What Does the Worst LinkedIn Invite Ever Look Like?

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worst linkedin invite

Asking a complete stranger to connect on LinkedIn can be fine. No worries. Just have something – like a group – in common.

That means you look up who you want to link with, and join their group. Participate two or three times, and then fire off that invite. You might write, “We are both in XYZ group, and I’d like to be a connection of yours on LinkedIn.”

So, What’s the WORST LinkedIn Invite Ever?

A sloppy outreach to a stranger with no reason for wanting to connect – followed by a request for referrals, and a vague description of what you do. Here’s an example I received last week:

“Thanks for agreeing to be my connection. I appreciate any referrals. I empower women to get out of their comfort zones.”


Even if I knew you, I have no idea what empowering women means. I have no idea what’s wrong with a comfort zone. And, I don’t know why I would want you doing whatever this is – to anyone who might trust ME.

Make Sure You Tell People What You Do

Not just on LinkedIn. Anyone. Anywhere – you go.

That means you have a simple, clear, specific sentence that describes what you do.

What’s wrong with this fine example of the worst ever LinkedIn invitation?

1) Whatever she apparently thinks is inherently bad about a comfort zone, I might think it’s great. My comfort zones are work, home, family, friends, my dogs, or Cream of Wheat in the morning with bananas and blueberries. These are things that I love. They bring me comfort.

2) When she leaves her “empowering” to my imagination, I think – a makeover? A resume rewrite? A pep talk? Frankly, I have never seen anyone “do” empowering – and I’ve been a lot of places.

The solution: Speak plainly. Be specific. Give examples.

Remember, you really cannot go wrong when you do the simple things – right.

Confused Photo via Shutterstock

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Personal Branding Blog The Personal Branding Blog is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals build a powerful brand to remain competitive in the job market.

6 Reactions
  1. The second worst invitation would be the default message generated by LinkedIn. It also fails to establish any connection or context for the invitation.

    • Completely agree. If you truly want to establish a connection with someone on LinkedIn, put some thought into the invite. Anybody can use the default message.

  2. I am confused – this is not an invitation as the title insinuates this is a response to an invite that has been sent and accepted
    Not to defend the action of that unclear email which I don’t agree has to be sent before establishing some kind of relationship – though if a connection sends an email after connecting explaining what they do, it is considered spamming
    I personally prefer ti send a welcome email after connection g asking if I can be if any assistance – establish a connection then move forward –
    And for the above comment about the generic invites- beating up on SOME generic invites is not fair as in some cases LinkedIn doesn’t give you the option to tailor your invite – when you click on connect- it sends an automatic generic invite especially if it is a 2nd or 3rd degree contact – you always have the option to ignore the invite

  3. In my opinion, the default message is fine if the person you are connecting with already knows you and knows why you are connecting. I don’t need to customize the message to connect with someone I work with, for example – or a friend from college. When you are trying to connect with others, some context is important.

  4. I get about 6 invites per day and I innocently accept all of them….except the 50% that don’t include a real photo (of them or at least their dog, not a Getty image of a “professional person in a suit”) and whose resume doesn’t evoke a sense that they really exist.

    You’d have to be very incompetent not to have an invite accepted by me, but 50% are just that. 😉

    Having said that, LinkedIn makes it difficult to find and read the invitation message itself. Someone needs to fix that issue already (summer 2014 and counting).

    I invite about 20 people per day, mostly new customers of ours. Obviously the willingness to pay someone = willingness to connect on LinkedIn.

    But I don’t think too many of them are reading the invite letter itself which shows how they can connect with me on Skype for training. LinkedIn is just telling them that I want to connect, failing to show the invite letter itself, and they are probably accepting the invitation only after they see that I’m with the company they just paid $99 to. I’d really rather not have to write anyone again after they accepted the invite, to be sure they got the message included in the invite.

    If someone from LinkedIn is reading this, please make that invite letter more easily found and read.