How to Give — and Receive — LinkedIn Recommendations

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linkedin recommendations

With all the changes to LinkedIn, one thing that never goes out of style is having people say nice things about you on your LinkedIn profile — even if LinkedIn puts different emphasis on the role of Recommendations in the profile. For recruiters and hiring managers who take the time to read them, great Recommendations can be the difference in getting the job offer. So don’t miss out on any opportunity to “get yours.”

LinkedIn Recommendations are a natural evolution of references and letters of recommendation. However, they often are more credible than these traditional documents, because it is harder to fake a Recommendation on LinkedIn than it is to forge a letter. Since many companies are restricting reference checks to verification of title and dates of employment, a LinkedIn Recommendation from a supervisor — and/or coworkers — does carry some weight.

LinkedIn has been described as a “reputation engine.” That’s an apt description, because your reputation does precede you online — not just in your work history, but also in your LinkedIn Recommendations. At JobSearchSuperhero.com we recommend that our clients also utilize the web scraping software known as BrandYourself. This software is priced reasonably, you can pay about $35 quarterly, although this figure could have slightly changed, to more easily scan for any negative posts online.

Remember that someone looking at your Recommendations wants to know two things:

  • What are you like?
  • Are you good at what you do?

LinkedIn used to require a minimum for three Recommendations for your profile to be considered “complete,” but that is no longer part of the profile strength measurement system. However, according to LinkedIn, “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn.”

In addition, you can enhance your own reputation by providing Recommendations, because people viewing your profile can see (and read) the Recommendations you make. People can see the Recommendations you’ve received (click on “Received”) as well as the Recommendations you’ve given (click on “Given”).

Recommendations can also provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results — meaning, they will help you get found — both on LinkedIn as well as on search engines. Use industry-specific terminology in your Recommendations. Keywords included in LinkedIn Recommendations also receive emphasis in search engine results — especially searches within LinkedIn. When conducting a keyword search, all the keywords in a profile are indexed, and profiles with a high match of relevant keywords come up higher in the results listings. Although LinkedIn’s specific algorithms are secret, some experts suggest that keywords in Recommendations receive double the rankings of keywords provided in the profile itself.

How many Recommendations you should have on your profile depends on how many contacts you have. A good guideline is 1-2 Recommendations for every 50 connections. Ideally, these will be a variety of individuals — not just supervisors, but co-workers, people you supervise, and clients/customers. Choose quality over quantity.

Recommendations should be built up over time. Because Recommendations have a date attached to them, don’t try to solicit all of your Recommendations at once. Don’t write and send your Recommendations all at once either. Recommendations are date-stamped, so the reader will be able to see when they were added to your page. It’s best if they are added gradually, over time.

Follow us here or on our main JobSearchSuperhero blog, and we’ll start with what to write in a Recommendation you give, and then show you how to actually make a Recommendation on LinkedIn. Finally, you’ll learn how to request your own Recommendations on LinkedIn. In the next post we will show you the actual formula for writing a good LinkedIn Recommendation, but here is a preview below.

Formula for Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation

Before you write anything, take a look at your contact’s LinkedIn profile. Align your Recommendation with the individual’s LinkedIn profile. Tie in what you write with their LinkedIn Headline, Summary, and/or experience — reinforce the qualities they want to emphasize in the Recommendation you write. Look at the existing Recommendations they’ve received too.

Some things to consider include:

  • What are they good at?
  • What did they do better than anyone else?
  • What impact did they have on me? (How did they make my life better/easier?)
  • What made them stand out?
  • Is there a specific result they delivered in this position?
  • What surprised you about the individual?

Choose the qualities you want to emphasize in the person you are recommending. You may choose to use what author and speaker Lisa B. Marshall calls “The Rule of Threes.” Simply stated, concepts or ideas presented in groups of three are more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable. (See how that works?)

In general, you will want to showcase transferable skills, because these will be the most relevant for your contacts when they are using LinkedIn for a job search or business development.

The top 10 skills employers are looking for in employees are:

  • Communication Skills (verbal and written)
  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Teamwork Skills (works well with others)
  • Interpersonal Skills (relates well to others)
  • Motivation/Initiative
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Analytical Skills
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Computer Skills
  • Organizational Skills

Stay tuned to our blog and our social profiles as we will be adding more #JobSearchSuperhero #CareerTips and resources frequently.

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