|  January 20, 2014

Should you connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn?

I’m so glad people have started using the ask a question page! I’m looking forward to answering them on Prepary. This question actually came through a comment but I thought it was something a lot of people probably wonder about… should you connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn?


Q: I applied for my dream job via email and haven’t heard back. I would like to connect with the recruiter (who happens to be a manager) on LinkedIn to increase my presence as well as send a follow-up email. Am I doing too much? And what is a good template for sending a cold invite to the recruiter on LinkedIn?

I am a big believer in following up on job applications. I actually don’t think any job application is “complete” until you’ve taken one extra step of reaching out to someone directly – whether it’s someone you know or someone you don’t know.

Most applications these days go into a system (known as an ATS) and while many recruiters look through those applications (I’ve definitely hired plenty of people who applied online) they can just sit there. If you reach the right person by following up, you significantly increase your chance of being seen.

So back to the original question… connecting on LinkedIn and sending a message to someone you don’t know – is it too much?

It’s all a matter of opinion, but I’d say it is. I’m all for sending the message – through an inMail on LinkedIn or by figuring out the person’s email – but I think connections on LinkedIn should be handled a little differently.

A connection request from a stranger is not always well-received. A lot of people actually use LinkedIn to keep track of their professional network – people they’ve worked with, met in passing, even have personal relationships with. The beauty of keeping your LinkedIn network to people you actually know, it that you then only get updates on what is relevant for you… and more importantly, are only sharing your own personal information with people you know.

Additionally, even if someone does accept your connection, what happens next? You’re probably going to have to send them a message anyway to achieve what you set out for – to be considered for a job.

Some people don’t realize this but you can send messages to people you’re not connected with. It costs a small fee (about $6 each) but is totally worth it. If the person you’ve reached out to doesn’t respond, you actually get to re-use that inMail.

So bottom line… reaching out cold, a big yes (when done respectfully).

It’s no commitment at all for someone to take 2 seconds to glance at your resume or hit fwd and send it to someone who will.  However, accepting someone who is a total stranger as a connection is a bigger commitment and less likely to get you the positive result you’re looking for.

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