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5 things your LinkedIn profile needs before I click ‘Connect’


Now let’s get this straight.

I’m not the kind of person that would march up to someone I’ve never met before, give them a business card and then walk away.

It’s just not the way I am.

But with the increase in popularity of sites like LinkedIn, it’s something we’re all doing on a daily basis, just without the awkwardness of actually having to talk to someone or look them in the eye.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being positive and proactive. But the problem with connecting anonymously is that people often feel they don’t have to put in the same amount of effort when connecting with people online than when they meet in person - and it’s because of this that I’m particularly fussy about the approaches that I accept.

So if you’re thinking of sending me a LinkedIn invite, here are the five things your profile must contain before I even consider giving a response.

1. A profile picture

They say people don’t remember names but remember faces, and this is certainly the case with me when connecting with people online. A good profile picture will give me a good idea of who you are. Besides, if you don’t use a profile picture then you’re obviously not optimising your LinkedIn page properly, so there’s little incentive for me to accept your approach.

2. A complete profile

Things like spelling mistakes, blank spaces and an overall lack of attention to detail are hardly a great way of selling yourself. So make sure your profile is at least complete and error-free, even if you only give a brief summary of who you are and what you’ve been up to. If all you do is tell me your name and your current job title, you’re not giving me much to go on.

3. That personal touch

If your invitation reads, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin," then it’s clear you can’t be bothered to take the time to write even the most simple greeting. Try something like, “Hi, remember me? We went to a training seminar about five years ago...” Or tell me you have seen some of my posts or liked what I’ve said in a group discussion. But if you only send the standard invitation message I’ll have no idea who you are, and will be less likely to link up with you.

4. Good connections

Of course everyone has to start somewhere, but if you have next to no connections on your LinkedIn profile I may just assume you someone trying to spend me spam. Even if you haven’t had an account long, family members or classmates should be willing to connect with you. And if not, then why should I?

5. Honesty

An online profile shouldn’t be the blank canvas for out-and-out dishonesty that so many people think it is. False achievements, random contacts and made-up job titles won’t fool anyone for long, so stick to what you are good at. Because your account might be real, but if I’m not sure, it’s unlikely I’m going to risk connecting with you.  

2 Responses

  1. That personal touch


    Great article Matthew. 

    For me point 3 – that personal touch is so important.   If you are taking the time to press connect then take the time to write something personal or different.  You'll immediately stand out and it can begin a conversation. 

    Whenever I receive a reply without a personal message I reply asking that person what makes them want to connect and what they'd like to get out of connecting with me.   Then I can decide if its worth connecting or not.  

    Remember LinkedIn is effective if you engage with the people you are connected to, otherwise you just have a virtual business card holder.   

  2. Hi Blake,

    Hi Blake,

    Thanks for your kind words and comments.

    I agree. So many people see LinkedIn as purely a point of contact and don’t bother to make it personal at all.

    Like in life, a simple greeting and some basic manners cost nothing but go a long way.

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