Will asking for a recommendation make colleagues think you’re planning to jump ship? It depends on the timing. When should you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation from your colleagues, internal/external customers, and maybe even your current manager?
LinkedIn recommendations can do wonders for your online presence, and you can even use them to supercharge your resume. The main way to get recommendations is to ask for them. (Another way is to give recommendations to others. Here, as in many other areas of life, giving often leads to receiving.)
In a past post I suggested asking for recommendations when you’re starting a new job. A transitional moment like this is a natural time to update your profile. Ask for recommendations from your past managers, colleagues, internal and external customers–anyone who is well acquainted with your work and will have good things to say.
What about getting recommendations from people at your current job? This can be risky, but there are certain milestone points when it may make sense to request recommendations from co-workers, such as:
- When you’ve just achieved a “win,” such as successfully completing a major project, landing a new account, or solving a huge problem in a way that benefited the whole group.
- When you’ve been recognized with an award or promotion, or have received a highly positive evaluation.
- When you’ve been encouraged to create or improve your LinkedIn profile in order to make a good impression on clients or other stakeholders.
Although a recommendation from your manager is the most powerful kind, your boss may be uncomfortable with sticking their neck out while you’re still an employee. They may be concerned about an appearance of favoritism, for example. Unless you have a strong sense that they wouldn’t mind, you may want to request recommendations from co-workers instead. Someday, after you’ve left the company, you can circle back to your former boss.
There are times when everyone in the company is likely to be updating their resume and thinking about LinkedIn. If your company is about to merge or become acquired by another company, who could blame you for wanting to be “ready for anything”? At such a time, even your manager may be glad to recommend you.
Remember, each person’s situation is unique. As with any career advice you read online or in books, use your own judgment to determine whether this makes sense for you. But by now it’s broadly understood that LinkedIn is an important career tool, and recommendations are an important part of the platform. Don’t miss the opportunity to offer social proof of your professional worth.
When should you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation? You can do it at one of the times mentioned above, or at another time that feels right to you–but be sure and do it!