Are You Making This Mistake On LinkedIn?

Posted June 17, 2013 by Christie Mims in Career Moves
I feel like everyone is having the same conversation these days about LinkedIn:

“Have you been networking on LinkedIn – everyone’s on there!”

“Have you posted on LinkedIn recently?” 

“When did you last try and connect with someone on LinkedIn?”

As you (obviously!) know, LinkedIn is a robust platform that helps build your network, learn about companies, and grow your career.  “Of course!” You say to yourself gleefully, “I should absolutely be on LinkedIn! I’ll go and do that now!”

So you go off, take a Facebook style approach, and just send out a bunch of form messages to folks who LinkedIn suggests you should know, right?


Worst idea EVER…in the WORLD.

(Ok, maybe that last sentence was an overstatement).

Don’t send random invitations without context.

LinkedIn is a referral network, meaning they pride themselves on the fact that people actually know the people that they are connected to and with.  LinkedIn wants you to know who are you connecting with because it is excited for you to be a real person who knows other real people.

So, it asks you how you know people when you message them with an invite. Are you in a group? Are they a friend? Colleague? What?

It wants YOU to know how you know someone.

Meaning, it doesn’t want you to reach out to a complete stranger with no prior connection.

But yet – I get people all the time, completely random folks, who just send me a LinkedIn invitation without explaining how we know each other or why I want to be connected to them.


If you want to be in my network, then please do me the honor of actually knowing who I am (and explaining who you are!).

If you don’t tell me how we know each other (or why we should know each other) then why on earth should I say yes to your invitation?

It takes about 30 seconds for success.  All you have to do is write something like the following:

“Hey Christie – we met at xyz event and I enjoyed chatting with you! I would love to connect on LinkedIn and continue the conversation.”

“Hello! We are in the same group (Forbes Women) and I found your business/comments interesting. I’d love to connect with you!”

“Hey Christie – you are awesome. Why are we not already connected?!!”

(Flattery gets me every time. Yes, I am that way).

So, take a second and put in the effort of an additional human sentence.  And if you are connecting with me, feel free to compliment me on my hair :).

Good luck Linking In!

Feeling stuck in your job? Get UNstuck over here! It’s free – AND fun.

About the Author

Christie Mims

Christie Mims is The Radical Fairy Godmother to the Woman Trapped in Her Suit. A job reinvention specialist, she is a certified professional career and transition coach with a background working for Fortune 500 companies, the Department of Defense, and large Federal agencies. As a former business unit director in a top consulting firm, she has been there, done that, and worn those uncomfortable shoes. So, while she knows that career transition is hard, it doesn’t have to be lonely! Feeling stuck in your suit? Grab her free job UNstuck kit over at! (That is also where she keeps her sage career wisdom AND a side sass). It’s time to make your career happy!