Types of Direct Connection Requests on LinkedIn

In our previous post, Adding Connections on LinkedIn – Invites, we talked about how to how to invite someone to connect on LinkedIn. In this post, we take a look at the various types of connection requests on LinkedIn.

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Finding LinkedIn Connections

When you first signed up with LinkedIn, it asked you if you wanted to upload your contacts from your email. This is a good idea to do, even if you don’t immediately want to send invites out to the list. LinkedIn uses the list to remind you from time to time to think about connecting with folks you know.

Other than using a list, the best way to directly add connections is to click the friendly green Add Connections link at the top right of most LinkedIn pages:

LinkedIn Add Connections top bar

When you do this, you’ll see a form with a tab that allows you to search for connections on popular email services like Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo, import your contacts from Outlook or other email clients, or send invitations to people whose email addresses you know.

This is just one of the options you have for making connections, and one you should use judiciously.

An alternate way to get to this menu is to select Contacts from the navigation bar and then select Add Connections.

LinkedIn Add Connections from nav

You used to be able to search and add LinkedIn members from the Add Connections page, but LinkedIn changed that with its 2012 redesign. Now you must use the Advanced People Search function to find former colleagues and classmates to connect with.

Select Advanced from beside the search field in the navigation bar. The Advanced Search page has lots of options for finding people.

One thing you might want to do is to invite people who have worked at the same organizations as you have.

Remember when you were filling out your profile, and we told you to include all your previous jobs? Here’s one place where this pays off. Type the name of the company where you used to work in the Company field and select the Search button.

LinkedIn shows you LinkedIn members who also work or worked at the places you did. You can easily take a look at the lists and invite former colleagues to connect.

LinkedIn New Advanced People search results You may also want to directly invite members who attended the same schools as you did.

LinkedIn New Advanced People search classmate results

The Advanced Search page offers many other ways to filter lists of people LinkedIn thinks you might know, based on connections of your connections, places they worked, and schools they attended.

But what do those little numbers after the potential contacts’ names mean? They indicate the degree of separation away from you, part of the three degrees of LinkedIn, which we discuss in the next section.

As you can see from the screenshot, you can search by current and past company as well as schools and many other attributes. Notice that many of the filters are grayed out. You need to upgrade to a paid account to use these features.

Next up: The Three Degrees of LinkedIn

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