“I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”

Not exactly the thrilling first impression you’d be hoping to impress upon professional colleagues, people you want to network with or someone at that awesome marketing agency you’re dying to work at. Most people either don’t take advantage of or aren’t aware of, LinkedIn’s customized request feature, which allows users to type a personalized message when requesting to connect with someone.

Don’t overlook this capability – taking the time to specify your relationship to the person, and explaining why you want to connect, can make a huge difference in determining whether or not they accept. Plus, some people out there won’t accept any generic requests, so make sure you stand out with the best LinkedIn invitations!

With only 300 characters to work with, it’s important to concisely plan what you want to say in order to maximize your chances of potentially working with this new contact. And most importantly, your message should reflect that you’re genuinely interested in connecting with them specifically, and not just on a mission to up your connection count. Use some of these tips and samples the next time you’re trying to impress someone on LinkedIn.

Writing an Effective “LinkedInvitation”

The best LinkedIn invitations include some basic key elements. Because your message can only be 300 characters, you don’t have to include every single tip listed, but make sure you customize the message so it’s the best it can be for your specific target.

Spruce Up Your Profile

Despite the old saying, people sometimes do judge a book by its cover – consider your personal book’s “cover” to be your LinkedIn profile photo. As one of the first elements of your profile that will be seen, make sure your picture is professional and of good quality. Basically, leave your selfies and group photos on Facebook, and break out the best for your LinkedIn profile.

In addition to having a quality photo, make sure all your profile information is updated. If a potential connection views your page and sees that you haven’t updated your experience in a year, how do you think that reflects on your work ethic? Ensure that your employment history is up-to-date so you’re taken seriously and not seen as a spammer.

Personalize the Invitation

The best LinkedIn invitations are always customized directly to the target. Right off the bat, make sure you address your connection request to them specifically – and more importantly, make sure you spell their name correctly! Additionally, it would be beneficial to remind the person of how you know them (if applicable), and to specify why you’d like to connect. Not only does this make the recipient more likely to accept the invitation, but it also gives you the chance to request future communication options.

Flatter the Connectee

Within your invitation, personalize the message to flatter the person’s specific strengths and achievements. After all, all the information you could need can be found right on their profile – so spare an extra second to do your research! This can include any compliments you have about their company, their position or their experience. Sure, this works with people you’re already familiar with, like colleagues, but this can especially prove to be effective with people you don’t know as well. Referencing their strengths and experience shows you took the time to look at their profile.

And plus, who doesn’t love a little flattery every now and then?

Share Your Background

Before parting ways with your invitee, make sure you tell them a bit about who you are. If they read your connection request and are still unsure as to what you even do, do you really think they’re going to just accept the invitation? Make sure to include some basic professional information, such as what career you hold, or what your specialities and skills are. This is especially important if you’re looking to work with them – emphasize how this partnership could benefit them, and share why you’d be a good person to work with. If you want to have the best LinkedIn invitations, you have to know how to make yourself stand out.

Another effective strategy that the best LinkedIn invitations use is to point out something you have in common with the person you’re trying to connect with. By looking at their profile, you should be able to find at least one interest, professional connection, LinkedIn group or workforce characteristic that you share. By pointing our your basis for common ground, the connectee may feel more inclined to accept your invitation. The connection will feel much more personal.

Part on Good Terms

So you’ve made it this far – don’t get lazy now! Conclude your message with a warm sign-off in order to leave your request on a good note. Plus, this is your last chance to convince them to accept your LinkedIn invitation, so now would be a good time to let them know how they could benefit from the connection, if you haven’t done so already. You may also leave some final positive words about their work or their company to keep those thoughts fresh in their mind.

Finally, suggest a next step of action. Let them know what exactly it is you’d like to do moving forward in order to further the relationship. Do you want to meet with them for coffee to discuss their work? Schedule a phone call? Have them check out your past work? Don’t hesitate to include this information in the conclusion of your request. It gives them a clearer idea of exactly what you want, and increases your chance of getting just that. And if you do want them to further get in touch with you, make sure you include some basic contact information, like a phone number or email address.

Personalizing Your “LinkedInvitations”

So now that you’ve got the basic tips down for writing effective LinkedIn invitations, it’s time to customize them. You wouldn’t write the same message to a co-worker as you would to a potential employer, so it’s important to distinguish what points you may want to hit in each type of request. Regardless of who you’re reaching out to, though, always include some of the tips we just listed in order to craft some of the best LinkedIn invitations.

A Co-Worker

When it comes to colleagues, you’re probably already familiar and friendly with many of them, which makes writing your request a breeze. However, if you work in a huge office and want to connect with someone you rarely speak to, you may want to spend a bit more time on your message. Take notice of their accomplishments, strengths or past projects they’ve worked on, and definitely reference the biggest thing you have in common – your company!

Sample Message:
Hi Samantha,
I’ve always heard great things about your work, especially when it comes to negotiating with clients. Hopefully someday we’ll get the chance to work on a project together…or at least trade tips for dealing with tough clients!
All the Best,

A New Co-Worker

It’s not always easy being the “new kid” in the office, but chances are, your new colleagues are excited and interested to see what you can do – so don’t disappoint them! When requesting to connect on LinkedIn with new co-workers, send words of praise if you’re familiar with what they’ve done within their office, and let them know that you’re looking forward to working with them. When you know how to write the best LinkedIn invitations, you’re sure to wow your new colleagues.

Sample Message:
Hi Sally,
I’m so happy to have been able to join your advertising agency. I look forward to being part of such an innovative and dynamic group, and I’m excited to be able to contribute. See you around the office!
All the Best,

A Former Co-Worker

Don’t assume right off the bat that this person remembers exactly who you are – give a quick refresher on when, where and how you worked with them. Don’t be afraid to offer praise as well, especially if you’re looking to reconnect. Make your intentions clear, and offer steps for future actions if you’re hoping to rekindle a professional or platonic relationship.

Sample Message:
Hi Mark,
It was a pleasure to have been able to work together at XYZ Agency from 2005 to 2011. The office wouldn’t have been the same without your knack for dealing with touch clients! Maybe someday we can meet up for coffee – I’d love to hear about your new job at ABC Agency.
Hope all is well,

Someone You Want to Work With

So maybe you want to collaborate on a side project, or you’re seeking someone with a specific set of skills to contribute to your project. Whatever the occasion, make clear the relationship you’re seeking to gauge whether or not the other person is interested. Plus, this is a situation in which it’s especially important to give your professional background, and to detail the skills you see in the other person that would be helpful for the project.

Sample Message:
Hi Jordan,
I saw the projects you did for XYZ Agency, and I’m impressed with your work. My business is looking to work on a similar strategy, and your skills would be a great help. Let me know if you’re interested in working together – I can be reached at [email protected]

A Recruiter

Surely recruiters have seen their fair share of connection requests, but they probably haven’t read the best LinkedIn invitations out there – that’s where you come in! If you’re looking to connect with a recruiter, you’ll want to establish some type of common ground. Whether it’s a mutual connection, membership in the same LinkedIn group or participation in a professional organization, make sure to mention that in your invitation message. Plus, it would be beneficial to share your strengths and skills, and to give some background information on your career experience, in order to show how you could be an asset for their company.

Sample Message:
Hi Aaron,
I see that you work with ABC Agency – I’m also in the marketing industry, and I’ve been working professionally in the field for five years. If you have time, I’d love to talk about whether my background would make me a fit for any openings in your office. Thanks!
All the Best,

Someone You Met at a Networking Event

If you met someone at a networking event who you think could be an asset to your career, don’t hesitate to reach out to them on LinkedIn! Chances are, though, they met dozens of people that day, so make sure you give them a specific reminder of who you are and how you met. Bonus points if you remember something specific you talked about at the event and can work that into the message! Give them a reason for connecting – whether you want to meet to trade tips, help with projects or meet other people in the field, mention that in your request.

Sample Message:
Hi Louie,
It was great meeting you at the Marketing Conference in New York last week. I really enjoyed hearing about how you’re evolving your latest sales techniques – I’d like to chat even more as you perfect the process.
All the Best,

Someone You Know Casually

For people you know on a more personal basis, it’s okay to use a friendlier and more casual tone. However, just ensure that you don’t get too lenient. Remember that the purpose of LinkedIn is still to connect with people professionally, so make sure you set those standards in your request message. If you’re not connecting with a career focus in mind, another social media site might be more appropriate.

Sample Message:
Hi Christina,
It was great meeting you at Diane’s dinner party recently. If you have the chance, I’d love to get in touch and hear more about what you do at XYZ Agency.
All the Best,

Someone You Admire

When connecting with someone whose work you admire, immediately establish who you are and why you want to connect, especially if you don’t necessarily know them well. Include some brief background information on yourself, and reference specific projects they’ve completed and accomplishments in their career. Finally, include the reason you’re reaching out to them. Invitations requesting an interview, advice or the chance to work together would all differ greatly, so make sure to distinguish yourself.

Sample Message:
Hi Blake,
I’ve been following your work with ABC Agency for the past year, and I’m impressed with all you’ve accomplished. I’d love to hear more about your work – if you have some time, I’d be interested in speaking to you about how you got to your current position.

An Alumnus

Connecting with someone who attended the same college as you immediately establishes common ground and gives you something to talk about. Appeal to the person’s sense of school spirit, and introduce yourself with some background information on your professional experience and goals. And again, make sure to provide them with a reason for connecting!

Sample Message:
Hi Chris,
I saw you graduated from NYU. I’m currently in my senior year there, and I’m excited to earn my degree (I’m sure you recall the feeling!). If you have time, maybe we can meet up to discuss your role at XYZ Agency – as a fellow marketer, I’d love to hear more about what you do.

Someone in the Same LinkedIn Group

When connecting with someone in the same LinkedIn group, mention that you’re both part of that group in order to establish a common trait right away. Additionally, take the time to provide a personalized reason as to why you’re connecting with them specifically. Do you admire their insightful posts in the group? Have you noticed their achievements in the field? Let them know why you want to connect and that you appreciate their work.

Sample Message:
Hi Kelly,
I’m also a member of the ABCMarketing LinkedIn group and I always find your posts to be incredibly helpful and thought-provoking. I’d love to be able to keep in touch and hear more about your work.
All the Best,

When writing a LinkedIn connection request, it pays to personalize your message. Don’t risk losing a potential connection simply because they didn’t want to accept your generic request. After all, this person could possibly be your future employer, so make sure you take the extra time to go those extra few steps. We promise it will benefit you in the long run.

Do you have any other tips for writing the best LinkedIn invitations? Let us know in the comments!