Giving a LinkedIn recommendation is a great way to build relationship with a first-degree connection whose work you sincerely admire. It can also lead to receiving a recommendation in return, although reciprocity is not required and should not necessarily be expected.
Recommendations can not only boost your profile’s search rankings and help recruiters find you. You can also use these kudos to greatly enhance your resume.
To get recommendations, ask for them!
Your contacts may think very highly of your work, but may not be in the habit of giving recommendations. It may never have occurred to them.
The most important recommendations are generally from your direct supervisors and those above them. Internal and external customers are also very important. Once you have recommendations from these groups, recommendations from peers and direct reports will round out the impression.
How can you ask for LinkedIn recommendations without arousing suspicion at work?
It’s a matter of timing. If your job search is under the radar, try making your request immediately after completing a visibly successful project, getting a positive performance review or receiving some other recognition or milestone. Your manager and co-workers may link your request with that milestone rather than with job search.
If your company is going through structural changes that could conceivably result in layoffs, you might try overhauling your entire profile, and then requesting recommendations in conjunction with that – perhaps after giving some – “because it’s a just smart to keep our online presence up to date, isn’t it?”
Use your own judgment in considering these suggestions. You know your workplace and its people.
To Give a LinkedIn Recommendation:
- Go to the person’s profile.
- Click the “More” button to the right of their photo.
- Select Recommend and follow the step-by-step process.
To Request a LinkedIn Recommendation for Yourself:
- Consider contacting the person outside of LinkedIn first – via phone, email, etc. – to mention that you’ll be requesting a LinkedIn recommendation. This can give your request a more personalized feel and may increase the likelihood of a good response.
- In LinkedIn, go to the your contact’s profile, click the “More” button to the right of their profile photo, and select “Request a recommendation.”
- Select the appropriate relationship and position from the drop-down menus.
- Write a personalized message.
- Be gracious; you are asking for a favor. At the same time, it may be a good idea to suggest specific aspects of your work you would like the person to comment on, or provide insights on why you are requesting a recommendation at this time.
- Pasting in something you have drafted “as a starting point” can be a big help for busy contacts, and greatly increases your chances of getting the recommendation. Not sure how to write it? This post from The Muse may help.
- Click Send.
Be patient. Recommendation requests don’t seem as urgent as other emails, so it may be several weeks before you get a response; or the recipient may not respond at all.
If you receive a recommendation you’re hesitant to use, you can either choose not to make it visible (e.g., if it consists of “faint praise”), or send it back to the person suggesting a small revision (“Can you mention the XYZ project?”) or with spelling errors corrected (“I just fixed a little typo – can you copy and paste this in?”). In the latter case, realize that you’re doing your contact a favor by helping them look good.
If you do receive a recommendation – even if you never post it – be appreciative! A handwritten thank-you note or card is a nice touch.
For an example of a LinkedIn profile with recommendations, here’s mine. (This post was last updated in June 2022.)