Digital networking is one of the most important ways to build your professional network. Without meeting people at in-person networking events, conferences and social gatherings, you can still make impactful introductions on LinkedIn to build your professional network.
Quality matters more than quantity when it comes to building your professional network. It’s not just how many connections you have, but the types of relationships that you’ve built with them. Taking the time to engage with your connections, both letting them get to know you and illustrating what you have to offer, is an investment in your career.
A strong digital network can help you to:
- learn about the hidden job market whenever you put out feelers for new opportunities;
- re-connect with old coworkers or folks from your university; and,
- benefit someone else by providing help, expertise or a recommendation.
Personalized invitations = awesome first impressions
Connect with people who you’d like to get to know on LinkedIn by sending a personalized introduction, rather than the automated request to connect that LinkedIn suggests. It’s even more important to do this if the person is a “cold” contact, as in someone who might not recognize your name or know someone close to you.
It might be tempting to simply send an automated request to a new contact by clicking “Connect” under a person’s name. But doing just a few extra minutes of research, and then sharing why you’d like to be in touch and/or how you can help them, will go miles in terms of getting closer to having a genuine relationship with someone.
(If this sounds hard , don’t worry! I’ve already drafted a plug-and-play message template for you. Read to the bottom of this blog post for the link to the free download.)
Remember to visit LinkedIn’s Help website to learn how to personalize your invitation to connect with just a few extra clicks. The instructions depend on the device you’re using.
4 perks of customizing your LinkedIn intros:
Although it takes a tad more effort, customized introductions can help you to:
1. Show the person you mean business
Taking the time to include a customized message can show them that having them in your professional network is very important to you. The person would be likely to engage with you in the future if they get a sense of your professionalism right off the bat.
2. Don’t get lost in the fray of spammers
Have you ever received a request from a sales person, a bot, or even been hit on via LinkedIn? You can bet that the person you’d like to engage with has too. Stand out and let them know that you’re a real, professional human that they should get to know by personalizing your introduction request.
3. Spell out what’s in it for them
Yes, building your network can help you get a job or build your professional expertise. But why should others connect with you? Share a little bit about yourself, possible ways that you could share knowledge, and things that you might have in common like companies, cities, or fields that you both worked in. And things that could be either valuable or of interest to them. Some examples include job opportunities volunteering opportunities or areas of expertise or articles that you think the person might be interested in.
4. Show respect
If the person is miles ahead of your in their career, or if connecting with them would benefit you in some way, putting time into a customized introduction message is a subtle way of acknowledging this.
Free download: Intro message template for LinkedIn
To speed up the process of building your network, and to reduce the work for you, I’ve created a template that you can simply copy-and-paste into intros on LinkedIn. Yes, it’s true: You can use it for any and all LinkedIn introduction messages whenever you need to. However, feel free to tweak it as you wish.
Just keep your message within 140 characters. LinkedIn has just imposed this new limit on intro messages.
I hope that it brings you lots of luck as you expand your professional network!