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You’ve probably seen it on LinkedIn — “6 people have recommended Bill,” or “16 people have recommended Sue.” Having at  recommendations on LinkedIn will help people recognize your strengths.

There are a few best practices when it comes to asking for recommendations on LinkedIn:

  • It is not not necessarily better to have a lot of endorsements. You don’t need 58 recommendations. In fact, some people say that they are suspicious when people have what they consider excessive numbers of endorsements. I was once conducting a workshop, and a participant found a colleague who had a lot of recommendations — I can’t remember exactly how many, but a lot! She said, “Wow, that’s impressive.” Upon further investigation, each recommendation was reciprocal — that is, she had endorsed everyone who endorsed her. All of the sudden, it seemed less impressive. Which leads us to…
  • Be sure not all of your recommendations are “you endorse me and I’ll endorse you.”

It’s easy to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn. (Maybe a little too easy!) All you need to do is click through to “Privacy and Settings” and under the “Profile” tab, click “Manage Your Recommendations.”  Click “Ask for Recommendations” on the top toolbar. Then, you can choose the job you want a recommendation for and select people to ask for the endorsement.

Here are some tips to get the best recommendations possible:

  • NEVER ask more than one person per message. Each recommendation request should be personalized and specific to the endorser.
  • Recognize the most people have no idea what to say and can use some guidance. It is your job to help steer your recommenders along the right path. For example:

“I am updating my LinkedIn profile, and I’d be honored if you would write a recommendation for me. While I am not currently looking for a job, the skills most important in my field include:  customer service/communication abilities, being self-directed and deadline-driven, as well as paying attention to details and having an inquisitive nature. I hope you will be able to comment on any of those in your note. I have an updated LinkedIn profile if you’d like to review it.”

If you need help updating your LinkedIn profile, contact me!

Providing information that helps your colleague or former supervisor know what you want him or her to say goes a long way to ensuring a) he or she actually writes out a reply and b) the recommendation has information that is actually useful to you.

It’s up to you to steer your career and job search related information. Follow these links for additional information about asking for recommendations:

Be sure to vet your references.

10 tips to land the best work references

Keep in touch with job references.

Prepare your references for job search success.

photo by .michael.newman.

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  • http://www.joblifearchitect.com Jeanne Male

    Really appreciate you for posting this, Miriam.

    I still receive too may unprofessional requests for endorsements; the stock request from people I barely recall. When assessing endorsements, I look at the quality of the endorsements: from whom, how they are written, duration of working relationship, etc. I’ll share a slightly different perspective on a few points:

    Number: Candidates should have a credible number of endorsements based upon duration in the workforce: e.g. 15 years.

    Reciprocation: Agree that endorsements shouldn’t be a quid pro quo, it’s good business practice to reciprocate (if you can genuinely do so) when someone provides an unsolicited endorsement.

    Steering Content: I don’t encourage “steering” unless trying to refresh memory regarding the work you did together. I have experienced someone dropping adjectives and it felt like being asked to rubber stamp a letter of recommendation. Dropping adjectives can make the recommendations too similar but worse still, miss out on learning what others really see as your best traits. Then, if you identify a trend in what others say about you, you have found your authentic personal brand.

    Miriam, I’m glad that you posted on this topic – it is both needed and important. I plan to add it to the discussions in the LinkedIn JobLife Architects group. Look for it here: http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?searchQuestions=&gid=1875376&answerCategory=mra&trk=myg_ugrp_dis

    • http://www.keppiecareers.com Miriam Salpeter

      Jeanne – Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I understand what you are saying about “steering,” but I don’t really think that providing information to help the endorser is “steering,” necessarily. I think of it as informing! It is up to the author to decide what to say. Since this was a post and not a chapter, I did not address the issue of who you should ask, but that plays a big role in how to approach this topic.

      If someone whose work I appreciate writes a note requesting my endorsement with some adjectives they like to use to describe themselves, I would certainly appreciate it and want to write something that would help them. I would make every effort to address their adjectives, and would not think of it as being asked to “rubber stamp” anything. But, that’s me! It’s important for people to know their audience.

      Maybe it’s a good idea to remind everyone that the note does not need to be the same for each endorser. The main point of this post is that I believe it is the job seeker’s responsibility to provide information to help the person writing the recommendation decide what to say. Your point about seeing what others say about you is interesting and well taken, but I think there are other ways to learn what people think of you. (And, I’m not convinced that providing information prevents people from sharing what they really think.)

      As anything with job search, there is no one RIGHT way, only best practices that we can advise and then target when we work with clients one-on-one. Thanks for extending the conversation! I appreciate your ideas and the opportunity to clarify the post.

    • http://www.digital-networking.mobi/JobSearchingWithRob/index.html Rob Taub

      In response to Jeanne Male’s response … So I guess I shouldn’t ask for an endorsement, huh.

      Kidding aside, I’ve had this on my desktop knowing that I would want to refer to it some time again and here I am, EXACTLY 2 months to the day and “yes” again I am reviewing this.

      I am one who does believe in “steering” and actually request people steer me on their own behalf. I want to help. I may be able to talk to different knowledge areas or competenties, etc. and in an attempt to sincerely help someone, why not ask for some prompts?

      in any case, I’ll just leave this post here on my desktop. See yoou in a couple of monthe, Miriam!

      Rob

  • http://www.joblifearchitect.com Jeanne Male

    Miriam: Thanks for your gracious acknowledgment, too. You are quite right – as with all posts I naturally assumed that your goal was to stimulate dialogue and a prism of perspectives. I tend to see things in shades of grey rather than black and white, (especially with human dynamics) so I concur that there is seldom a single right way. Keep it coming!

  • http://www.writeletters.net/ Diane Diaz

    This is a very nice sample,tips and guidelines on how to write a formal letter .Thanks for sharing it with us.I’m pretty sure a lot of people out there will find this blog of yours very helpful.

  • http://www.digital-networking.mobi/JobSearchingWithRob/index.html rob taub

    In response to Jeanne Male’s response … So I guess I shouldn’t ask for an endorsement, huh.

    Kidding aside, I’ve had this on my desktop knowing that I would want to refer to it some time again and here I am, EXACTLY 2 months to the day and “yes” again I am reviewing this.

    I am one who does believe in “steering” and actually request people steer me on their own behalf. I want to help. I may be able to talk to different knowledge areas or competenties, etc. and in an attempt to sincerely help someone, why not ask for some prompts?

    in any case, I’ll just leave this post here on my desktop. See yoou in a couple of monthe, Miriam!

    Rob

  • http://www.ontai.net/ help desk management

    Yaa Greg Connection are one of important element that shows us how good we are in increasing our network….

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