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The question of how to get recommendations on LinkedIn comes up a lot in my individual and corporate training sessions. Here my advice: Take a look at who you are connected to and pick out those you’ve enjoyed working with either as a volunteer or on the job. Then it’s easy write a sincere review of your working relationship (and it really comes through in the writing). Hopefully, that person feels the same about you, and they will return the favor. That’s not the main reason you should be writing recommendations and it feels good to sing someone’s praises without being asked.

Not sure how to technically give a recommendation? Here’s the how-to.

Should I ask for recommendations?

You can ask absolutely ask people for recommendations, if you like, but I like this approach better because you are giving to get. It doesn’t pay off 100% of the time but it’s awkward for everyone involved if you ask and they don’t provide.

how to get linkedin recommendations welcome to linkedin signA woman I know well socially asked me to write one for her and I had to respond that I would be happy to once we’ve worked together on a project. Knowing someone from networking isn’t enough and I won’t put my name on the line if I have no reference to a person’s working style.

I’m on a committee with a man that’s the least dependable person I’ve ever met. He’s bailed on every project he’s been assigned, he whines about everything, interrupts people constantly, and is always “busy” when it comes to pitching in. He has asked me repeatedly for a recommendation and I simply cannot. At some point he’s going to ask me why I haven’t and I’ll have the opportunity to be honest with him. You’d think he’d figure it out after half a dozen requests but he hasn’t.

How Many Should You Have?

I’ve heard the rule of thumb to have one per position. More for the most recent and less for those positions that are long long ago. It’s going to be hard to get them for very old positions and easier for those most recent.

Don’t forget to think of the volunteer work you’ve done, the committees you’ve contributed to. These are fantastic wells of opportunity to pull from.

Giving is Easy

dont just take give pink neon lettersThe beauty of being proactive in giving recommendations without being asked is that you have some control  over the process. Look through your positions and think of your relationships. Remember projects you’ve worked on and tune into those great experiences. Who made it fun? Who was a pleasure to work with? Make sure you’re connected and go write one for them. They’ll be so happy you did so and are very likely to write one in return. Do this once a year or so and you’re good.

Giving recommendations without being asked is the best approach IMHO because it creates goodwill and better relationships with your network.

Don’t love your LinkedIn presence? Let’s work on it together!


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