And just to make sure we’re on the same page, when I say “LinkedIn recommendations” I’m not talking about the endorsements in the Skills section. I’m talking about the written paragraphs that show up under Recommendations near the bottom of a profile.
I’m constantly seeing LinkedIn profiles that have no Recommendations section, or one with only a couple of quotes, or recommendations only from peers but never from managers, or nothing from recent years. As a job search and interview coach, I wince. It’s such a missed opportunity!
Here are five good reasons to make sure you have LinkedIn recommendations.
1. Social proof: Everything in your profile is by you, or someone you paid to write it, so it’s biased. Recommendations, on the other hand, are more credible because they represent other people putting their own names on the line to vouch for you. This is especially important when it comes to convincing prospective employers, clients or customers that you have those crucial but hard-to-prove soft skills and qualities such as emotional intelligence.
2. Search rankings: It is highly likely that recommendations improve your profile’s search rankings. Recruiters and prospective clients or customers will see your profile higher in their search results. This means more opportunities.
3. Relationships: Having recommendations connected to all of your jobs (or at least the most recent ones) indicates that you have good professional relationships.
4. Repurposing: You can quote from them to improve your resume, cover letters, email signature, business card or website. You could even refer to a recommendation at some point during a job interview.
You can also use them in other sections of the profile, and in fact you should, because otherwise some people scroll down far enough to see that you have them. Quote from them to liven up the About section, to enhance individual job descriptions, and to encourage readers to scroll down and read them.
5. A more engaging profile. Recommendations add variety and interest to the profile. If the rest of the profile is narration, the recommendations are dialogue. A story without dialogue isn’t nearly as interesting.
Have I convinced you? Recommendations are one of the most crucial ingredients for an excellent profile.
How many LinkedIn recommendations should you have?
Let me answer with another question: in how many of your job entries do you want to look good? Probably all of them, right, or at least those in the past 5-10 years?
And whose opinion matters? Obviously your supervisor and other higher-ups are especially influential, but it also matters what your peers, clients, customers and direct reports think. So why not get some from all of these groups?
The more the merrier, basically.
How can you get recommendations?
Learn more about how to get recommendations.
When do you need to take care of this?
As with connections, the time to build up LinkedIn recommendations is well before you need them. Besides, it can take weeks to get a response to your requests. (And sometimes you never do hear back. So ask more people!) Start now and keep adding social proof to your profile throughout your career.