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Reaching out to a stranger to connect, can sometimes feel daunting. You may wonder, “What do I say?” or “How do I approach this?” However, it does not have to be an overwhelming process. It is an opportunity to find people working in careers or company’s that interest you, learn about their career journey, and simply,, especially on LinkedIn. Here are five tips on how to write a good “connect”:

1) Include your photo
People respond more readily to a smiling face than compared to a bunch of words, so be sure you have a photo on your profile – a smiling headshot containing no other people or pets.

2) Keep it brief
Be to the point with the message. Someone who receives a short, tailored message is more likely to respond – Remember, if you are adding a note on a LinkedIn invitation, there is a 300-character limit!

3) State connection first
By mentioning your connection first, it gives the recipient a reason to care. It will maximize your chances of getting your message read. Examples of connections may be interest in a similar role or company, alumni, or maybe a professor or mentor introduced you.

4) Tell them why you’d like to connect
Be specific about why you’d like to connect so they don’t think you are out just trying to add connections on LinkedIn. However, don’t ask for a job specifically — you may scare off your contact, who may have nothing to do with hiring. Instead, if you ask to discuss the company, the industry itself or your contact’s career path and current position, it feels more like a request for a conversation, not a job interview.

5) Maintain control of follow-up
This helps close the gap of time it may take to get back to you. For example, close your email by stating you understand they may have a busy schedule and if they do not reply to your email, you will follow up in a week; this provides the opportunity to contact them again — just make sure that you do!

Example of the Five-Point Email Message for LinkedIn

(Character Limit of 300)

Hi Sam, I am a junior at UCB and exploring marketing careers within technology companies. I found you through the alumni search and would like to connect for 20 minutes to learn more about your experience. I know you may be busy, so I will try again next week if we are unable to connect this week. Thank you, Peter