You probably know all the basics of using LinkedIn. You might’ve run a successful job hunt on the network. Maybe you consider yourself pretty good at networking. But there’s one more important thing that many users are overlooking: LinkedIn Recommendations.
It’s not always simple to get a recommendation on LinkedIn. You invest all that time and effort into requesting one and get ignored. You could get a recommendation from a friend, but what good would it do for your professional image?
Keep reading to find out how to avoid those situations, as well as learn how to get (and give) excellent recommendations on the network. But first, why should you start collecting LinkedIn Recommendations in the first place?
Why You Need Recommendations
Your LinkedIn profile should tell a potential employer (or valuable industry connection) that you’re a skilled professional. To convince them, you need people to vouch for you.
LinkedIn Recommendations, which are different from skill endorsements, are perfect for this. They’re a form of validation of the personal brand that you’re creating on LinkedIn. They confirm what you say about yourself.
Think of them as mini-letters of recommendation — a way to get others to advertise you for free. They could come from friends, colleagues, customers, or anyone else willing to recommend you.
How to Request a LinkedIn Recommendation
Because they’re so visible, you can’t afford to be sloppy with recommendations. Here’s the best way to ask for LinkedIn recommendations. And some advice on preparing for the request, as well.
1. Make a List
Look at your accomplishments and make a list of people who are familiar with your work. Give priority to those with impressive titles (CEOs, founders, executives), people known as thought leaders in your industry, or those working for respected companies and organizations.
Jot down the names and contact information of all of these people. Give priority to those who have seen your best work and can vouch for you.
Ideally, try to get at least one recommendation for each LinkedIn Experience entry. Your most recent roles are the most important but don’t be afraid to go further back.
2. Reach Out
Don’t request a recommendation through LinkedIn directly. Instead, send an email to your connection asking if it’s okay to send them such a request. You’re more likely to receive a recommendation this way, as people often ignore messages and updates they get on LinkedIn.
You can also be a little cheeky and offer to provide them with a draft. Try something like, “As I know how busy you are, I’d be happy to send you a draft recommendation you can edit.” This way you can exercise a bit of influence on what they write, even if they don’t use your draft.
3. Send the Request
When you get a positive reply, head over to LinkedIn and request the recommendation.
- Under the More icon in the top right section of your profile, select Request a recommendation.
- Find the person in your connections, the fill out your relationship to them and what their position was at the time.
- Write your message. You can include a short draft here (unless they asked you not to). Even if they don’t use it, you could give them some ideas.
After receiving a recommendation, you can choose whether to add it to your profile or disregard it.
4. Show Your Appreciation
Remember that a quality LinkedIn recommendation might get you a long way. And people who spent their time helping you create a professional-looking profile on the network deserve your gratitude.
An email saying thank you will let them know that you really appreciate their help. You could even include a small gift with your thank-you to show them how much it means to you.
The Best Way to Get a LinkedIn Recommendation
No matter how many people you ask and how politely you go about it, you might end up with very few people responding to your efforts. It doesn’t mean that none of your connections wants to give you a recommendation. Sometimes people are just too busy, forgetful, or caught up in work.
If you’re having trouble getting recommendations, try this trick.
The best way to get LinkedIn recommendations is not to ask for them but to write them for other people. It doesn’t matter what triggers it. It could be your connection’s gratitude for your reference. Or could just be guilt for not writing one for you first. Or LinkedIn’s reminder to return the favor might spur action.
The best recipients? Your former colleagues, customers, or anyone you’d like to get a recommendation from. Writing a recommendation first will also save you asking for a recommendation and then chasing people with multiple follow-ups when you don’t hear back from them.
How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation
Every LinkedIn recommendation you write will be unique. How you approach the topic depends on your relationship to the recipient. But that’s not to say there aren’t general guidelines that you can use when writing it.
Keep these things in mind when you’re writing a LinkedIn recommendation.
First Impressions Matter
Try and begin your reference with a powerful line. Give a colorful description to a person using phrases like “ridiculously efficient,” “standout talent,” or “tireless multitasker.” Make sure readers know that this is a great person to work with.
Be as Specific as You Can
LinkedIn recommendations are a lot shorter than normal reference letters. It’s important that you’re concise when describing your relationship with the person. Don’t go into too much detail, but make sure to include things like how you know them, what you worked together on, and the length of time you’ve known each other.
What Makes Them Stand Out?
Once again, remember that you have limited space. No need to waste characters on the obvious by stating the person is intelligent, organized, or wonderful to work with. Instead, think about what makes them stand out. Focus on a trait that could make a future employer choose them over other candidates.
Are they great at getting everyone else in the office on board with the craziest ideas? Or so good at multitasking it took your team’s productivity to a whole new level? Maybe they managed to pick up a specific skill in no time when other spend years mastering it? Focus your recommendation around something they do better than everyone else.
Don’t Forget About Personality
After you’ve sold them as an extraordinary employee, it wouldn’t hurt to make them seem a little more human. If you know a person well enough, mention their personality traits, like their great sense of humor or an ability to ease everyone up after a tense work meeting. These things can set a job candidate apart in a competitive market.
Add a Finishing Touch
This doesn’t have to be a grand finale. Just don’t forget to actually recommend a person. Make it short and sweet, but at the same time, clear that they’ll be a great asset to an employer.
Your Tips for LinkedIn Recommendations
With this information at hand, you should be able to score yourself the five-star recommendations needed to make your LinkedIn profile complete. But before you leave, share your thoughts with us.
Are recommendations a part of your current LinkedIn profile? Have you ever written or requested one? Would you rather ask for a recommendation or write one yourself first? Let us know in the comment section below!
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