Look at it this way: what carries more weight to a prospective employer – your opinion about yourself (as expressed in your profile, resume, etc.), or what your past managers and customers say about you?
If you don’t have recommendations, request some (and give some, while you’re at it!).
Here are six smart ways to use LinkedIn recommendations to enhance your online presence and credibility:
1. Quote from them in your resume or cover letter.
Use very short, glowing excerpts – maybe 1-3 lines each. Insert one quote in a summary section near the top and/or another at the end of the resume. Or include a few within the experience, skills or education sections. Don’t overdo it.
2. Refer to them in interviews.
Use them to add a memorable sound bite: “You may have noticed the LinkedIn recommendation from my boss saying that I’m a miracle worker with Excel.”
Or to back up your own claim: “I really care about my clients – in fact, just last month, my client Tom Smith said those very words about me on LinkedIn.”
3. Quote a brief excerpt in your LinkedIn Summary.
This not only makes the summary more powerful, it also encourages the reader to scroll down and read the rest of that recommendation, and the others too.
“I’m honored that VP of Marketing Brenda Brown calls me ‘an endless innovator and incredibly fun to work with’ (see “Recommendations” below).”
4. Use them to “prove” your key selling points.
Let’s say the top three things you want employers to notice are (1) your track record of measurable results, (2) your advanced degree, and (3) your exceptional interpersonal skills.
Selling points (1) and (2) are verifiable facts. Point (3), however, is hard to prove to someone who has never met you. Get someone to vouch for those interpersonal skills in a recommendation.
5. Use them to counteract a possible negative in your profile.
For example, if you’re currently unemployed or have a gap in your work history, a positive recommendation from the boss can reassure prospective employers that your departure wasn’t due to poor performance.
6. Go beyond “what you did” to “how well you did it.”
It’s easy to describe your job duties, but harder to show what was special about the way you did your job. People who have worked with you can vouch for that, right there online for all to see.
7. Make sure your awesome testimonials will have plenty of chances to be seen by the right people.
Optimize your profile to be found by recruiters who are looking for an excellent candidate like you!
Used effectively, LinkedIn recommendations can be a powerful tool to enhance your credibility and get a new job.