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‘Never’ just click the ‘connect’ button on LinkedIn, says expert

LinkedIn offers tremendous networking opportunities. The site has more than 985 million members worldwide, according to its “about us” page. And many of those people — whether they are in your industry or not — likely have valuable work insights to share.

So, how do you go about connecting with them, especially with the ones you’ve never actually met? When it comes to adding people to your LinkedIn network, “never” simply click the “connect” button, says Gorick Ng, author of “The Unspoken Rules” and a career advisor at Harvard.

Here’s how he and other career experts recommend reaching out to people on the site.

Pressing ‘connect’ is ‘low effort’

Say, ‘I’d love to connect with you’

Instead of just adding someone, “include a note,” says Octavia Goredema, career coach and author of “PREP, PUSH, PIVOT.”

When you add a connection, LinkedIn gives you the option to add a note. You have up to 300 characters to explain why you’re reaching out. “Say, ‘hi, so and so,'” says Ng. “Like you I’m also a blank interested in blank. I’d love to connect with you.”

Fill in those blanks according to why you’re reaching out specifically to make it clear you’re not just adding anyone on the site. You’re reaching out to them specifically because their background and expertise appeals to you.

“Your goal with this connection message is for them to just even accept it,” says Ng. “Keep it short. Keep it specific.”

Once they do, you can consider how you’d want to build on that connection going forward, asking them for a 15-minutes informational interview about their professional history, for example, or simply engaging with the content they are posting.

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