When you go to LinkedIn to check out someone’s profile, do you scroll down the page and check to see how many recommendations they have? I usually do.
That’s a pretty good barometer of the quality of someone’s work and, in some cases, the depth of their expertise.
One of your goals on LinkedIn should be to accumulate as many recommendations as possible. But don’t fall into the trap of pestering people to write nice things about you, particularly if they’re not familiar with your work. Instead, do it the smart way.
Here are three of my favorite ways to collect recommendations.
Give to get
Scott Allen, who has more than 60 recommendations on LinkedIn, passed along this great tip when I interviewed him for the teleseminar on How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Anything—Ethically and Powerfully:
Make it a habit to write recommendations for others. Use your calendar to remind yourself to write one a week. Don’t mass-produce them, however, or LinkedIn may send you a warning and tell you to stop.
When you recommend someone, LinkedIn will notify that person that you’ve done so, and ask them if they want to reciprocate. In other words, if you recommend 10 people over a few months, LinkedIn will remind 10 people that they can recommend you.
A great source of recommendations: former co-workers. They may be gone, but the good ones aren’t forgotten. Make a list of impressive people you’ve worked with and use the search box at the top of the screen to see if they’re on LinkedIn. Write a recommendation. I bet they’ll be surprised. And I’ll bet one or more of them recommends you, too.
Listen for compliments
Pay attention to compliments you receive—in phone calls, emails, correspondence, and in person. When you hear one, thank the person giving it, and then say something like, “That’s so kind of you. Coming from you, that really means a lot. I’d be so grateful if you would go to my LinkedIn profile and write what you just told me.”
Don’t by shy about asking people for recommendations. But make absolutely sure the person you’re asking is very familiar with your work, or with you.
You can use the LinkedIn feature that sends a canned invitation to someone whose recommendation you want. But I’d use this only if you know the person well. Here’s the invitation I got today form Christine Buffaloe of Serenity Virtual Assistant Services, my VA:
Or, suggest another aspect of your relationship with them that you can refer to, other than their job performance. If you serve together on your church’s capital improvements committee, for example, you can mention the valuable contribution your friend makes to that group. But don’t fall into the trap of commenting on his career as a chemical engineer if you know little about it.
The very best way to accumulate recommendations in the long-term is to produce top-quality work on a consistent basis.
What have you done to encourage people to recommend you? What tactics have worked best?