No LinkedIn profile is complete without a great recommendation (or three). That’s because whether you want to make a good impression on a hiring manager, or you’re prepping for an internal promotion, your professional brand on social media requires social proof.
The best recommendations communicate the pleasure of working with you while breaking down what sets you apart as a professional. They immediately let recruiters and potential employers know what you can bring to their organization.
LinkedIn recommendations give profile visitors a positive glimpse into working with the person, (in this case, you). While showing off your ability to build meaningful connections at work with colleagues who publicly endorse you.
And while there’s no exact science to getting a great recommendation, there are a few steps that can make it much easier.
1. Ask the right people.
You’ll want your LinkedIn profile to include the perfect mix of recommendations from managers, peers and cross functional counterparts. If you’re a manager, recommendations from team members you’ve managed can promote your ability to lead, mentor and inspire. The right combination of testimonials will back your skills and professional brand online.
So first narrow down your list to the members of your network who you’ve collaborated with in meaningful ways. Do you have a great working relationship? Have you combined forces on multiple projects? Find a team member who you’ve shared a big win with who understands and values your skillset.
2. Timing is everything.
Whenever possible, stagger your requests on LinkedIn so five or ten don’t come flooding in simultaneously. Every LinkedIn recommendation is time stamped with a date recruiters will see. They can easily spot blocks of recommendations.
Don’t wait till you’re planning your next big career move. Try to time your requests for recommendations with big wins at work instead or after you’ve supported a colleague in conquering their own goals. An organic flow of recommendations over time with each employer makes them seem more genuine while showing that you deliver consistently.
While mass requesting recommendations isn’t ideal, there are times when it’s almost unavoidable. If you’ve had an unexpected job loss or you’re bracing for a restructure at work, don’t let awkward timing stop you from getting the recommendations you need to fuel your job search.
3. Make your ask specific.
Don’t use LinkedIn’s default, generic request message: Hi JoAnn, can you write me a recommendation?
Instead, craft a personal message tailored to each colleague and how they can help. Hint: it should ooze gratitude. And of course, your call to action should spell out the specific skills you’re looking to highlight.
Here’s an example:
Hi JoAnn, How is the fam? I’m reaching out to see if you’d be open to writing a LinkedIn recommendation for me that hones in on my leadership skills and ability to quickly develop an impactful content marketing strategy. It would be great if you could touch on our collaborations on content marketing initiatives and how I was able to support you and the brand at large when we launched the new website. I know how busy you are, this recommendation would support my next move to a team leadership position. Thank you for your consideration!
You can also offer to write a LinkedIn recommendation sample for your connection to edit that highlights the skills you want recruiters to see.
4. Return the favor.
Reciprocity is everything. When you ask your connections for LinkedIn recommendations, be sure to let them know that you’d be happy to return the favor.
You can also tackle this process in reverse – write a recommendation for someone you’d love a recommendation from before ever asking. Write a great one that highlights their standout skills—whether that’s their ability to command a room or empower other team members to push farther. If you’re looking to someone for a recommendation he or she should always be someone you can comfortably recommend on LinkedIn.
Not sure where to start?
To request recommendations, go to your profile and scroll down to the Recommendations section. Click Ask to be recommended and follow all the prompts. You can also go straight to your connection’s profile and click the More button and then select Request a Recommendation.
Or, write a LinkedIn recommendation by going to the profile and clicking More and then Recommend.