[10.19.11] 3 Critical Elements of Every LinkedIn Invitation [Featured]

3 Critical Elements of Every LinkedIn Invitation


LinkedIn is a great medium for building and expanding relationships. As you expand your connections, it is important to communicate in a personal way with people when you invite to linkup. The building of effective, worthwhile networks requires personalized, thoughtful communication.

While it may make perfect sense to you why you should linkup with someone, you need to help that other person come to the same conclusion rather than assuming they will do so on their own. No matter what your relationship is with the person you are contacting, even if you have never spoken with him, it is critically important to personalize your invitation! When you only utilize the default message, “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network,” you don’t motivate your new connection to assist you.

Keep in mind that often people are known by a much larger audience than they can possibly know themselves. For example, as one who frequently speaks before groups of all sizes, I’m known to many people. The reality of these asymmetric encounters is I rarely remember the individuals in attendance as well as they remember me. When your hoped for new connection doesn’t recognize you, he/she is more likely to ignore your invite. Worse, they might hit the “spam” button. That is really bad for you, because if three people respond to your invites this way, your LinkedIn account privileges will likely be suspended. Once that happens, I can guarantee you it is a royal hassle to get them back!

You don’t need to write a long letter in an invite… just a couple sentences will do wonders! Be sure to personalize each invite by including:

  1. How you know/found the person the person you are inviting – convey something uniquely personal
  2. Why you want to linkup with him/her
  3. Your offer of reciprocity

Invitations with these simple points help to remind the person who you are. They can serve as a great follow-up to a first meeting, or a reminder/rekindling of a dormant relationship. Instead of a person seeing your invite and saying to himself, “I wonder what he wants now?” he can think: “How great it is that [your name here] followed up with me!” Or, perhaps: “It’s great to hear from [your name here] after such a long time!”

Here are four samples of LinkedIn invitation templates you can tailor to your situation:

  • XXX, great to see you at the XYZ event last night! As a follow-up to our conversation about widgets, I would love to linkup with you in order to further explore [insert areas of common interest]. This is a way in which we can both expand our professional networks. Of course, if there is anything that I can do for you by way of introducing you to any of my contacts, do feel free to reach out to me! Thanks in advance for accepting this invite.
  • XXX, although we’ve not met, I read the article you wrote, [insert title and where it was published]. I appreciate the insights you shared because [fill in the blank]. You indicated that you would be happy to linkup with readers, and I would like to take you up on that. Of course, if there is any way that I can help you in return, please do reach out to me. Thanks again for sharing your expertise on [fill in the topic]!
  • XXX, as you may recall, we did some business together/worked together when I was in the ABC position at XYZ Company last year. I know that is has been a while since we were in contact, but I am reaching out now in hopes that through LinkedIn we can maintain our relationship, and assist each other in building our professional networks. I always look to recommend those with whom I share a connection, and would be happy to assist you wherever possible. Don’t hesitate to be in contact anytime! Thanks in advance for accepting my invite.
  • XXX, I was in the audience last week when you gave a fascinating presentation to the XYZ group. Your point about [fill in the blank] was intriguing because [insert something that shows you are paying attention]. I would very much appreciate becoming a part of your network of LinkedIn connections. I am a professional with expertise in the area of [be specific] and am currently actively networking to expand my knowledge base and gain contacts in this field as I seek a new position. Of course, along the way, I hope you will contact me if there is anything I might do to be of help for you! Thank you again for your presentation, and for accepting this invitation.”

I have nearly 1,200 first degree contacts on LinkedIn, and was among the first 100,000 users (there are now more than 120 million of us). I’d be happy to share my network with you if you invite me. But if you do, please don’t use the standard “I’d like to add you to my network” language! See my profile at: www.linkedin.com/in/fertig.

Happy linking… and happy job hunting!

Image from Gigra/Shutterstock

Arnie Fertig

Arnie Fertig invites readers to follow him on Twitter via @jobhuntercoach and to linkup with him on LinkedIn. His primary focus is coaching mid-career job seekers.


  1. Arnie,

    Great advice and insight! I have to admit that I take the “lazy, easy, approach” on many LinkedIn invites but your article convinced me to make the effort to personalize my invites for an improved professional network.


  2. As one of the contract recruiters out there http://alterastaffing.com/, I have found that LinkedIn is an extremely helpful tool. It is important to keep growing your network and your connections. 

  3. Great post, Arnie. And some terrific comments – I especially like the one about thanking people for accepting my invitation!

    One question I have for you and others is what is the single biggest reason you want a big network on LinkedIn. I have 900+ connections now, and I like it because I have access to their news and that of their extended network via LinkedIn’s Signal (under News tab). That means I get industry information and job news.

    • Julia,

      Great question! There are many reasons to create a very large network. (I have over 1200 1st degree connections which gives me access to more than 14 million people).

      First, you never imagine who the people you are connected to might know. But a large pool of connections is like everyone dumping out their rolodex files and saying: “Here’s who I know… let me know if/when you need to be connected to them”.

      Second, it can serve as a great source of “business intelligence”. You can find people who are current/former employees of companies you are interested in, look at people’s career paths to see where they go when the’ve been where you are (or want to be), get information on companies, industries, and skills that are relevant to you.

      I do extensive coaching on how to use LinkedIn strategically, and building a strong network is at the core of it all.

  4. Arnie, I appreciate your guidance on LinkedIn invites. I’m learning the ropes of LinkedIn and I found it VERY helpful. Plus I think it was a brilliant idea to make the templates to large for cutting and pasting into the LinkedIn boxes -So people would actually have to create their own invites based off your suggestions. Thanks again! Heidi

  5. Great article, Arnie.

    I’m not the pickiest connector on LinkedIn, but I hate the default LI connector message and don’t accept them.

    Until I read the comments to this post, it had not occurred to me that I was being invited as part of a group invite. It doesn’t give me such a warm and fuzzy feeling.

    – Diana

  6. Hello Arnie,

    Great article, and I am on board with you on the one invite at a time approach, and I always invite with a personalized note. One thing to point out… in your template examples above, they are too long to fit into the 300 character limit that LinkedIn imposes on the invitations, so although you stated that they can be used as examples, you may want to provide examples that are within the 300 character parameter. The last one you suggested was almost 700 characters, and would require a brilliant editor to cut down to limit.  Otherwise, very sound advice, especially to the novice / intermediate user.



    • Mark,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.  You are correct about the length of my templates.  I am hoping that people will borrow the ideas contained in them, not simply cut and paste the large text blocks.



  7. Arnie,  While I appreciate what you have written, I am afraid I have to disagree. 

    First, everyone on LinkedIn knows why everyone else on LinkedIn wants to connect with them.  It’s the reason why the site exists.  We all want to grow our networks. 

    Second, if you send invitations automatically, by uploading lists (for example, from TopLinked) or if you enter individual e-mail addresses on the box on the “Add Connections” page, I know of no way to personalize the invitation.  It goes out automatically.  And if the person you are inviting does not have a LinkedIn profile, there is no other way to invite them.

    Third, if you are inviting a specific person by clicking on the “Add to your network” button on their profile, you have the option to personalize the invitation and, in that case, the advice that you offer is on the mark except for the fact that…

    Fourth, to use myself as an example, I have just shy of 25,500 first degree connections.  I receive approximately 300 invitations every week.  In fact, since yesterday I have received 42 invitations.  I accept all and read none.  I don’t have the time.  I don’t care who they are.  I want as many people in my network as possible.  I know what they want, for me to join their network.  And I know why they want me to join their network.  It’s the same reason that I want to join their network.

    Your points are well taken, but would be better for a follow-up message thanking the person for having accepted your invitation.  Those, I read.

    • Bruce,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article.  To be sure, there are many “super-connectors” like yourself who utilize linkedin to amass ultra-large contact lists.  And, when used this way LinkedIn can be an excellent source of business intelligence.  Groups like LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) and a host of others cater to this type of networker.

      I was writing, however for a different audience – people who are relatively new and inexperienced with linkedin, or people who are actually using it to people they might actually be wanting to create a mutually beneficial relationship.  Same tool – altogether different use of it.

      In my seminars, I speak about both types of users, and point out advantages and disadvantages of both.  At this point, I’m something of a hybrid.  My network is already quite large, and while I certainly am interested in growing it, I have no need or interest in doing so at a hyper-fast rate.

      For the person new to social networking, or the jobhunter actually interested in making contact with people and motivating a network of people to aid in their hunt, I still favor the slower “one contact at a time” approach.  This method creates the basis for quality relationships, decreases the likelihood of getting hit with the “spam” button, and motivates people to want to help.  Either way, social networking, like in the real world, is all about “give to get… paying it forward…. and creating relationships.

      Happy networking!


      • Arnie,

        Great article and excellent points! Would definitely agree with your more targeted approach to social networking. With that said, I’m always open to connecting with others in human resources and marketing.

  8. Great advice! Just like you would customize your cover letter or resume for a job application, make sure you customize and target your networking, both on LinkedIn and in person.

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