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Connection types on LinkedIn
If you’re going to use LinkedIn as a networking tool, connecting with people you meet is essential. When looking to connect with someone on LinkedIn, knowing which connection type to select can make a difference in whether your invitation to connect is accepted or ignored.
Let’s take a look at the six different options when inviting someone to connect with you. I’ll give you the literal definition of each connection type, and you can decide on your own if you want to be a little more liberal in your use of the types.
A colleague is someone who worked at the same company with you at the same time that you worked there. Although you may or may not have directly interacted much, they were there when you were there.
This person went to school with you. Technically, it means they were there at the same time that you were, even if you only overlapped by a year, and had absolutely no classes together.
We’ve done business together
This is someone who hired your company to do something, or who you hired to do something. Technically, this would be someone who you actually worked with directly on whatever the project is.
On this one, there’s a spot for email address. It’s important to note that the email you put here does not have to match the email they entered into LinkedIn. This is just the email that will receive the invitation.
Let’s say you have a friend named Joe. When he signed up for LinkedIn, he used email@example.com. But you are friends with Joe outside of work, and you only know about his Gmail email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enter that address in, he will still receive your invitation by email, he’ll just get it at his Gmail address. He will still be able to sign into LinkedIn and verify your request.
If you’re active in the LinkedIn Groups at all, this will be a good one for you. This is intended to be used when you are in a group with someone, and have communicated with them enough that they know who you are, and you know who they are.
In fact, if you’re not in a LinkedIn Group with the individual, this one won’t even show up.
This one would be used basically when you know someone, but they’re not close enough to consider a friend. Maybe they’re an acquaintance that you run into at local networking events. Maybe it’s your brother-in-law’s boss that you had a conversation last week. Whatever the case, you know them, but you don’t consider them a friend.
Personally, I never use this one. But I think I’m more liberal in real life about my definition of a friend.
Also note that the email address field in this one acts the same as the email address in the Friend selection.
I don’t know XXX
Yeah, don’t pick this one. You’ll get this message:
LinkedIn says, “Connecting to someone on LinkedIn implies that you know them well.” So they don’t want you to connect with someone you don’t know.
And that’s all there is to it. Again, feel free to use your discretion with these rules. Not everyone is extremely literal with them. But some people are literal with them, and some even go above and beyond in deciding who to connect and not connect with. So keep that in mind when inviting someone to connect with you.
Start making the most of LinkedIn and make some new connections right now!
September 20th, 2011
Tim Priebe is a public speaker, the author of the book Webifiable and the upcoming book Blogify Your Business and the owner of T&S Web Design. You can reach him on Twitter and Facebook with the username timjpriebe.