Should You Send Anyone a LinkedIn Request to Connect?

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If you’re unsure about the etiquette of sending LinkedIn requests to connect, you’re not alone. It’s confusing at best.

From recipients’ standpoint, opening up their networks to complete strangers doesn’t make sense. LinkedIn recommends users only accept invitations from people they know and trust.

But many users say LinkedIn’s recommendation to ignore requests from people you don’t know defeats the purpose of social networking—to meet people virtually. After all, they point out, if you attended a live networking event, you’d be there specifically to connect with people you didn’t know. So what’s a professional social networker to do?

According to LinkedIn, your goal should be to gather connections that reflect your personal work rather than simply to amass a large number of contacts. Some liken sending out a LinkedIn request to connect to a stranger similar to randomly passing out business cards. LinkedIn instead suggest beginning a relationship by first reaching out via e-mail using the site’s “InMail” messages.

Alexandra Samuel, author of Work Smarter, Rule your Email, says the litmus test for accepting a new invitation to connect is whether or not you’d want to do that person a favor. If so, accept. If not…don’t.


Instructors: What do you think about sending out cold LinkedIn requests to connect? Does it work or backfire? Share your LinkedIn insights by posting a comment!

If you want to discuss this topic in your classrooms, here are a few questions you might pose to your students.

1. What can you do now to begin or expand your LinkedIn presence?

2. What could be advantages and disadvantages of introducing a headshot into the job search—usually a no-no in job applications?

3. Which writing strategy should you use to compose an introductory e-mail to a person with whom you want to connect on LinkedIn?


Source: McGregor, J. (2014, March 4). To accept or not accept that LinkedIn request. Retrieved from






12 thoughts on “Should You Send Anyone a LinkedIn Request to Connect?

    1. bizcombuzz Post author

      Very true, Rebecca. This is why most competent users of LinkedIn will simply not add total strangers to their networks. One reason is spam. If you let in an unscrupulous marketer, you may be hit with countless intrusive promo e-mails and worse, as you suggest.

  1. Mandy

    No, not just anyone should receive a request for this site. It seems to me that this is just a site for Business-Oriented Social Networking, (as I have never heard of this before). Not social networking, like Facebook or Twitter.

  2. miranda

    I do not think that you should be able to send just anyone a linkedln request to connect. The reason I think this is because it is for different businesses and personally I would not want to get a bunch of requests from things that I didn’t really care about

  3. bizcombuzz Post author

    Miranda, thank you for posting your take on LinkedIn best practices. Some business communicators have compared social media with a cocktail party. Much like an annoying attendee who is giving out business cards to all the other guests, students should realize that sending out blanket LinkedIn invitations is akin to spam. In job searches the old principle still holds: Targeting and tailoring one’s application to the needs of the employer/recruiter is key to success.

  4. Christine

    I think this should be used for business purposes only, a lot of people would probably misuse the site, and could also get involved in some scary situations, people could join to pose a business oriented person, but it could be a hack, and they’d try to get all of your information.

  5. Tina

    I think LinkedIn is a very good resource, however I like to keep certain items private. I like that it is another option than Monster or

  6. Marquan Jones

    LinkedIn is a good option to have. I would lean more towards sending out requests to an audience with the same desirers as you. That may already attract a big crowd, you don’t need people who don’t have the same goals because you are then carrying dead weight.

  7. Victoria M Church

    I feel like this could be a very positive tool. But I also think there are things a person wants to keep private as well. With all the different types of websites and hackers its very difficult for a person to know what one to use.

    1. bizcombuzz Post author

      Victoria, caution online is certainly indicated, as you point out. However, LinkedIn has become THE job and networking site, so it would be imprudent for students to ignore the platform.

  8. Brandie Mogard

    I find it strange that so much of this is done over the internet anymore, and they anyone believes anything. As I say that, I am sure there are policies in place along with following up to make sure that you as a person, organization, or business or not lied too.

    1. bizcombuzz Post author

      Brandie, thank you for your thoughts. It’s indeed difficult to trust that online transactions of any kind are authentic and safe—be they social or commercial. LinkedIn and other platforms don’t have the capacity to police all that passes through their servers. This is why we as users must be prudent. Some experts suggest that we behave online the way we would at a party where we don’t know any of the guests.
      Yet some relief is in sight on the consumer side and for online retailers. Users will soon see password-less automatic and safe authentication keyed to the SIM cards in their smart devices. E-commerce will be seamless without cumbersome logins. We will be able to verify/authenticate the origin of news, videos, and other sources, reducing the impact of deep-fake videos and fake news. Our credentials will be encrypted and we won’t need to create and remember passwords; two-factor authentication will be a thing of the past, as will password-management tools that can be hacked.
      The company to watch is the award-winning San Francisco-based cybersecurity company Averon, inventor of the new authentication standard that will protect Internet and smartphone users’ identity and credentials. So there’s some silver lining. Sorry for the long answer, but I’m doing research on the company, and I find the innovations coming our way exciting. Now if only I could buy stock in Averon…. 🙂


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