-person relationship via this online space. Additionally, I like connecting with people I engage regularly with in group discussions.

    My Biggest LinkedIn Pet Peeve: Generic Invites

    My biggest pet peeve on LinkedIn is absolutely the generic invite – especially from people I don’t know!

    WHY would I let you into my network when you can’t even take the 10 seconds to write a personalized message on why you want to connect?

    This does not feel like a relationship request to me (meaning there are benefits on both sides) – this feels extremely one sided and you have everything to gain.

    Those 11 words “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” does not start a professional relationship with me. In fact, it ends it before it even starts. To build connections in an online space, remember that first impressions matter.

    Use these proven 5 tips to maximize your LinkedIn requests and build meaningful online relationships.

    5 Simple Tips to Maximize LinkedIn Requests:

    1. Avoid the Easy “Connect” Button

    Don’t just click the easy “connect” button under “people you may know” as this sends the auto connection message. Go into the person’s profile & then send a connection request.

    Be very careful using the new LinkedIn mobile app as if you click “connect” it automatically sends a generic invite. I inadvertently did this just last week to a colleague’s contact – which makes for a bit of an awkward explanation versus personalizing my request to begin with!

    2. Do Your Homework Before Sending an Invite

    View someone’s profile & think WHY you want to connect to them.

  • View their company, work history & interests so you can personalize your note.
  • Determine what’s in it for them or for you?
  • Be clear on your intentions.
  • 3. Write a Personalized Connection Request

    Show them you took the time to view their profile and want to work on this relationship.


    If you haven’t met:
    “I’m very interested in learning more about XXX company and your career path from marketing to an HR professional and would like to connect.”


    “My colleague recommended I reach out to you regarding your facilitation skills. I would like to connect to discuss working together.”

    If you have met in person, detail when/where you met:
    “It was great to meet you at the Campus Recruiting Forum yesterday in Toronto. I look forward to staying in touch to keep talking about social media & millennial recruiting.”

    4. Send Requests Within 24 hours

    24 hours of meeting in person that is – this helps ensure they accept your request as the memory of meeting is clear.

    5. Respond to Invitation Requests Regularly

    This means both to accept & decline. Don’t leave people in limbo land without a response.

    A Little Experiment with Generic Invites:

    I recently completed a little experiment.

    My purpose: test my theory about generic connection requests & people’s seriousness about networking.

    For those individuals who sent me a generic LinkedIn connection request who I didn’t know, I responded saying “Thank you for the request to connect. I take my network very seriously and want to connect with people to further discussions or ideas. As we have not yet met, why are you interested in connecting?”

    Of the 50 generic invites I received & responded with this message, guess how many responded ?! Only One! That’s 2%.

    This tells me that if you can’t take the time to write a personalized request – how much effort will you put into networking? Likely a big fat ZERO. So, what’s the purpose of connecting in the first place!?

    Your Connections on LinkedIn:

    What’s your acceptance policy or practice for LinkedIn requests you don’t know?

    How are you going to change your request practices?

    Chelsea Newton
    Chelsea is known as a dynamic and engaging talent consultant and professional speaker. As a Certified Executive Coach, she is extremely passionate about helping people realize both their goals and full potential. Chelsea has worked in 12 countries around the world helping Fortune 500 companies recruit, train, develop, and motivate top talent using cutting edge communication techniques and social media. She is currently developing top talent in the oil sands and speaking across Canada as the founder of Talent Formula.

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    • Danica Asanovic

      Completely agree !!! I receive these requests too frequently – as a recruiter, it’s great to have an overview on what potential candidates are interested in connecting about vs. a generic/empty invite.

      • chelsea

        Thanks Danica for the comment. It amazes me that people don’t take the few seconds to personalize the response – such a simple start to kickstart a professional relationship. Do you respond to people with generic invites you don’t know or just decline the invite?

    • Harpaul Sambhi

      Chelsea – great article – I too have done experiments similar to yours. I had a 6% response rate, many whom sent me a generic response of “Thank you for connecting (even though I didn’t accept their invite), at this moment, I am fine”. I really question the definition of what “social network” is to people. You quickly see those who are true networkers to those that aren’t.

      • chelsea

        Thanks Harpaul for the read & the comment. It’s interesting to hear you had a very similar response rate – just goes to show they didn’t have that much interest in the connection. I think people need to put effort into connecting via the social world just as they would in the real world – just think of LinkedIn as an online cocktail party after a conference!

    • Katie Ovington

      Great article Chelsea. I, like many others on the network, have experienced random, generic connecting too many times to even count. I wish it was a requirement on the network to write a personalized message before sending a connection request. I’ve shared this post with my network to further drill home the goal & value of social networking and how to do it right.

      • chelsea

        Thanks so much for sharing Kate! It’s great to hear that someone at LinkedIn also stresses the value of a personalized message!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing!

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