How to Request LinkedIn Recommendations

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When you apply for a job on LinkedIn, you may notice the post says "Applicants with recommendations are preferred." Recommendations are comments from other Linkedin members. They describe what it’s like to work with you and recognize and commend you for work done. They appear alongside the positions they relate to on your profile, and hiring managers view them as they would a job reference.

So how do you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation?

Here are eight tips for getting good recommendations that show recruiters and prospective employers that it is well worth considering you for a position:

Use the LinkedIn Recommendations Tool

Access the recommendations tool from your profile page. The first way is from the drop-down menu next to your profile picture. Select the “ask to be recommended” option. This takes you to a page where you manage the recommendations you give and receive. You can also access the tool through the “Privacy and Settings” option under your photo in the top right corner of your page.

You’ll be prompted for the position you want to be recommended for and who you want the recommendation from. Choose up to 3 people at a time. There’s no limit to the number of recommendations a user can ask for in total.

Send Personalized Messages

LinkedIn auto-fills a generic message to send with your request. Personalize the message for a better response.

It won’t seem as if you're spamming all your contacts in the hopes of a few good reviews. A personalized message shows you respect the contact’s opinion, so you specifically chose them.

Even better, first send your contact an email outside the platform to check if it’s okay to request a recommendation through the service.

You’ll increase the chances that your message is read -- many busy people ignore notifications they receive from the site. In the email, tactfully suggest points you want to be included in the recommendation.

Write a Recommendation for Someone First

If you're shy to approach a connection, take the initiative and write a recommendation for your contact without being asked. That’s an incentive for your connection to write one for you to return the favor. Most people are nice enough to reciprocate.

Contact People You Know Well

Receive the best recommendations from the right people. Connections without a close working relationship with you can’t offer concrete, honest feedback. The recommendation you receive from them may be generic and insincere. Who are ideal contacts to approach for recommendations?

  • You’ve worked closely with them
  • They’ve seen your skills and expertise in action.
  • They are comfortable recommending you. That's why an email to potential referees beforehand helps to determine their reaction.
  • The contacts are from different areas of your professional life and can speak about a variety of your strengths.

Remember, their words appear on your profile, so they must be accurate about your strengths.

Word Your Request Politely

When you ask for a recommendation, make it clear that the recipient isn’t under any obligation. Use words like "if it's not too much trouble," or "when you have a chance." This communicates you respect their time, and you recognize they are doing you a favor.

Specify the Job Posting

If the recommendation is for a specific position, direct the person to the job ad to offer them context for the recommendation. It’s another way to suggest the tone of their comments. Briefly, tell them why you’re excited about the position or why you’re the right fit for the job. Your enthusiasm will motivate them to write a strong reference.

Provide Content Suggestions

Most times, people are eager to write comments, but no one wants to jeopardize someone else’s opportunities. Your connections will appreciate guidance.

For example, list the skills and attributes they could write about. You don't have to feed your contacts every word to say. Tell the person your successes and they’ll vouch for them. Did you work on a lucrative contract together? You could word your request:

“If it’s not too much trouble, could you provide some comments on my performance during the XYZ contract that finished ahead of time and under budget?”

Thank Your Contact

Don’t forget to thank the person for their comments. They’ll have taken time out of a busy schedule to fulfill your request. If you’ve approached someone you know is a go-to person for references and recommendations, a handwritten note or small gift may be appropriate. And if you haven't done so already, write a recommendation in return.

Conclusion

Recommendations on LinkedIn are like regular reference letters hirers request before hiring you. A good reference can be a deciding factor. LinkedIn references are the same. When recruiters visit your profile, they are interested to know what others think of you and your abilities. Organize your profile and get relevant recommendations to inspire employer confidence in your skills.