Back in the old days recommendations came in the form of a letter. (Remember them?!) You could include copies of those letters in your application packet (cover letter, resume, references) you were sending to a hiring manager for their consideration. LinkedIn recommendation serves the same purpose – except they are a lot easier to keep track of.
First things first
Before we get started you need to know that you can only send/receive recommendations from first-degree connections. So make sure you are making connections with coworkers, colleagues, superiors etc.
Requesting a LinkedIn Recommendation
LinkedIn provides this standard text to request a recommendation:
I’m writing to ask if you would write a brief recommendation of my work that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks in advance for your help.
My recommendation…don’t use it. Why? 1. it’s impersonal and 2. it doesn’t get what you need, a specific recommendation that tells a story about you. Recommendations that include generalities like “Morgan is really smart and fun to work with.” are not as effective as “I was often the lucky benefactor of Morgan’s extensive QuickBooks knowledge. She was incredibly responsive and client focused – the ultimate team player.” So how do you get that? You ask for it. When you request a recommendation it’s important to BE SPECIFIC (and obviously polite.) For example:
Hello John, I’m writing to ask if you would write a brief recommendation about my work on the xyz project (or xyz software) that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. I’m hoping to convey that __________. If you believed I accomplished this, will you write me a recommendation in that regard? If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks in advance for your help.
Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation
The second and most effective way to get a recommendation is to write one. Your connections will appreciate the compliment and the time you took to recommend them and will return the favor.
Again, specificity is the key to writing an effective recommendation. Here’s how to get it done.
- Explain how you know the person. Recommendations from people acquaintances are insignificant. Explaining your relationship to the reader will add weight to the recommendation. Ex: During my time at XYZ Company I had the pleasure of working with Mike as both my manager as well as a coworker. Clearly this person spent a lot of time with Mike and would be able to provide a valuable recommendation.
- Be genuine. Insincere expressions of admiration are obvious. Ex: Lisa is the most knowledgeable, talented, dependable, loyal and enjoyable people I have ever worked with. If you think someone is great it’s important to say so but going on and on is ineffective.
- Talk about results. This goes back to #2. Sharing concrete facts about the results and how it positively affected company or the project paints a clear picture about how the person is actually an effective multitasker, a go-getter or knowledgeable etc.
- Be concise. Nobody is going to read a three-paragraph recommendation. Try to keep it to four or five sentences.
Make a Recommendation Resolution
Recommendations have unlimited potential. If you are being considered for a role and a recruiter or hiring manager sees a recommendation from someone they know, he/she may reach out to him/her for more information. With 2015 just around the corner it’s time to make a New Year’s resolution. Consider setting a recommendation resolution! Set a goal to write one a month and ask for one in return.
Read the next blog in this H2Oggi Series: Saturate Your LinkedIn Profile: Experience
More about Recommendations
For even more information about Recommendations check out these great resources.