Why do job seekers gloss over the importance of having strong recommendations tied to their LinkedIn profile?
Does it come down to that nagging feeling of discomfort we sometimes experience when asking a favor of someone to endorse the quality of our professional work.? (Perhaps, but I’ll save the rant on the importance of confidence for another article.)
Despite any “I’m not worthy” feelings that may surface: I bet that you could come up with at least three colleagues more than happy to speak positively of your work. And the time and energy required to gather those testimonials is more than worth the effort; featuring recommendations on LinkedIn is now important for several reasons:
Recommendations show instant credibility, and hiring managers may be wary of someone who has a large network and extensive work experience, but no endorsement to back up their performance.
A recommendation can reveal a second degree connection that you might have in common with a hiring manager, which can boost your chances of consideration.
Improved Personal Marketing
Your recommendations can serve as an extra marketing tool, whether you copy them onto a separate document and send it along with your resume, or you point potential employers back to your profile. You’ve established your credibility before they’ve even spoken to you – not every candidate can do that.
You gain more visibility by appearing on THEIR profile as well when they recommend you, assuming they’ve chosen to allow their recommendations to be displayed publicly.
A Minimum Requirement
Many, if not most, of the jobs posted on LinkedIn’s exclusive job board require candidates to have at least 2 recommendations on their profile in order to apply.
So how do you ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn?
The great news is that LinkedIn has a very structured functionality in place that makes asking for recommendations simple and less awkward. You can use the auto generated form and fill in the details, but because you are essentially asking for a favor, I recommend writing a personal message:
I hope you’re well. I’m refreshing my LinkedIn presence and was wondering if you would be willing to share a few words around our work together at Company XYZ. I would be happy to write a recommendation in return.
Thank you in advance!
Here’s another example, written for those who you did not work with at the same company:
I hope you are well. I’m in the midst of a job search and am working on strengthening my LinkedIn presence. Since we worked closely together on that big project for company XYZ, would you be open to writing me a recommendation for my profile? I would be happy to provide some ideas or verbiage if that would make it easier. And, of course, happy to return the favor.
Thanks in advance!
Some other helpful tips when gathering recommendations on LinkedIn:
- Reach out to a variety of people who can help you highlight your professional relationships in different capacities. For example, have a mix of recommendations that include supervisors, coworkers, direct reports, and customers or clients.
- Provide a couple of ideas to help the person write an effective recommendation for you. What do you want to communicate about your work experience, and then give them some guidance, terms, or suggestions on that.
- Make it as easy as possible for your contact; don’t be afraid to suggest that write can the first draft yourself. Some people would prefer that you do so based on what you’d like them to convey, and then they can approve and post it. It takes the guess work (and effort) out of it for them.
- Curate your recommendations carefully. You don’t have to post every one that you receive, and having too many might lessen the impact. Focus on getting at least 3-4 quality recommendations from people who truly know your work, and include specifics around your performance and contributions, if possible.
- Be willing to return the favor.
Hiring managers and recruiters do take notice of your recommendations, so it’s important to put your foot forward and keep a well-polished, professional digital presence that effectively markets your value. It’s a tough race out there, and every little bit can count!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, and more recently, Brooklyn Resume Studio. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!