One of LinkedIn’s functionalities which is underused is the Recommendation option.
A recommendation requires either you or another LinkedIn member to write a few short paragraphs about someone, rather than just clicking the endorsement buttons, using this option is more of a thought process and in the end has more of an impact. Linkedin have ensured there are a few safeguards around Recommendations, and you have the ability to accept the recommendation, or if you prefer, slightly edit/tweak the content.
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If you have been asked to write a recommendation, remember the choice is yours, only write a recommendation for someone you have worked with, know well and you feel you want to publicly recommend, because it’s your name which will be seen by other Linkedin members.
OMG What Do I Write?
If you are suffering from writer's block, there are a few tips you can use to create an awesome recommendation. Start with a small description of how and when you know each other. Next, talk about how their contribution to the team / project helped, and then consider ending with a good personal example of how or why you enjoyed working together. If you are still struggling, check out this website for a bit of cheat sheet, Computer generated Linkedin Recommendations.
Here’s an example of a Recommendation I wrote for a colleague:
Asking for Recommendations
I have always compared Recommendations to a reference you would add to your resume, you want to ask someone who matters, and someone who has a good knowledge and understanding of who you are and your skill set. When it comes to Linkedin, don’t just ask anyone, ensure the person has at least over 500 connections themselves, they are a respected and active person on Linkedin and I know this sounds obvious, but the person was actually your manager, colleague, supplier or customer and clearly understands the role or project you worked on. When it comes to asking for recommendations, use the rule “diversity and quality”. You will want your recommendations to be from a range of exciting and interesting people, including colleagues, customers, managers, partners, suppliers and anyone else that is relevant to your career. Click here to learn more about Linkedin Recommendations. Here’s an example of Recommendation which was written about me:
Top Tip: Have a diverse range of recommendations from The boss, a director and your team member. This gives a feel of how you are in the company on all levels. If you are a contractor, ask at least three of your customers for recommendations.
How Many Should I have?
This is entirely up to you how many recommendations you’d like to have, I currently have two, but they are from a new year's ago, so I should look at asking my current colleagues and suppliers for a recent recommendation, I will aim for two more. Here are a few tips to remember about the number of recommendations you have:
An overabundance of recommendations can be quite off putting to some people
Too many recommendations for one position can make you look a little superhuman
Recruiters and hiring managers read recommendations, but it’s highly unlikely this will make or break your chance of getting hired.
If you don’t have any recommendations, don’t worry too much, you won’t be discounted by other Linkedin members for not having any.
Don’t disregard asking the charity or organisation you volunteered for a recommendation.