LinkedIn Leverage: Four Steps to Adding Great Recommendations

All employers want to make good hiring decisions, and you want them to select you!  Make it easier for prospective employers to realize the great value that you can bring to their organization (and thus how good you can make them look too!) by maximizing the value of ‘Social Proof’ on your LinkedIn profile.  Doing so can very well lead to hiring decision makers contacting you for interviews for positions that aren’t even posted yet!

Social Proof:  On LinkedIn, social proof is shown via 2-4 sentence Recommendations (and Endorsements) written by supervisors, colleagues, peers or clients who speak highly about the value of your professional skills, expertise and results you bring to the table.  LinkedIn Recommendations are the far more valuable digital equivalent of written reference letters, and will be seen by everyone including those all-important prospective hiring decision makers, who view your profile.  Having others ‘recommend’ your work adds immense credence to your ‘stock’ as an employee of choice.

How many Recommendations should I add to my profile?

Per LinkedIn, there is no limit to the number of Recommendations you can receive.  Start by gathering a minimum of 2 recommendations for each of your most recent / most important positions.  Then continue to gather even more.  LinkedIn will place the 2 most recent recommendations under each position and if you have more than two, will include a link that will take readers to read ‘more’.  Some profiles have dozens of recommendations, so there truly is no real limit!

NOTE:  LinkedIn will not automatically add any recommendations that you receive to your profile until you review and choose to ‘Accept’ them.

Where do I find the Recommendations section?  

  • Place your mouse on the small photo icon at the far right (in the black border) of your LinkedIn page; in the drop down box that appears, click on ‘Privacy and Settings’
  • Click on ‘Manage Your Recommendations’ at the bottom right of the two blue columns of links
  • At the top of the new page that appears, click on ‘Ask for Recommendations’

Four Steps to Sending a Recommendation Request That Gets Results 

1. ‘What do you want to be recommended for?’ Click on the drop down menu and choose which company you worked for, or which school you attended, that you want to receive a recommendation for.  Hint:  begin with your most recent company.

2. ‘Who do you want to ask?’  Think about who is already in your LinkedIn network.  HINT:  Send requests to people you have quality work relationships with, and whose work you also esteem.   It is important that they can speak to the quality of your work and work ethic.  LinkedIn is set up so that you can send a request to more than one person at a time.  Recipients will only see their own name/email address, they will not be able to see who else you sent the request to.  While this does make it quicker to send requests, sending ‘bulk’ requests is not to your advantage (see # 3 below).

3. Create your message.  LinkedIn already includes a canned message set up for you to send. HINT:  Do not use it, or at least do not ‘only’ use their wording. You are asking your contacts to care enough to write something meaningful that will speak professionally about the caliber of your work.  Set the stage by taking time to personalize your request – to each person you ask.  Your rate of response, and the quality of the recommendations you receive, depends on doing so. 

LinkedIn’s pre-written message: Can you recommend me?  I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know.   Thanks in advance for helping me out.

Sample personalized message: Can you recommend me? I have greatly valued working together with you (at name of company).  You continuously set the standard for the team and inspired us to achieve more.  I am writing to ask whether you would be comfortable writing a recommendation for me that I can include on my LinkedIn profile.  Do let me know if you have any questions about this request.  I deeply appreciate your contribution.

4. Receiving (and basking in) Great Recommendations

Enjoy the moment!  Incoming recommendations will come into your LinkedIn message box, as well as via a message to your email address.  Receiving recommendations are one of the many     charms of LinkedIn.  Not only do you get to find out how much others value your work, you can display their appraisal for all to see!

HINT:  While reviewing, ensure that the message is free of spelling and grammatical errors.  If  errors exist, let the person who wrote the recommendation know that you are very pleased with what they wrote and would be proud to display it on your profile once the mentioned error is  amended.  It may seem as though you are being ‘picky’ but what is written directly reflects on you.  Once you hit ‘Accept’, there is no way to change any of the content.

Final Note:  Surprise someone! 

Go ahead and write recommendations for some of your contacts ‘out of the blue’.  To do so, click on the ‘Given’ tab on the Recommendations page, scroll to the blue box at the bottom, type in a contact’s name, indicate how you know them, then type in a personalized recommendation and hit ‘send’.   You will truly make your contact’s day!   (As with all ‘true’ giving, give from your heart, and don’t expect anything in return.  If they choose to write a recommendation for you in return, without you asking, then you both ‘win’.)

Lisa Lorenson, Director Outplacement  

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