LinkedIn recommendations are like the Yelp reviews of individuals. If you are a business professional, a LinkedIn recommendation is an important aspect of marketing yourself. Employers consult LinkedIn to determine if someone is going to be a good fit in an organization. So, how do you go about receiving influential and effective recommendations?  Some may come organically, but just like with a business, not everyone is going to leave a review. If you’ve had a great experience you want to showcase, or if there is someone who has really seen you excel at a certain task, take the time to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation.

You can obviously ask anyone you are connected with on LinkedIn to leave you a recommendation. But should you? I would say no. Choose people carefully to ask for recommendations from. Be thoughtful about it.  You want powerful and influential recommendations that are going to leave an impact on the reader.  You want someone who is going to be able to effectively highlight your strengths and skills. So choose individuals who know your work very well and who can genuinely vouch for you.

Before asking for recommendations, you should also remember not to ask a ton of people at once. Less personal, mass requests will not get a great response. Also, prospective employers are going to see if all of your recommendations were given in the same two day span. It doesn’t look authentic or organic. You want your recommendations to grow fluidly over time. Ask two or three people every so often.

You should also keep in mind that most people have a “what’s in it for me?” mentality. Be careful and specific about the way that you ask for the recommendation or people may skip leaving one altogether. Be personal. Have a conversation with a person or send them a message that reads in the same way. Catch up with them; ask about life or a specific project and so on. Would you call up someone you haven’t interacted with in five years and ask them for a favor? Hopefully not.  When you do get the conversation going, make sure to include exactly what you’re looking for. Writing a recommendation for you may be an inconvenience –especially if they’re not sure exactly what to write about.  You can say something along the lines of, “I wanted to ask if you’d be willing to write a recommendation for me that highlights my skills of X, like when we worked on Y. I’d like to demonstrate that I can do Z.”

This type of a message gives people focus and helps you showcase specific skills. Remember to be gracious and remind them how thankful and appreciative you are of their time and effort. Also, remember the “what’s in it for me” aspect. ALWAYS offer to reciprocate and write a great recommendation for them. You can even consider leading by writing a recommendation before you ask for the favor.  The key is to make sure that they feel valued. They are doing you a great service in helping you to market yourself.

What have your experiences been in asking others to write recommendations for you on LinkedIn? How valuable do you think these recommendations are? Is there a wrong way to ask? What is the best way? Comment below!