Boosting Your LinkedIn Profile Recommendations
Many recruiters find the Recommendations feature in LinkedIn one of the most persuasive pieces in a job seeker’s online presence because it’s where actual people describe the features and benefits of working with a specific candidate. It isn’t personal branding or a superlative biography; it’s testimony from colleagues, managers, etc. Due the compelling nature of professional recommendations, job seekers are looking for ways to obtain strong written testimonials for their LinkedIn profiles.
What constitutes a strong recommendation?
We suggest more than two lines of text but no longer than six or seven lines. The endorsement should be a bite-sized statement, articulating some positive personality traits (dedicated, easy to work with, etc) and how your professional contributions have made a difference. A few specific points to highlight might include:
• an overview of a successful project you contributed to
• a specific positive experience working with you
• how you saved a company time or money
• how you improved operations and revenue/profitability
• a specific problem you overcame
How can you generate more recommendations?
Don’t be afraid to simply ask for a recommendation. Avoid testimonials from casual acquaintances, as those tend to be vague; rather, ask individuals who matter in your personal and professional life. Many job seekers are bashful about directly asking for a recommendation, but being timid will not help propel your job search. LinkedIn’s messaging system makes it simple to ask for a recommendation. We suggest developing a baseline note to ask for recommendations; you can then tweak the message according to the individual before sending. There may also be cases where it’s better to ask for a recommendation via a telephone call or a face-to-face meeting.
If you’re asking someone for a recommendation, it’s perfectly fine to provide some guidelines or suggestions for what to cover in the endorsement. After all, you want the recommendation to be focused on your professional value and specific. For instance, you can ask a colleague/manager to highlight a key project you worked on together or reference a point or two from your resume that you’d like to see as a theme in your recommendations. Remember, you should present this as a suggestion and not a demand. You don’t want to dictate what to write word for word or be pushy; simply give a little guidance as a starting point. Many people find it easier to write a testimonial if they are given a little direction from the candidate. There may even be situations where you can offer to write the testimonial yourself and have the other person approve it to save time. Some people will prefer to write the recommendation themselves, but others have found it an efficient way to provide endorsements.
Another great way to increase the likelihood of receiving a recommendation is to offer to write a recommendation for someone else. When you offer something in return, other people are often more willing to reciprocate. If the testimonial you write highlights some of the concepts you’d like to see in your recommendation, it may even guide your colleague as he/she writes an endorsement for you. Simply writing a recommendation will improve the chances that your colleague will return the favor; however, writing a polished, specific endorsement may give your colleague the added encouragement to do the same for you.
Timing can also be a factor in maximizing your recommendations. If you ask someone shortly after a successful project, there’s a good chance he/she will be happy to develop an endorsement because the details are fresh. If you contact the individual a year or three years later, some of that momentum is lost. So, as you complete projects and achieve goals, ask the people involved to endorse you.
The Recommendations feature on LinkedIn can be highly compelling during your job search. What others say about you can be as important as what you tell a hiring manager about yourself. By using these suggestions you can build a strong network of recommendations that support your professional value proposition.