Default LinkedIn invites suck: 6 possible approaches to sending an invite

One thing that turns me off more than an episode of the Bachelorette or flies buzzing around dessert is receiving a default invitation from someone who wants to join my LinkedIn network. To me, a default invitation is a sign of laziness, a statement of want without a sign of reciprocation. And this defies the true definition of networking.

The default invite on LinkedIn is: I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. While it clearly states a hopeful networker’s intent, I need more. Something that tells me why we should connect.

Sending the default invite is akin to going up to someone at a networking event and saying, “Hi. What can you do for me?” It’s insincere and sends the message, “I’m inviting you to be in my network, but I could care less if you join.” Is this the type of message you want to send to a potential networker?

I and others, I’m sure, are more likely to accept an invite if a thoughtful note is attached to it. So what should you write if you want someone to join your network?

  1. You might have something in common with whom you’re trying to connect. “Hi Susan, I’ve been following your updates and feel that we have a great deal in common. Would you accept an invitation to be in my LinkedIn network?”
  2. Maybe you’re the bold type. “Hey, Bob. You and I are in career development. Ain’t that cool? Let’s link up!” I like this confidence.
  3. You might want to take the calculated approach. “After reviewing your profile, I’m impressed with its quality and your diverse interests.” A little flattery never hurts.
  4. Do you need assistance? I received an invite with the following message: “Please have a look at my profile and tell me what you think. I’ve been on LinkedIn since before it was, well, LinkedIn!” I looked at his profile and was impressed. I gladly accepted his invite.
  5. Inviting someone to be part of your LinkedIn network is a perfect way to follow up with that person after a face-to-face meeting. “Sam, it was great meeting with you at the Friends of Kevin networking event. I looked you up on LinkedIn and thought we could stay in touch.”
  6. Boost the person’s ego. “Bob, I read one of your posts and thought it was spot on. I’d like to connect with you.” Or “Jason, I saw you speak at the Tsongas Arena and what you said really resonated with me. I’d like to follow up with you.”

These are some mere suggestions that would entice someone like myself to accept an invite. When I’m sent an invite, I only request a personalized note–it’s not that hard, really. So rather than just hitting the Send Invitation button, take a few seconds to compose something from the heart.

One solution I’ve heard and think is sound is eliminating the default message altogether, thereby requiring someone to write a personalized note. LinkedIn suggests, “Include a personal note,” but this doesn’t seem to work for some.  

Note: If you send an invite from your mobile phone, you don’t have the option to write a personalized note; so wait until you’re in front of a computer to send the invite.

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About Things Career Related
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center. Jobseekers and staff look to him for advice on the job search. In addition, Bob has gained a reputation as a LinkedIn authority in the community. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. Follow Bob on Twitter: and LinkedIn:

19 Responses to Default LinkedIn invites suck: 6 possible approaches to sending an invite

  1. Bob, I couldn’t agree more. I always send a personal note with my invites, although more often than not I receive nothing back but the notice that my invite was accepted. Or, even better, I get the default invite and respond with a personal message and get no reply whatsoever. Social media is online networking, it requires communication to render it valid. The situation reminds me of the old saying “The one with the most toys wins”, in this case it’s the one with the most connections, however banal they are.

    • John,

      I agree with you completely on the point about acknowledging someone’s invite. I try to thank people for accepting my invitation or inviting me to be part of their network. Maybe that will be my next blog entry.

      Social media is online networking and should follow proper networking processes. I’m debating whether introversion or extraversion plays a role in poor online networking. Do extraverts network well face-to-face but not online. Do introverts network well online but not face-to-face. Or does one’s preference matter not.

      Thanks for the comment. Not many people bother to comment.

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  4. John – I think your comments are timely and relevant, and I hope that your post is widely read –especially by job seekers looking to utilize LinkedIn as a tool in their search. As in so many things in life, you “get out what you put in” and putting a few moments of thought into a LinkedIn invite has the potential to pay off in big ways. As I read your post, I thought about the times that I’ve used the default invite — mostly with people that I interact with on a regular basis — and now I’m sorry that I missed a truly valuable opportunity to thank them for their help or tell them how I appreciate our relationship! Another really important reason to customize the message…

    • Thanks for your comment, Karin. I’ve spoken with people who don’t mind the default invite, particularly if they know the person. I just think it doesn’t take a lot of effort to write a line or two about why you should connect with the person. Thanks again.

      PS. I’ve never been called John.

  5. Brian Ahearn says:

    With changes in how LinkedIn lets you contact people you can’t really send the personal message any longer. For example, when reaching out to people because you see you have many contacts in common, when you hit the “connect” button it automatically sends a default message. That only leaves two other options:

    1. Get an intro but this can be cumbersome and slow.
    2. Choose the option of “Friend” or “We’ve Done Business Together”. I don’t like either of these because most times it’s not the truth.

    What I’ve tried to do with everyone who connects with me because of common contacts is to send a thank you message and mention that I reached out because we know common people.

    Any advice for working around the LinkedIn default?


    • I agree, I would love to know a way of getting around this scenario, as I to do not like choosing between “friend” or “we’ve done business together”. Does anyone know how to personalize a message from the People you May Know page?

      • Danielle and Brian,

        I don’t know how to write a personalized note to someone in the “Someone You Might Know” category, and I agree that claiming to be a friend or have done business with is tacky/lying. On the other hand, it provides a safeguard against anyone and everyone asking for an invite. I’ve used the friend card a few times with the “I’m sorry I referred to you as a friend, but I really think we should connect” message; which, oddly enough, I’ll have to do with you, Danielle.;-)

    • Dene Sarrette says:

      Brian, I have found clicking on the suggested contact’s profile circumvents the auto add and allows you to send a personal message. I have “LION” attached to mine to encourage the invites but I realize many would prefer to connect only if there’s a benefit or they know a person hope this helps!



  6. Yes, Dene. The only way I’ll connect with someone is by going to the person’s profile, reading or scanning it, and then hitting connect. This gives you the option to indicate how you know the person and then writing a personal note.Most of the people with whom I connect are those who are in the same groups I’m in. I suggest this to my LinkedIn workshop attendees.

    I discourage any kind of automatic connecting unless it’s from someone who I know. Connecting by phone also precludes the ability to write a personal note, so I tell my attendees to connect by computer. Perhaps I’m taking this too far, but I think an amount of etiquette is called for.

  7. Pingback: Be smart; say, “thank you” when you’re invited on LinkedIn | Things Career Related

  8. I receive a lot in invitations and always find it interesting as to ‘why’ I was targeted. Before I accept anybody, I look to see who we have in common and if it’s more than 50 I’ll accept it without question. Why? With 50+ in common, it’s a wonder we haven’t already met. If it’s somebody in my field just trying to start their career and building? I’ll accept because many who came before me reached out a hand and it’s the least I can do to pay that mojo forward. If it’s somebody who appears to have no purpose in my realm and hits the standard invite? Those are the ‘ignore’ candidates. If you can’t make yourself compelling, I’m not going to do it for you.

    One of the obvious overlooked points of connection, however, is the “Who has viewed your profile” section. I will send a personalized message to each of those viewers that goes something like this, “Thank you for stopping by. Would you like to connect via LinkedIn?” Nearly 100% accept that invitation. Maybe I’m a bit bolder than most but I believe that if they took the time to seek me out, there must be a reason and they just need the invitation to say, “Hi!”

    LinkedIn should never be used as a numbers game and those who abuse it will quickly be spotted as such – make each connection meaningful and you’ll soon find meaning in your connections.

    Dr. Heidi Maston

    • Thanks for the great reply, Heidi. I also like to send a note to those who visit my profile. But do you click connect and then invite the visitor, or do you use up some Inmail to send a message to a second or third degree? I might consider inviting visitors to my profile to my network as long as we have some groups in common. Thanks!

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  10. I liked the article and learned a few things but I especially appreciated the comments after. Thank you, one and all, for taking the time to share valuable content.

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