Over 500 million people are members of LinkedIn and, of those members, 40% use LinkedIn daily. There’s no doubt that it’s a powerful and robust network for professionals the world over. From a B2B perspective, it’s a marketing gold mine. And for working professionals looking to network and find jobs, it’s the place to be online.
61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers, and 40 million are in decision-making positions. But how do you get the attention of these individuals and stand out from the masses? One of the best ways is by making the ask for LinkedIn recommendations.
About LinkedIn Recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations are exactly what they sound like: a statement written by another member to recognize or commend your connection. They’re endorsements that are visible to your network and invaluable for garnering new customers, enhancing your job search, and finding new people to add to your network.
Recommendations are one of the best ways to improve your digital profile and give a great first impression. After all, just as customers can be influenced to make a purchasing decision after reading reviews, a potential employer can be persuaded to interview you, give a raise, or hire you based on a recommendation.
A recommendation is one of the best ways to confirm that what your profile says about you is true. When well written, recommendations reinforce your claims. This makes you more trustworthy and can help create a deeper connection between you and your online network.
There’s just one problem, figuring out how to ask for LinkedIn recommendations.
Also read: How to Build a Diverse Network – Why You Should and How to Do It | Networking for Sucess Series
How to Ask for LinkedIn Recommendations
Asking for a LinkedIn recommendation seems simple at first. All you have to do is head to your profile, click “Ask for a recommendation” and fill out the online form. Then, voila! The ask is immediately sent over to the right person in your network along with a personalized message. If only it were that easy.
Because the best LinkedIn recommendations are so visible and valuable, you can’t afford a scattershot/winging it approach. Instead, you need a carefully thought out plan to ask for LinkedIn recommendations combined with the right strategy for getting results and putting your LinkedIn profile at the top of searches. There are a few steps you need to take.
1. Identify Your Recommender
The first step is to identify the right individuals in your network to ask for a recommendation. You want to contact people who would have a direct impact on validating your exemplary work performance. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide how to ask for LinkedIn recommendations.
- Choose someone who you’ve worked with for at least six months, unless you worked together on an intense but short project that would be highly valuable to potential employers.
- Ask for a recommendation from someone who has experience with other professionals similar to you and has benefited in a material way from your work.
- Look for recommendations within your industry or who has a network with a target audience you’d like to attract.
- Finally, only ask for LinkedIn recommendations from individuals who see you in a positive light and can write well about you.
The best LinkedIn recommendations are those that are personal, document a specific experience, and include measurable results. Just make sure you have those individuals in your LinkedIn network.
2. Communicate Efficiently
Yes, LinkedIn gives you a simplified form to fill out for a recommendation request, but the ask is a blank slate that requires your communication skills. This is the most difficult part of the equation and one that you’ll need to spend some quality time on.
First, don’t reach out through LinkedIn before you reach out through email. You’ll receive a much more positive response if you reach out to your network via email to ask if it’s okay to request a LinkedIn recommendation. This makes the request much more personal and gives you the opportunity to influence what your reference says. The reality is that most people ignore LinkedIn messages, but they pay attention to emails.
Next, you need to write out the request in such a way that you come across as authentic and the person wants to respond. Odds are that your recommender is a busy person with little time to work on a customized recommendation. This is why it’s valuable to be specific in your request to get the best LinkedIn recommendations and advance your career.
To ensure you get a customized LinkedIn recommendation, prompt the person. Mention a specific project, assignment, time, or situation where you worked together that you’d like them to highlight. Bring up results and how you collaborated. Just remember to be gentle and courteous in your prompts and careful how you phrase things. A good example is something like:
“I still think about the work we did on X project together. It’s one of my proudest achievements. Would you be willing to write a little bit about the project, how we worked together, and our results?”
3. Offer Value
Don’t expect to get something for free without offering something of value in return. This could be as simple as offer quid pro quo—an ask for LinkedIn recommendations in return for your own recommendation. Or, you could offer value via a blog post, webinar invitation, research report, or assignment. You have to give to get.
4. Send Your Request
Once you get email permission to send the recommendation, there’s nothing to it but to do it.
1. Log in to LinkedIn and scroll down your profile until you get to the Recommendations section. Click on “Ask for a recommendation.”
2. Identify the person you want to write the recommendation and fill out the role for which you want to be recommended based on your connection.
3. Write your personalized message, including references to common projects, experiences that you share.
An example of a well-written request is as follows:
I hope you are doing well. It was great talking to you the other day—I loved catching up on all the fun and crazy times we had working together. We seriously worked on some interesting projects. Remember how we stayed up all night to get project X done for a client at the last minute?
I recently ran across this blog [link] and it had me thinking of you and all the work we did. Good times.
I’m in the process of updating my LinkedIn profile, and I wanted to reach out to you to request a recommendation. The times we worked together, I felt, were some of my best work where my value and skills really shone, especially when it came to [getting these specific results from this project or client.]
In your recommendation, I would love it if you could touch on X initiative and our collaboration on Y. Just three to five sentences would be perfect.
I greatly appreciate your help and would be happy to return the favor with a recommendation for your profile as well. Hope to hear from you soon.
5. Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
Finally, don’t forget to send your thanks. Your ask for LinkedIn recommendations is big and deserves your gratitude. Don’t be afraid to go beyond email and send a thank you note via snail-mail or through an e-card. Even a small gift could be a great idea.
Now that you know how to ask for LinkedIn Recommendations correctly, don’t be afraid to go out there and start asking. The best LinkedIn recommendations can drastically improve your online brand by sharing compelling evidence of your skills and talent.