LinkedIn Recommendations–The Latest

As I’ve noted several times, including recently, I’m a fan of LinkedIn recommendations, both in an active job search and in ongoing career management. They help you leverage your career success based on the value you have contributed throughout your career and beef up the strength of your LinkedIn profile.

Because LinkedIn keeps changing a lot of its features, I decided to investigate what the process of requesting and giving recommendations currently involves. (Note that this is being posted in October 2013–it might not still apply a week or two from now!)

Provide a LinkedIn Recommendation

Whether on your own initiative or in response to a request, you might want to provide a LinkedIn recommendation for someone you know well. (I never advise doing this for someone you know relatively little about.) After consulting the LinkedIn Help Center, here’s the gist of what I found:

  1. Select Profile-Edit Profile.
  2. Scroll down and select Recommendations and click the pencil icon.
  3. Click Manage Visibility (right side of page, under Your Recommendations).
  4. Click Given and then Make a recommendation. (Note: You can recommend someone who isn’t a connection by entering his/her first and last names and email address.)
  5. Click Colleague, Service Provider, Business Partner or Student and then Continue.
  6. Enter the content for your recommendation.
  7. Click Send.

Request a LinkedIn Recommendation

Despite the current, ongoing emphasis on endorsements, I still strongly urge you to seek recommendations from people who can provide independent verification and validation of the value you have provided as a professional in your field, whether you’re a CEO or Senior Marketing VP or some other function. It isn’t quite as simple as it used to be, but here in a nutshell are LinkedIn’s current steps for requesting a recommendation:

  1. Go to your Privacy and Settings page.
  2. Click Manage your Recommendations (middle of page under Helpful Links).
  3. Click Ask for recommendations (near top of page).
  4. Select a position from the “What do you want to be recommended for?” drop-down list.
  5. For the “Who do you want to ask?” section, put in the names of the connections or click your address book icon to search for connections. (If using your address book, use the Choose Connections view, click the names and then Finished.)
  6. Enter your request in the Create your message section. You have the choice of doing it as-is or customizing; I always recommend customizing your messages.
  7. Click Send.

Bulk Requests for LinkedIn Recommendations

Although LinkedIn allows you to send multiple requests for recommendations in one batch (individual recipients don’t see each other on the request), I advise against doing this–for one simple reason: I believe customizing is a key piece of this process; you don’t want your message to sound as if you just lumped the recipient in with a bunch of other people without considering him/her as a valued individual.

Give as Well as Receive LinkedIn Recommendations

You certainly want to receive recommendations that can help boost your online reputation and visibility. That said, it’s important to give recommendations to others when you can make a positive contribution to their online presence. In fact, some experts say you should offer a recommendation to others that you’d like to receive one from, before you ask them for a recommendation. The premise is that your unsolicited offer will inspire them to reciprocate. If that doesn’t happen, you can still make a direct request.

I don’t know if there’s a “magic” number for recommendations, but I suggest having at least 10 that you can display in your profile. More probably wouldn’t hurt, if they’re really good ones. It’s also good to have recommendations for each of your current and past positions (at least covering the last several years).

2 Comments on “LinkedIn Recommendations–The Latest

  1. These are some excellent tips! What we’ve noticed though, is that you also have to tailor most of your other social networking sites to look professional. It is a known fact these days that employers will often screen potential employees via social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We offer some tips on how to do this as it seems its important to censor not only your professional profiles but also your social profiles.

    • Your observation about considering all one’s social networking sites is all too true and not often enough considered by the individuals who post on them. I strongly advise my resume and career coaching clients to be very circumspect about what they post online…anywhere!