How and Why to Connect on LinkedIn

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Chances are if you are reading this blog, you have a LinkedIn profile.

As the social media outlet of choice for business professionals, LinkedIn has evolved from a place to connect with others and share your work experience to a highly interactive, online networking community. And much like its fun lovin’ social media outlet cousin, Facebook, there are certain dos and don’ts when it comes to how and why you connect on LinkedIn.

- DO send an invite to folks who give you their business card, as rare as that may be these days. That, my friends, is an open invitation to connect.

- DO include a short personal message with every invitation. This can be as simple as, “Nice meeting you at XYZ,” or a longer explanation of why you think it makes sense for the two of you to be connected.

- DO send an invite to any human resource professionals/recruiters you may speak with on the phone, email, in-person, etc. They will most likely accept, as they understand the value in growing their network. And you should, too.

- DO send an invite to fellow college alumni, but DON'T ask them for a job.

- DON’T ask ANYONE for a job in your invite.

- DON’T ask for a referral in your invite.

- DON’T assume that people will remember how you know them. (This goes back to the importance of a personal message.)

- DON’T limit your connections to people within your own industry. That industry could change next month or next year. Build your network for the long haul.

Many, including our own team at Communications Collaborative, are still figuring out the best way to network on LinkedIn. We are always trying new approaches and tailoring our strategy based on what works and what doesn't. If you have dos and don’ts to add to the list, I’d love to hear them.