How NOT to Network on LinkedIn

A warm network is critical in today’s economy. We live in a connected world, dependent upon relationships. I have written quite a bit about networking before and include links to those posts at the bottom of this one. I have also had the privilege of consulting one-on-one with numerous people about building and maintaining a powerful network. The success stories have been inspiring.

Networking on LinkedIn is Not Hard

Remember, in networking, it’s “Give first, then take.” (Click to Tweet)




In your efforts to develop a network, please don’t make the mistakes one poor fellow made below.

A friend of mine and I recently got the exact same email from a mutual connection on LinkedIn. This is someone I worked extensively with at another company, so we have a decent relationship.

Here is his email:

Hello,Friends,

I have been on a kick with building up my Linked In profile to help me get into the next level of networking. Along side of our well-built relationship, you continue to positively impact me and I couldn’t be more thankful.

In return, I ask that you endorse the skills or activities you feel I am strong in. Over the next couple of days I will be doing the same for you.

Thanks in advance for your help.

So what is wrong with this email? Oh, where to start? How about the very beginning.

I am not the world’s best typist and I readily admit there is likely a typo somewhere in this post, but an egregious typo in the beginning? And a greeting of “Hello, Friends?” You mean I don’t even get a personal email…or at least a mail merge email? No, thanks. If it weren’t for the learning opportunity this email presented, I would have immediately deleted it upon that greeting.

(NOTE: I do not use it except to keep a local copy of my connections, but you can export a CSV of your contacts in LinkedIn by going to your “Connections” and then towards the bottom right of the screen you will see “Export Connections”)

How to export your connections on Linkedin




I have been on a kick with building up my Linked In profile to help me get into the next level of networking.

I’m struggling to see the relevance to my life here. Perhaps you could at least inquire about my work. Or my family. You do care about those things, right? Oh, that’s right, it’s all about you.

Along side of our well-built relationship, you continue to positively impact me and I couldn’t be more thankful.

So well-built that I haven’t heard from you in two years until you need something? And you can’t greet me by name. How honored. And how exactly do I continue to positively impact you?

In return, I ask that you endorse the skills or activities you feel I am strong in. Over the next couple of days I will be doing the same for you.

In return for what? My positive impact on you or your thankfulness? If you are suggesting that I owe you something because you are thankful, I feel sorry for you. If you are truly thankful for my positive impact on your life, you should be doing something for me! And by the way, I checked, you never did do the same for me. Remember, in networking, it’s “Give first, then take.” (Click to Tweet)

Thanks in advance for your help.

You just set networking back three decades and you thank me…in advance? The nerve!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t maintain a warm network for purely altruistic reasons. Everyone knows that. But I give, give, give so that one day when I really need it, I can take.

In short, this person failed to do five things critical to successful networking:

  1. Give first.
  2. Personalize the email.
  3. Tell me what’s in it for me.
  4. Use spell check and grammar check.
  5. Follow-through on his promise.

For better ways to develop your network, here are some helpful links:

Maintaining a Warm Network – What I’ve Done
Give to Grow Your Network
Your Networking Budget – 200 Hours and $1000
Network Math

Are you making any of these networking mistakes?

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