I get two or three dozen requests to connect on LinkedIn each day. However, I don’t accept them all. I’m not a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker). I find most people on Linkedin aren’t LIONs either. While I’m not 100% sure why they opt not to accept every request, here are two scenarios when I usually ignore an invitation to connect. I could be wrong, but I bet others use the same reasons I do…

Request To Connect = First Impression

Call me old fashioned, but I believe requesting to connect should require at least some small effort. Just because LinkedIn created this incredibly useful way for us to expand our network, doesn’t mean we should take all the steps out of the process. When someone doesn’t customize their request-to-connect text, for me, it indicates they don’t appreciate what it takes to build trust and respect. Nothing says, “I couldn’t spare 10 seconds out of my day to show you why I want to connect,” more than failing to customizing the request-to-connect text. Thus, when I see this default text:

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

I assume it’s like SPAM – impersonal and not worth my time.

I realize LinkedIn only gives you 300 characters to play with, but I’m not looking for an epic novel explanation. A simple, “Saw your article on the compliment that almost made you quit and liked it.” Or, “I just finished watching your Linkedin tutorial over at CAREEREALISM,” is all I really need. Just some simple context as to how you know me does the trick.

You Must Earn The Right To Ask For Help

Here’s the other kind of request I don’t accept. While some people do customize their request-to-connect text, what they choose to write is self-centered and off-target. For example, here are a several requests I recently received:

I got laid-off 9 months ago and time is running out on unemployment. Please connect so I can send you my resume. I need you to tell me what to do to make it stand out.

Translation: You’re in career trouble, and feel it’s my job to fix it. Even though we’ve never met.

Please take a look at my LinkedIn profile and then accept
my connection so you can tell me what’s wrong with it.

Translation: Not only are you telling me what to do, you are expecting me to connect so you can continue to demand things.

Dearest T.J., You seem smart about career coaching, so I challenge you to look
at my profile and tell me why nobody is contacting me for interviews.

Translation: You A) got my name wrong, B) gave me a back-handed compliment, and C) expect me to explain why you aren’t getting interviews.

And then, the best of all….

I spent thousands of dollars on career coaching services.
So, I can’t afford yours. I have no faith in your profession.
Take me on pro bono and restore my faith.

Translation: I’m supposed to work for free because you purchased a service from someone else that didn’t work out. Plus, you think I should feel honored to do so.

For the reasons above, I don’t see myself ever becoming a LION. I believe networking is best done when both sides enter into it professionally, politely, and without demanding rewards from the relationship before it’s even established.

What do you think? Do you have guidelines for accepting requests to connect?

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for Linkedin, but I’m also founder of a popular career advice site,CAREEREALISM,and currently run the career coaching program,CareerHMO. I hope you’ll check them both out!

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