October 6, 2014

How And When To Ask For A LinkedIn Recommendation

When you feel like you need a recommendation or reference immediately, whether it be a new job or business opportunity, it is often too late. In my opinion, asking for a recommendation is very much a science, both in timing and method. Recommendations are the lifeblood of business today. If you are not able to connect deeply with others and demonstrate that, it can be difficult to reach your goals. I’ll give you a few tips for receiving recommendations on LinkedIn.

Who Should I Get A Recommendation From?

You should solicit feedback from people you work with regularly—it could be fellow employees, clients, or supervisors. It should not be someone you’ve just met or that you barely worked with. If you do not feel comfortable reciprocating (not that you necessarily need to) then my advice is to avoid that person.

When Should You Ask For A Recommendation?

The answer is: not immediately upon meeting someone. It shouldn’t be the moment you need it either. My suggestion is to regularly solicit feedback and recommendations from people you are working with. Spreading them out over time especially for LinkedIn builds credibility. If you ask for them all at one time, it can lead to people drawing conclusions including that you are currently searching for a job. In fact, prior to asking for recommendations, I suggest you give your LinkedIn settings a review.

What Should Be Included?

It is a recommendation that you are hoping will help land you a job or new business, so it is important to carefully select someone that will speak highly of you. However, I’d select someone that you know is going to be able to give specifics about the job you do, rather than someone who will describe you as “hardworking.” While you can’t control exactly what someone is going to write, you can lead them to share things of value.

How Should You Ask?

Politely, personally, and specifically. I’d suggest sending a separate email asking for their help rather than the form letter LinkedIn prompt. Explain your intentions clearly and concisely. If you want something particular included, remind them of a project. If you are an Account Manager looking to move into a Project Manager role, you might want to include something like this:

I’m looking to move into a role more focused in project management rather than account service. I would really appreciate it if you could write me a recommendation that speaks to my ability to manage timelines like in the year-end report from last year.

Why Does This Matter

This is easy. We all know we want to do business with people we know or that we trust because of a recommendation. This is a public way to display what others say about you and really makes a difference in the way people view your work and experience.

Tags: Best Practices, LinkedIn, Strategy

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