5 Steps for LinkedIn Recommendations That Work for You

super linkedinRecommendations: one of the most underutilized and greatest assets in your LinkedIn profile. Here is a section in which potential clients and employers can read rave reviews about you – if it is done correctly.

Recommendations are like little neon signs saying “I’m amazing! Hire Me!!!”  Light those suckers up in five simple steps.

Step 1 – Get Over the Hesitation

You may feel that asking for recommendations feels awkward, as though you are bragging in asking people to say nice things about you.

Get over it.

They can always ignore your request so there is no harm in asking.

The feature is on there for a reason. This is all about business and in business you utilize the tools that are offered and effective.

Step 2 – Know What You are Selling

You cannot sell a product if you do not know what you are selling. You are the product. What are your strengths, value and traits that you want your audience to know about you? This does not need to be a long, drawn out list. Know your strongest or key aspects of what you bring to the table and your deliverables.

In other words, know why people want to hire you.

Step 3 – Customize the Script

LinkedIn provides a template for asking for a recommendation: “I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include on my LinkedIn profile”

Please do not use that. It makes it much more difficult for others to respond. This request is too broad. In order for people to take valuable time out of their day to respond, you need to make it as easy as possible for them.

This is when customizing it sets the parameters, steers them to highlighting your selling points while giving them space to write it themselves.

Customizing is in two parts: highlighting your selling points and putting it in a frame of reference for them.

If you are job searching you could state: “I am in the process of searching for my next opportunity. I am looking to remain in the FGH industry where I can really utilize my abilities in A, B, and C in the role of LMN or QRS. As you and I had worked together at XYZ Company and you are familiar with my abilities in A, B and C, I am writing to ask if you could write a recommendation for me about these traits. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Thank you in advance for your assistance, I appreciate your time in writing a recommendation.”

This may be a bit wordy for you – tweak it to your comfort level.

This request works for you in several ways:

  • You let them know you are looking for a job (in case they did not know or forgot).
  • You spelled out what you are looking for so that they now have those key words in mind they can immediately associate with you when they hear them.
  • Highlighting those selling points gives them specific items to comment on, making it easier for them to craft a response and in turn will re-emphasize these qualities you previously stated in your summary.
  • It demonstrates to the recipient that you took the time to write a personal request, not simply click and send to a multitude of people.
  • You showed appreciation for their time, instead of leaving it empty and possibly the assumption that they have the time to do so and will just because you asked.

In building a business, the recommendation request could read: “I wanted to take a moment to thank you again for allowing me to provide XYZ service to you. I truly enjoyed working with you and was glad that you were satisfied with my services. As you know, I pride myself in ABC, EFG and JKL and am writing to you today to ask if you would mind taking a moment to write a recommendation about my work, your experience or how you feel I delivered on these qualities. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Thank you in advance for your assistance, I appreciate your time in writing a recommendation.”

Again, if this is too wordy, tweak it to fit your needs. It accomplishes the same points as the job seeker – targeting your selling points, providing an easy framework to respond and showing appreciation.

Step 4 – Don’t Know, Don’t Ask

Recommendations are wonderful, as long as they are relevant. Asking someone that cannot speak to your qualities is disrespectful to them. If they write a recommendation for you they are putting their name on it, it represents them. They do not want to tarnish their name or reputation by fluffing a recommendation for someone they do not know. You both lose credibility.

Step 5 – Reciprocate

Are you able to write a recommendation for those that you have sent a request to? Look in your contacts and see who you could write a recommendation for, even if they have not asked.

Give and take, it is the flow of business.

What recommendations do you have that have proven to be effective in asking for or writing recommendations?


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I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.


Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at colleges, professional organizations and companies around the US speaking to leadership, sales and athletic teams; transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

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