Employers are using LinkedIn to research candidates for employment. In some cases, even before you are selected for an interview a recruiter or hiring manager will check you out on LinkedIn to see what you've accomplished, who you are connected to and who is recommending you. This means that recommendations are a vital component of an effective LinkedIn profile.
When someone views your LinkedIn profile, they will see an online version of your resume, complete with references, if you have recommendations in your profile. Recommendations from supervisors, clients, suppliers and colleagues affirming your skills, accomplishments and positive work style will not only enhance your profile, they will also show a hiring manager, at a glance, glowing references that attest to your candidacy for employment.
Here's advice on how to get LinkedIn recommendations, who to ask for references and how to manage the recommendations you've received.
LinkedIn Recommendations Are References in Advance
Take the time to request recommendations from your LinkedIn connections. Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight. To a potential employer, a LinkedIn recommendation is a reference in advance and can help you secure an interview.
How to Request a LinkedIn Recommendation
The best way to get recommendations on LinkedIn is to give them. When you recommend a LinkedIn member, you are attesting to their qualifications - and people love being recommended. They will probably reciprocate if you take the time to recommend them. A first step is to search LinkedIn for staff at your firm, clients and other professional contacts who are registered with LinkedIn. Don't overlook colleagues at professional organizations with whom you have collaborated.
Write a Reference
Next, consider writing a recommendation for any contacts who also might be in a position to write for you (as long as you view them favorably). Doing this service for them will help engender a sense of obligation that they should reciprocate. Once you have completed their recommendation, let them know why you've written for them (because of the specifics underlying your positive view of their work) and ask if they might consider writing a recommendation for you.
Ask for a Reference
Or, you can ask for a recommendation. It's easy to request a recommendation via LinkedIn's messaging system. When you request a recommendation, ask the person to recommend you if they can and if they have the time. This way they have an out if they aren't interested in giving you a reference, are precluded by company policy from giving references, or don't feel they know you well enough to recommend your work.
It can be helpful to include with any request a reminder of the shared experience which might serve as a basis for their recommendation. For example: "I thought you might be kind enough to write a LinkedIn recommendation for me given our successful collaboration on the Johnson proposal."
How to Request a Recommendation
- Click on:
- Request Recommendations
If someone has already written a recommendation for you outside of LinkedIn, you can forward a copy of their document and ask if they might be kind enough to upload one online as part of LinkedIn.
How to Manage LinkedIn Recommendations
You'll be able to manage recommendations you’ve received and ask colleagues, clients, managers, employees and others who can recommend your work for a reference.
When you receive a recommendation, you'll get notified via email and you'll be able to view the recommendation and request a revision, if necessary. If for some reason you don't want the recommendation on your profile, you don't have to publish it.
How Not to Get a Reference On LinkedIn
One important note - don't ask people you don't know for recommendations. I received an email message recently that said "I wouldn't mind a few words of recommendation if any of you know me." That's not how to ask for a recommendation, even if you know someone. I didn't know the person, so there was no way I could recommend them. But even if I did know him, I wouldn't spend my time composing a recommendation for someone who didn't have the courtesy to ask me personally to recommend them.