H habanero management social
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May 02

Category: Social Media

It’s hard to underestimate the power of social proof — the endorsement of others — in sales and marketing today.

The same is entirely true in the world of recruiting and hiring. If you’re endorsed or recommended by former colleagues and bosses, then the bold claims you make about your skills and talents are lent vital extra credibility. In other words, you’re more likely to be believable.

In an ideal world, you’d never have to ask for recommendations. The reality is sitting back and waiting for endorsements isn’t likely to work — you need to be proactively seeking them. However, just any old recommendation won’t do. They need to be by the right people, cover the right points, and be made at the right time.

These tips will help you to obtain powerful and highly personalised LinkedIn recommendations that will really help you to stand out from the crowd.

#1. Find the ‘Request a Recommendation’ link

Alright, this is patronisingly basic for some of you. However, with all the change that LinkedIn have been making to their user interface over the past few months, it’s worth pointing out afresh.

You can ask any connection to recommend you. Just navigate to the member’s profile page, click the three dots in the top section of the profile, to the right of the picture. Select ‘Request a Recommendation’ and follow the instructions on the screen. Need more help? Check out LinkedIn’s support article.

#2. Think carefully about the person you’d like to recommend you

Not all recommendations are equal. Written endorsements from different people carry different weight. If you’re relying purely on colleagues (rather than bosses) for instance, something is going to look awry.

Instead, aim for a good mixture of recommendations from both former colleagues (or clients, if applicable), and bosses from as many of your previous positions as possible. Here are some general guidelines for choosing something to request a recommendation from:

  • Someone that you worked with for at least six months
  • Someone who directly or indirectly managed you
  • A colleague you worked with on a major project
  • A person you know can write clearly and concisely
  • A person who regards you positively (remember, you can be selective!)

Related: The 5 LinkedIn mistakes that might be costing you job offers

#3. Send a personalised message

Don’t be tempted to save time by asking for recommendations from 25 people at once. For one thing, having a bunch of recommendations arrive all at once just looks plain suspicious (remember, LinkedIn reviews are date stamped!). It also pays to take some time personalising each request that you make.

LinkedIn defaults you to a really short and generic request. Do not ever send only this. Instead, customise your message with some personal details, some additional politeness, and, of course, some specific details about the type of recommendation you’d like them to write.

#4. Suggest two to three areas you’d like the person to focus on

Don’t leave the content of the recommendation to chance. Generic recommendations — ‘Andy’s a great guy!’ and so on — are nice, but what do they really tell a potential employer about you? Instead, steer your former boss or colleague toward a couple of subjects that will really help you do stand out.

Try something a bit like this:

Hi {First Name},

I hope that all is well with you! I’m writing to ask if you’d be willing to write a LinkedIn recommendation for me that highlights my content marketing skills.

Ideally, you’d be able to highlight the success we had with the {really successful project} and the substantial increase in visitors and conversions we managed to generate as well as the A/B testing we performed on the {really successful project} landing pages to boost sign-ups. I’m working hard to move into a senior content marketing position and know that most of the employers I’m writing to are focused on increased conversion rates.

I know that a recommendation from you will really elevate my profile. I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,

{Your Name}

Related: Getting started on LinkedIn: 9 tips for students and recent graduates

#5. Follow up with a thank you

Remember to thank the person who has recommended you for their comments. Not only is it polite to thank them for having taken time out of their day to fulfil your request, but it’s also important for long-term network building. Finally, if you haven’t already done so, offer to write a recommendation of the former boss or colleague in return.