Week 4 in a Five-Post Series
In case you are just dropping by, this is a blog post series for beginners on how to quickly get started with the social media site LinkedIn. In Week Three of the series, I asked you to start thinking of connections to ask for recommendations.
(Here’s the first LinkedIn post, and the second in case you missed them.)
This week, your to-do list includes:
- Ask 5 people for recommendations
- Give 5 or more recommendations
- Continue to connect with people you know
Everyone is nervous about asking for LinkedIn recommendations – you aren’t alone. LinkedIn Recommendations carry a lot of SEO weight. The theory goes the more recommendations (not endorsements) you have, the more your profile shows up in search results.
Think of recommendations as testimonials. The easiest way to get a recommendation is when someone mentions they like your work. Immediately ask the person if they’d be willing to give you a testimonial and LinkedIn Recommendation. If so, tell them you’ll send them an email reminding them what they said, and providing additional information on what skills you hope they might include.
When asking LinkedIn connections for recommendations, only ask people you have worked with for a while, and that you feel will do so willingly and freely. That may sound odd, but just like the people who ask you to connect that you really don’t know, getting a weak recommendation isn’t going to do you any good.
Ask managers and one or two colleagues at each place you’ve worked. Don’t overload your recommendations only with colleagues because if these are your only recommendations, they won’t carry as much weight.
Make sure to delete the generic, automatic wording when requesting a recommendation, and write a personal note instead.
Give Recommendations; But Don’t Give to Get
Another good way to get recommendations is to give them – but don’t expect one in return. Some people discount recommendations when they see one on your site from the person you also recommended. But I don’t.
If you genuinely recommend someone you enjoyed working with, they may feel the same way and reciprocate. That doesn’t mean you two got together and collaborated to earn more recommendations – although apparently, this is what some people have done.
Tips for recommending someone on LinkedIn:
- Take a good look at their profile to see what words and keywords they are using.
- Read the recommendations they already have to see where you can add value.
- If you know this person well, send them an email telling them you are giving them a recommendation and ask what skills they may want you to mention.
- Think about what you would say about this person if someone called to ask for a reference. Jot down these thoughts.
- Begin a recommendation with the best thing you want to say.
- Tell a short story or provide facts to back up what you say.
- Provide lots of value, but be brief.
Once in a while, you may get a request for recommendation from someone you either don’t feel comfortable recommending or just don’t know.
Here’s how Chris Brogan words those rejections of a recommendation:
I’m honored you asked for a recommendation. Thanks for thinking of me. Because I haven’t worked enough with you professionally, I fear my recommendation wouldn’t be useful. I simply can’t vouch for your work experience beyond our casual interactions online. Best of luck in getting some stellar recommendations.
How many LinkedIn Recommendations are enough? I don’t think there are any rules of thumb. Five is a good number, 10 is probably better if you are an independent contractor who works on a lot of projects and has skills working with small, medium and enterprise customers and who has many services to offer.
I’ll admit that my LinkedIn Recommendations have all come from people who have decided to recommend me due to the work I’ve done. I’ve only asked one person for a recommendation, and while she wrote a glowing one, it never came to my inbox. And I’m still hoping she’ll write one for me, but she’s an awfully busy woman.
Do you have any tips about making LinkedIn Recommendations? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.