The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Why You Should Ask For and Give Recommendations on LinkedIn
If you are not familiar with LinkedIn, you ought to be. Sign up and add your resume, portfolio, and work-related information to the best of your knowledge. If you need some additional information on LinkedIn, check out How To Use LinkedIn For Business [Ebook]. LinkedIn will do your work life wonders and help businesses and recruiters discover who you are and if you are what they are looking for. LinkedIn has many features that only accent who you are in your profile. From listing your education, experience, awards, portfolio and references, any company that wants to know anything about your professional life can easily turn to your LinkedIn profile in order to learn all about a prospective new employee.
Click on this link to read about the Most Useless Feature on LinkedIn.
Lets talk about the most underrated useful feature on LinkedIn that hardly anybody wants to use because it requires more effort and focus: Recommendations. I absolutely love this feature and it is the single most useful feature aside from the actual profile on LinkedIn. It works in two ways: Write a recommendation and receive one. How could you get any more personal than that?
Writing a recommendation for anyone is a service and an honor. Whether you know the person personally or even just crossed paths with them for a while and learned about who they are, you can always say something nice about the person. Writing a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn requires some thought on how you should put that person’s actions and their personality into words. You not only help the person by giving them a recommendation, but you are helping yourself because it shows you wrote out a carefully thought message and took the time to write about them. Recruiters and companies may look at the types of recommendations you give because it shows who you are as a person, and what you have to say about people.
On the opposite end, asking for a recommendation is also very helpful. There is something great about reading the positive things people say about you. If you find your current employer or coworkers on LinkedIn, than you should connect with them and get them to write a recommendation for you as soon as possible. As a courtesy, you should always return the favor. If you find former co-workers or an employer on LinkedIn, and you left on good terms, you should also ask for a recommendation. However, if you did not leave on such good terms, than you may not want to ask for a recommendation and you may even want to no longer be connected with them. While it is nice to see you have a lot of people that you are connected to, it is not a competition for how many people you are actually connected with. If you are connecting with an old co-worker or boss, and it has been years, you may want to personally contact them or email them before asking for a recommendation. After all, people change over the years. You will want to update them on how you’re doing and casually slip in that you would be grateful if they wrote you a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Recommendations can be accepted, rejected, or even a revision can be requested. A recommendation means that you are personally recommending the person for what they do in their job. You may choose to recommend them for any job they have held. Regardless of the job they worked, if you personally know they are a good person and a hard worker, you should recommend the person if they request it. If someone requests a recommendation from you that you have not spoken to or seen in years, than you might want to ask them to call you, email you, or even catch up over lunch or dinner, so you can find out more about them. If it is a person you just added to your LinkedIn, you probably should reconsider writing them a recommendation.
Remember: As wonderful as it is to write a recommendation for someone and though it helps them, if you recommend them for being a hard worker who shows up to work everyday, yet their employer notices that they hardly ever show up, let alone actually do any work, than while it may not personally affect you, your recommendation really isn’t a good one. So be sure you actually know the person and their accomplishments before writing a recommendation. The same goes for asking someone for a recommendation: Make sure they know you. Read more on the Trustworthiness of LinkedIn profiles.
Companies and recruiters should start utilizing this underrated feature more often. It is a huge deal to have someone recommend someone else for their hard work. Most often than not, recommendations take time to write, and they should carry a lot of weight on the prospective employee that you are looking to hire. Not only should received recommendations be considered, but it is also important to see that your prospective employee is also writing good things about others as well.
Now that you know about this amazing feature known as Recommendations, you should probably get on your LinkedIn profile, and start with the people you worked with most recently, asking them to recommend you, and promising them that you will return the favor (and actually doing it). Then move on to prior jobs and co-workers, and continue. You will not only find that you will feel good about the positive things people write about you, but you will also feel good about writing positive things about other people. Take advantage of such a great opportunity!
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Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.