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How to Connect With People You Don't Know on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn has become one of the major ways to connect with professionals, but if you're new to the platform, then you might not know that there's a certain etiquette when using it. You can make meaningful relationships on LinkedIn, but you have to understand how to connect with people you don't know on LinkedIn without seeming like a complete newbie.

How to Connect With People You Don't Know

There's a variety of reasons why you can connect with people you don't know on LinkedIn, but you have to know how to do it the correct way. When you connect with people, you may notice that there's a generic connection notice that will pop up in the person's email or LinkedIn page. If you're connecting with people that you do know, then you most likely don't give a second thought at changing this message. If you're trying to connect with a person in your field, but you don't know them, you have to change this message. Just think, would you want someone random that you don't recognize attempting to connect with you on LinkedIn?

Whether you've met this person at a random conference, networking event, or this is the first time you're connecting, you need to send a personalized message. First, you should introduce yourself, then explain up front what you want out of that person. That may seem different to how you may interact with someone in person, but it's best to be upfront on LinkedIn. That way the person can discern if they want to connect or not. It's also not enough to say you want to connect just to connect. There's a reason you want to communicate with this person, so you need to figure that out before you press connect.

Example Message For Connecting With Someone You Don't Know

Dear [Insert Name],

My name is [insert your name here], and I'm [put your job or prospective career path here]. We’ve never met, but [explain how you know them], and your advice has helped me understand [include something about your field here]. I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn to learn about your career path and gather your advice. Thank you for connecting!

[Insert your name here]

How to Connect With Alumni

Connecting with alumni is way different and in most cases should be easier than connecting with someone you don't know. Even though you may not know this person, alumni love reaching back and helping fellow members of their college, especially if your school fosters the importance of helping fellow college mates. Things may feel less formal, but you should still follow a certain protocol with alumni. They're more likely to reach out compared to random people, so be firm on what you want.

Example Message For Connecting With Alumni

Dear [Insert Name],

I am a recent [insert school name] graduate and a [put your job here]. I would like to connect with you on LinkeIn to learn about your career and gather your advice. Thank you for connecting!

[Insert your name here]

Tips to Heed Before Connecting on Linkedin

Since you're connecting on LinkedIn, you need to make sure that your profile is in tip-top shape. If you don't know the person you're trying to connect with, this is the first example they will see. Before you start networking, do a quick polish and look over of your profile. Make sure that your profile photo is professional, clear, and not a random selfie. Also, make sure to update all of your information and proofread every section of your profile. You want to make sure all of your job titles are current, and all of the information is accurate. The same goes for proofreading. If your profile is filled with typos and grammatical errors, your first impression is not going to be a strong one. Read through your profile to see if there are any mistakes before you hit connect.


About the Author

Allanah Dykes has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Politics from Fairfield University. She started her freelance career in 2016 and has written about how to land a job post-college, internships, and the interviewing process. She has pieces featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, and Popsugar.