Before social networking came along, salesmen and job seekers would typically ask for letters of recommendation from happy clients, peers or their boss. LinkedIn has a great piece of functionality where you can request recommendations from people within your network – which is the same as a letter of recommendation, but allows the whole world to view them.
Recommendations, which are displayed on your profile, give potential employers (and potential clients) a fuller view of you as a direct report, boss, colleague, or client. A candidate or potential supplier with recommendations on their LinkedIn profile will seem more credible (and therefore, worth calling) than a similar candidate without recommendations.
There are two ways of seeking out recommendations – either asking directly for a recommendation, or recommending someone else and hoping they will reciprocate.
Here are six ways to make sure you get the perfect recommendation on LinkedIn:
- Make sure you have a good relationship with the person you are asking for a recommendation from – nothing irritates people on LinkedIn more than someone who they barely know asking them for a recommendation.
- Make sure your request is direct, but polite – and do explain why you want the recommendation, e.g. “I’m looking for a new job, so want my profile is as attractive as possible to any potential employers”.
- If anyone gives you some positive feedback about you or the service you offer, ask them to provide you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Most people will – particularly if you script it in advance for them.
- Mention what points you would appreciate that the recommendation covers, e.g. “my ability to be creative”.
- Write an e-mail to the person you want a recommendation from – it is more personal than using the “endorse me” feature. In this e-mail, consider scripting a recommendation for them to base their recommendation of you on.
- Don’t hold people to ransom for a recommendation. I.e. tell them that they don’t have to write one if they don’t want to – and you wouldn’t think negatively of them. People don’t need to reciprocate with a recommendation if you wrote one for them.
Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.
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