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How to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn



For job seekers in 2019, the importance of presenting yourself professionally online can not be underestimated. Depending on the role, your social media output can be as important to hiring managers as the contents of your CV, with one study showing that 64% of employers claiming they have viewed a job seeker’s social networking profile as part of the recruitment process.

LinkedIn recommendations are the best way to show off your professional successes
(Image via LinkedIn)

It’s important then to ensure that your professional accounts - such as your LinkedIn profile - are up to date, relevant and will help you stand out to a potential employer. And one of the most effective ways to prove your skills is to include recommendations from previous colleagues, clients and employers. 

But while LinkedIn recommendations are an excellent selling point for your experience, getting them can be a bigger challenge. Here is our advice for asking for a good recommendation:

Recommendations should carry weight - so managers, project leads and clients are all valuable people to ask
(Image via Pixabay)

Who should you ask?

A LinkedIn recommendation is a professional endorsement of your work and as such they should come from a relevant source. Recommendations from colleagues - particularly those who can specify a project you worked with them on - are beneficial, but the most effective ones come from a position of authority. Former or current managers and project leads are the best people to ask for a recommendation as their position will give their views more weight.

It’s also worth asking clients that you have performed work for if they will provide a recommendation. Not only are they often more than willing to offer a testimonial for a job well done, in most businesses it’s the client or customer’s view that’s most important. Show off their positive opinion of you to prove the value that you can bring to a new job.

Most importantly, make sure that you trust the person you’re asking to give a positive, thoughtful review. The more in-depth and descriptive a recommendation can be, the more value it will offer to the reader, so consider whether the person you’re asking is likely to go into the specifics of the good work you have performed, or if they’ll just post something vague and non-committal. 

Ask for recommendations after finishing a big project or completing a good piece of work for someone
(Image via Pixabay)

When is the best time to ask?

The most common time for people to update their LinkedIn profiles is right before they plan to leave their current job. It’s no surprise that the time you start looking for a new job is the time you start reviewing your professional social media output. 

But if you’re hoping to test the waters of a new career move without letting your current organisation know, spamming all your connections at once with recommendation requests could be a big red flag that you’re considering leaving.

Instead it’s best to periodically ask for recommendations from relevant people throughout your time in a job - particularly as you come to the end of major projects. Gathering recommendations after a task has been completed or just after a positive performance review will provide a safe context to your request, and ensure your hard work is fresh in peoples minds as they write it.

It’s also worth reaching out to former colleagues and managers after you have moved jobs - assuming you left on good terms. You may not need the recommendation now, but it’s good to secure it for the future.

Make your request personal and add context to why you're asking

How do you ask?

This is the big question - asking people to talk about how good you are can feel like an awkward request. But there is nothing wrong with asking professionally, politely and at the right time for a recommendation. And you will more than likely find that people are far more willing than you expect to help you out when you ask.

LinkedIn has a simple “ask for recommendation” function that simply allows you to put in the name of your connection and directly make the request. But that’s a bit like using a template - it can come across as slightly more businesslike and impersonal. In many cases you’re better off sending your own email in your own wording.

Remember that you are asking for their time and effort - even if you’re only asking for a couple of sentences. So acknowledge this by saying something like “I appreciate you’re very busy, but if you could please spare a couple of minutes…”

Also it helps to prompt them towards the sort of things you hope they might say. Don’t actually tell them what to write, but maybe mention in your message that you’re hoping for a recommendation after the successful completion of a recent project (for example). Give them the context so it’s already in their mind when they write it. 

Finally, always pay it forward. Acknowledge that you value the time it takes them to write a recommendation and offer to write one for them in return.

Use these tips to secure your next job

Once you have your recommendations in place and your online profile’s looking more professional and more appealing, you can start searching for your next job. Register your CV with Fircroft to find the best engineering and technical jobs for you.

Tags: Engineering
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JONATHAN EGWUCHE, 12 August 2019
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