While potential clients, employers and recruiters browse your details on LinkedIn, recommendations from previous clients, employers and colleagues can be one of the most authentic and influential ways of communicating your value.
LinkedIn recommendations are perhaps the most powerful tool on your profile if utilized correctly. They’re especially effective in giving the viewer someone else’s view of who you are, what you do, and the value you can offer. Think about how helpful it is when you’re shopping online to read reviews from other people who’ve used the product, it’s exactly the same on LinkedIn. In this article will give you tips for gathering recommendations and optimizing their content.
All wise people know that in life you’ve got to ‘give’ before you ‘get’, and the same applies to LinkedIn recommendations. A good method for getting recommendations is to pick a few contacts each week that you know personally and feel comfortable enough to recommend, and go ahead and write one for them. When people accept your recommendation, LinkedIn will suggest that the write one for you. While not everyone will reciprocate, a percentage will. By doing this consistently you’ll receive an ongoing stream of recommendations from your contacts (not to mention a lot of good will).
In addition, you can always solicit recommendations by simply asking for them. It might seem obvious, but ensure you know a person well before you ask for the recommendation. This serves two purposes, firstly it will help make sure the piece is in depth and authentic, secondly it will help avoid awkward situations where the person says no.
Setting a base for the recommendation
It can helpful to provide a bit of an outline on what you’re seeking in a recommendation from someone, so don’t be afraid to explain to the person making the recommendation which parts of your expertise and relationship with them that you’re hoping to have emphasized. Don’t try to put words in their mouth, but gently point out what you’re trying to achieve. Doing this is much better than leaving things to chance and crossing your fingers that they write what you want them to.
Giving the recommender some outline on how long the piece should be can be helpful as well. Online attention spans are chronically short, hence a novel like piece can be counter productive. One or two paragraphs would be the most you’d want to include, as it provides enough room to push a couple of your key strengths.
Don’t turn your LinkedIn profile into an infomercial
While it might seem like a good idea to have hundreds of recommendations on your profile, it may have a negative effect on the influence of the individual pieces. For example, if you have 3 recommendations which are particularly influential but they’re nestled among a hundred other ones, then viewers may not get to see them. While there’s no set formula for how many you should have, a rough guide is no more than 3 per job, and under a total of 10.
Adding recommendations to your LinkedIn profile ads a very strong marketing weapon to your arsenal. If you’re going to make the effort to use recommendations, be sure people can find them by listing a link to your LinkedIn profile on promotional materials such as business cards, your website, email signature etc.
Do you find LinkedIn recommendations influential?