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

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.

Give Yourself Permission To Ask For Help – I’ve Even Provided a Script.

I love my clients. They are the most amazing people. One part that I love in what I do is the moment they begin to rediscover themselves and the journey that unfolds from there. I do a little happy dance every time these moments happen and again when I receive feedback. For example, yesterday I emailed a working draft to a client. Today, I this was the beginning of his email:

“Lisa, This looks awesome! I am not sure who you are describing here but he seems pretty talented!!”

I was coaching another client today and let me tell you she is a rock star, but a very well hidden rock star. The more we discussed her history and current activities the more impressed I became. Not only that but when I would relay the things that she has and is doing into value for potential employers she started to come out of her shell a little bit to the point that we ended the call with her full of enthusiasm and excitement.

One item we talked about was the hesitancy of asking for help. She is resistant to asking for help and this is so very common across the board for almost everyone I talk to. It’s like this limiting combination of embarrassment and fear. I told her the same thing I tell anyone who will listen: in general people do want to help, but they don’t know. Another factor is people are generally pretty lazy. Not throwing stones, not making judgments just stating facts.

We live in a fast paced world where we are bombarded with obligations and deadlines that far exceed our time frame to adequately perform each. If we receive a request it may not be that we don’t want to help, just that our time is stretched to the limit so having to carve out extra time becomes too difficult and ultimately we are unable to help. If you can make it as easy as possible for the other party to provide you with assistance than you have a greater chance of your request coming to fruition.

Let me use the specific example that I used with this client: LinkedIn and recommendations. Wow, when I told her I wanted to ask for recommendations you would have thought I asked her to go feed kittens to a python. It was putting her completely out of her comfort level. Nonetheless I assigned this as part of her homework; however, as I am not completely heartless I gave her a basis for a script that she could use.

If you find that you have the same discomfort in asking for recommendations, please feel free to utilize the following:

“As you might know I am in the process of evaluating potential opportunities for the next step in my career. In working with a career coach she has assigned me the task of revamping my LinkedIn profile. To that end I am contacting you for three reasons:
1. I understand the value of recommendations and would like to provide one for you; however I want to make sure it is in line and fully supportive of your goals. Is there any certain area or aspect that you would like me to focus on for my recommendation?
2. My coach has also suggested that I reach out and ask for recommendations. If you would feel comfortable doing so, I would truly appreciate a recommendation from you. If you are not prepared do so, I would still like to offer a recommendation for you. (If you feel comfortable you can even give examples of types of things that you are looking to highlight to future employers here).
3. As I said I am exploring opportunities and I would love to get any advice, feedback or tips that you might be able to offer me. I value your opinion so even if there is an individual or company that you think I should speak to, research or might be a valuable resource I would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks again for your help. I hope things are going well for you and to talk to you soon.”

The value of this script is that you are not only asking for recommendations, you are also offering to provide value for that person as well. Remember, to receive you must give. It has also put this giving as the first point.

The second value that this offers is opening the door for any additional input that this person might be able to provide in a full range of avenues from offering a tip to prompting a potential connection. No matter what they respond any additional information is always good information.

It also is stated in such a way that it puts the blame on me. If my clients are truly uncomfortable in initially embarking on an assignment I always allow them to put the blame on me. This accomplishes two goals: they perform the task and they do not feel as bad in performing it because it is assigned by their coach.

Sometimes we have the irrational thought that someone might get mad for us asking or think we are being presumptuous; therefore, being able to blame someone else gives you the option of basically saying, “I know, I hated to ask – it was her fault, she made me do it.”

So feel free – use me as your excuse to help benefit yourself, I’m a big girl I can take it. All I ask is that you let me know how it goes. I love doing the little happy dance!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.
http://www.CareerPolish.com