How to ask for LinkedIn recommendations

How to ask for LinkedIn recommendations

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” according to Will Rogers, and that’s one reason LinkedIn recommendations are valuable tools in finding jobs and building careers. Glassdoor reports from an ERE survey that every corporate job opening results in the company receiving an average of 250 resumes, but only 2 percent of the applicants get an interview. Written by former or present colleagues or managers, LinkedIn recommendations help applicants stand out from the crowd. You can ask for them before leaving a position if your departure is an accepted and planned move, or ask for them after leaving on good terms.

Reasons to ask for LinkedIn recommendations

Studies show that about 90 percent of customers use consumer reviews before making a purchase, and that crosses over to recruiters. In addition, a recent Jobvite survey reported that 82 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate job applicants. Beyond confirming task-based skills and establishing objective credibility to resume claims, this allows prospective employers to analyze “soft” skills and get a feel for a “cultural fit” between the candidate and the company.

LinkedIn recommendations also send another, more subtle message. Because the candidate must generally make the effort to request them, seeing recommendations tells the recruiter the job-seeker is willing to go beyond the minimum. Finally, the request keeps a candidate’s name in the front of former colleagues’ minds, so that colleagues are more likely to reach out if they hear of openings.

Tips on how to ask for LinkedIn recommendations

  • Write recommendations for connections. Reciprocity is a strong motivator. Take advantage of that slight sense of obligation to return the favor.
  • Call or email before making the site request. Explain why that person’s opinion is important and what the individual should focus on.
  • Make the request personal. Delete the auto-generated, bland email message that pops up, and tailor the new one to the recipient. Start with a personal connection and then ask.
  • Request specific information. “Jane was a great coworker” is gratifying, but it won’t convince recruiters that a candidate is the best choice. Explain what to highlight. Make it easier by providing an outline for that busy manager. Suggest starting with a sentence explaining the relationship and timeline, followed by relevant accomplishments, and then key strengths. Ask the person to conclude with the ways the company benefited from those actions.
  • Use gracious recommended words for LinkedIn, phrases that show respect for the other person, such as “if it’s not too much trouble” or “when you have a chance.”
  • Ask in a discriminatory manner. Recommendations that look organic are most effective, and date stamps that show a dozen were posted in the space of a few days don’t convey that.
  • Be sure to thank the contact for the time spent on the recommendation. Gratitude and respect make for more positive results.

Steps for how to ask for LinkedIn recommendations

There are two ways to ask for recommendations. One involves the connection’s profile and the other starts from your own.

For the first, navigate to a first-degree connection’s page. Click on the “More…” option at the top of the page. From there, select “Request a recommendation.” When prompted, fill in the “Relationship” and “Position” sections, and then click “Next.” Add a personal message and click “Send.”

For the latter, click the icon for “Me” at the top of the page and choose “View profile.” Scroll down to “Recommendations,” and select “Ask to be recommended.” Type the name of the connection and then choose the name from the supplied menu. Complete the “Relationship” and “Position” areas, add the message, and then send the request.

How to write LinkedIn recommendations

One method for getting recommendations is to write them for other people, so add this task to your planner. There are many LinkedIn recommendation examples available online, but it’s simple to create a quick LinkedIn recommendation template of your own. Basically, it requires four to five key statements:

  • Start with a strong “hook” statement. Try something like, “(A descriptive phrase) is how I would describe (connection’s name).” Use strong descriptions, but avoid vague superlatives like “best” or subjective words like “favorite.”
  • Explain the relationship, including the work and tasks you did together and the timeline. For example, write “I worked with (name) for (how long) as (relationship — coworker, manager, etc.). During that time, we (describe the projects completed together).”
  • Share a skill and a personality trait that made the connection stand out: “I was impressed with his/her ability to (skill). His/her (personality trait) also makes him/her a valuable asset to any organization.” Remember to keep the highlighted personality trait office appropriate.
  • End with a strong recommendation: “(Name) would be a strong addition to any organization” or “I can recommend (name) quite highly.”

Add LinkedIn recommendations to your job-seeking and career-advancement toolbox today and use your desk calendar to remind you to ask again later.