Connecting with Strangers on LinkedIn

Whether you are applying or interviewing for a job at a specific company or just notice someone’s profile who may be a valuable connection, you may occasionally want to add a connection you aren’t actually connected with. What do you do in this situation? There are a few ways you can make the connecting process less awkward.

Use Common Connections

The easiest way to link up with someone that is a stranger to you is to see if you have anyone in common. Ask that connection to introduce you two either through email or LinkedIn. Be sure to explain why it is you want to meet that person so that your connection can introduce you properly. Using your current connections as an “in” is one of the easiest ways to ensure you are added to their network.

Take Advantage of Groups and Organizations

If you don’t have anyone in common, the next best way to connect is to look at your groups. Do you have any in common with the person you are interested in? If so, great! You can use that in your request to connect. If not, take a look at the groups they are in. If they are related to your industry, maybe you can join one or two to have a link to that person.

Customize your Request

If you have absolutely nothing shared with this individual, don’t forget one important thing – customize your request to connect. If you send the generic LinkedIn message, the person on the other side may not have any reason to accept. What is your purpose for adding them? Are you in the same industry? Do you have an interest in meeting up for an informational interview? Did you want to ask them some questions about their experience? Let the potential connection know, and you could change their response from “Ignore” to “Accept.”

Update Your Profile

Finally, ensure that your profile shows the best side of you – whatever you want that specific connection to see. Make sure your work experience and contact information is updated, your profile is error-free, and your photo is current. Link to related articles in your field, have discussions with others in your groups and your connections, and so forth.

Connecting with someone online doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable. Following the above steps will make the process smoother and more beneficial for both parties. Don’t forget – connecting is only one step of making full use of LinkedIn. Be sure to keep up with your network after!

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