People rarely provide written recommendations when they apply for jobs these days, so why bother getting recommendations on LinkedIn?
First of all, your LinkedIn profile will not be complete until you have at least three recommendations.
Getting to the All Star level on your profile is a huge accomplishment and adds a lot of credibility to your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn Profile Verification
The second reason you want LinkedIn recommendations is because the recommendations are the only way you can verify your LinkedIn profile and accomplishments.
You enter your LinkedIn profile information, including your education, work history, and accomplishments. There is no way for others to verify this information by reading your profile.
When people recommend you on LinkedIn, it’s a written testimonial of your work history, education, or accomplishments. It’s very important to have that third-party verification of your LinkedIn profile, especially if you are a consultant or independent service provider.
LinkedIn Search Ranking
Did you know the keywords in your LinkedIn recommendations show up in search results and help your LinkedIn search ranking? Many factors determine your search ranking on LinkedIn and every little bit helps.
Higher Rank In Searches
While we are on the subject of LinkedIn search rankings, did you know the more recommendations you have, the higher you can rank in LinkedIn searches?
If your recommendations contain the same keywords you want to rank for, your search ranking should rise as your recommendations increase.
You don’t want to get recommendations full of your keywords just to increase your search ranking. Be genuine and nurture good recommendations, and your search results will take care of themselves.
Recommendations Expected By Customers
If you are a small business, consultant, or service provider, your potential customers expect to see recommendations in your profile. Recommendations and your complete LinkedIn profile, are the way they judge you, to determine the quality of your work and your expertise, before they’ll hire you or trust your product.
How Many Should I Have?
There is no right or wrong answer for this question. I see some LinkedIn profiles with a few excellent recommendations that go a long way highlighting the expertise of a person.
I see other profiles with page after page of recommendations, but they don’t convince me that this person is an A-lister who is worthy of being part of my professional network or someone I would hire. The recommendations seem hollow and they’re not convincing.
How Many Are Right For You?
I would recommend at least one recommendation for every year you work at a job.
If you’ve been at your current company for five years, I think you should have at least five recommendations for that company.
I have no scientific proof that you should have one recommendation per year of work, but don’t you think you have at least one great accomplishment at work every year?
When you accomplish something great at work, you need to have someone who benefited from that accomplishment write you a recommendation.
When you benefit from someone else’s accomplishment, write that person a LinkedIn recommendation and don’t wait for them to ask you. Just do it!
What Makes A Recommendation Great?
People want to read relevant recommendations that are clear, concise, and add value to their assessment of a person’s professional skills and capabilities.
Recommendations are a form of social proof that expresses your personal and/or professional opinion of the person you are recommending.
Personalized And Detailed
Recommendations should go beyond letting people know you are a whiz at Excel or a social media aficionado.
Every recommendation should be personalized and detailed, as to why you think this person is worthy of your recommendation.
When you recommend a person, it impacts your reputation as much as it does their reputation.
If you create a bunch of meaningless recommendations for people who are not worthy of your recommendation, it will negatively affect you and your reputation.
An Example Of The Impact A Recommendation Can Have
Say your friend Joe calls you up one day, asking if you know a good plumber who can quickly fix a leaking pipe.
The last time you hired a plumber, he didn’t do a very good job for you, but he’s the only plumber you know.
You give Joe the plumber’s name and the plumber goes out to Joe’s house to fix the leaking pipe.
Instead of stopping the leak, the plumber breaks the pipe, causing a huge flood at Joe’s house.
Joe is furious at the plumber and he wonders why you recommended this inadequate person. Your reputation has taken a huge hit with Joe and it could end your friendship.
Your Reputation Is At Stake
Recommending people on a professional level is no different.
If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable recommending someone, then you shouldn’t write a recommendation.
Remember, your reputation is at stake here, too. If one of your connections hires someone based on your written recommendation and it doesn’t turn out well, then your connection is going to lose faith in you and your credibility suffers.
Carefully Craft Your Recommendations
You need to carefully craft your recommendations so you are always telling the truth and not exaggerating. If they are the “best of the best” in their field, you can say that.
If they are not the best, then you shouldn’t “highly recommend” them.
You can phrase your recommendation in a different way, so you are not stretching the truth but you are highlighting their strengths and giving them a positive recommendation.
We’ll discuss exactly how to make and ask for recommendations next!