The LinkedIn Mistake That Makes You Look Dumb

Linkedin Mistake

One of your most powerful ways to connect with people on LinkedIn could easily be your undoing if you’re not doing this one thing. It’s simple, really. But it’s surprising how many people overlook this (and look dumb in the process). 

I’m talking about sending personal messages on LinkedIn. And if you’re not taking the time to actually personalize the messages you send, you’re seriously missing out on a powerful opportunity to stand out from the crowd in your niche. I’ll give you some hints for good ways to personalize your messages, but for now, let’s talk about why this isn’t your best approach for networking. 

It Just Looks Bad

In the early days of email auto responders, it was novel to receive an email from a marketer that was personalized with your first name. These days, we’re often quite jaded about that, and there are some professionals who think that asking for a first name on an opt-in form can actually hurt your conversion rates.  But in those early days, it was a personal touch that could easily make one marketer stand out from another. 

Anyone who has been on LinkedIn for any length of time knows that it’s no big deal to personalize your LinkedIn Messages. So when you don’t, it makes it appear painfully obvious that you don’t actually care about your prospects and customers as individuals. Maybe that’s not true, but appearances are everything. 

First Impressions Matter

When you send an Invitation to Connect in LinkedIn, this is your first opportunity to impress. So instead of sending the generic invitation, take a moment to personalize it. It doesn’t really take that much time at all, and the rewards can be significant. 

You might take some time to read their profile and see what your mutual professional interests are.  In a sense, you’re trying to let your prospective connection know what’s in it for them. 

In a way, it’s a little bit like writing copy.  You need to make it obvious why they’d want to accept your invitation to connect. You don’t want to be like those spammers sending out mass batches of unpersonalized invitations, so take a second to learn about your common interests and incorporate that knowledge somehow in your invitation.  

Message Connections Sparingly and Wisely

Another form of unpersonalized message that makes you look really bad is using mass messages to randomly spam groups of people.

No one likes getting spammed, and it’s no different on LinkedIn than in your regular email inbox. This isn’t the right way to send random people your latest promotional offer (or blog post or whatever they haven’t requested).

If you have a product or service that a small portion of your connections might be interested in, take the time to choose wisely who you’ll send such a message to.  Personalize your message and include a thank you (at a minimum use words to convey your gratitude; if possible, include a gift or discount or some other token of your appreciation). 

Taking the time to personalize any message you send on LinkedIn can take a bit more time, but the rewards can be significant. 

Recap – Best Ways to Use LinkedIn Messages to Stand Out

  1. Personalize your messages
  2. Don’t spam people with self promotion
  3. Make it about the other person and why they want to connect or do business with you

Do you take the time to personalize your LinkedIn messages? Why or why not? 

Possible Tweets/Authority Graphic Quotes

Are you making this critical LinkedIn Mistake?  Learn what it is and how to avoid it here

Take time to personalize your messages on LinkedIn to build stronger relationships

First impressions matter! Make yours a great one with LinkedIn messages


  1. I completely agree with this across all social media. I think it is important to be personable to the person receiving the message. Especially in this day and age, people want to feel special.

  2. Yes, indeed, Edmund, I always personalize my invitations to connect as well as accepting invitations. When accepting, I review their profile first, then find some common element of connection. Or if there is none, then I ask a question about them or their business. People are absolutely amazed when you take the time to actually read their profile.
    Jackie Harder recently posted..Self-motivation techniques that workMy Profile

    • That’s true! That simple act can make the other person feel special or important. It gives them the signal that you truly want to connect with them on a personal level.

  3. Personalizing the invite is one of those things that seems obvious yet it’s surprising how many times I receive a generic invite. Unless I actually know the person, met them directly or have a common connection of some sort, I find I’m reluctant to accept the invite.

  4. Great tips Edmund. I hate getting emails from people who ask to connect with me on LinkedIn then send me a self-promotional email and they clearly don’t understand who I am and what I do. I get the fact that everyone is looking for business. That’s fine. But when you can’t be bothered to read a person’s profile and tailor your message than you might as well put your email in your own trash bin and save them the bother. Going to get off my soap box now. 😉
    Clive Maloney recently posted..Dad Dancing at Your Networking Meeting (Part 2)My Profile

  5. Great tips. I’m not a huge LinkedIn user but when I am I’ve been guilty of this. No more! I’ll be sure to look for ways to personalize when I do use LinkedIn in the future!
    Gail recently posted..OBGYN DisplaysMy Profile

  6. I must admit that I’m really not at all good on LinkedIn.

  7. Yes, so very true.. nothing like the “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” I try to add a personal message at least.

  8. I do wish the Linkedin mobile app had a way to personalize. I use my phone so much and when you press that connect button it auto sends the generic message.

    • I agree. I hope they will come up with something for mobile users very soon.

  9. Great tips Edmund. I agree first impressions do matter and it’s nice to receive an invitation that is personalized.


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