Recruiter: Stop making this mistake on LinkedIn

It’s a blunder that snares a number of people on LinkedIn and elsewhere. The author explains how—and why—to avoid it.

There is one frustrating and confusing mistake on LinkedIn I see frequently.

Stop doing the minimum and start sticking out

As the director of talent and culture at Likeable Media, I’m on the front lines meeting applicants, so I get quite a few LinkedIn connection requests. I accept 99 percent percent of those requests, because I never know where the next great candidate is going to come from.

However, the majority of people sending me requests are missing an opportunity to engage with me from the start. I get far too many of these: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” It’s the default connection request.

Why the minimum will never work

Even if you’re not looking for a job, the LinkedIn connection is a great place to tell people who you are or what you hope to accomplish. Far too many will do the minimum and expect the maximum. But let’s face it: Nobody wants to work with, engage with, or pay people who are doing the minimum.

To be successful today, you must differentiate yourself. Personalizing a message and taking an extra step will help get you there.

Where else does this apply?

This rule applies—everywhere. Your first engagement with someone—whether it’s on Twitter, email, or LinkedIn—should be personalized and forward, and provide the reader/recipient with some value. Don’t just ask for something without context.

Here’s an example of a LinkedIn connection—which person appears to be a better connection?


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

John Doe



I saw the position of community manager listed on your website. I think that my prior experience working with a few brands as a social media associate has put me in a position to be successful with Likeable. I’d love to discuss my experience and how I might be able to help take Likeable to the next level.

John Doe

P.S. I saw you are a New York Red Bulls fan! Hope they win on Saturday! #RBNY

I’ll take the second person every time.

Brian Murray is the director of talent and culture at Likeable Media. You can follow him on Twitter, @BTMurr. A version of this story first appeared on the Likeable blog.

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