LinkedIn is a staple in many of our digital diets and it is increasingly a method for employers to check out applicants and source talent. However, you may struggle to navigate your way around the social media site as it is a professional network rather than a social one.
Having a LinkedIn profile full of recommendations and endorsements is going to bolster the impression you make on potential employers, so how exactly do you go about getting them? We asked Luke Cunliffe, professional networking coach and trainer, for his advice.
Give them to others first. Reciprocity is a great way to elicit recommendations. Ask them what they’d like to focus on in the recommendation you give and include those things.
When you write one, be sincere in what you think. Ask people you know very well if they’ll write you one – tell them what you’d most like them to focus on. It helps if you include phrases you think would be good.
Ask them only once, unless they ask you to remind them. If they don’t write one after you’ve asked then leave it, otherwise they’ll feel ‘obligated,’ which isn’t how you want people to feel.
Ask people to cover 3-4 main points about what you're like to work with: professionalism, likeability, expertise, etc. Most people don’t like writing recommendations purely because they don’t know how.
Give them a reason you want a recommendation from them, e.g. they have worked with you recently and have a relevant, current opinion on what you're like to work with. I use Linkedin recommendations as part of my marketing and sometimes suggest prospective clients read through the recommendations so they can see what other clients and colleagues think of me.
As I see it, endorsements are exactly that. You say you do this thing, I know you do this thing, so I will endorse only that you do it. That doesn’t mean I know if you’re any good at it, just that I know you do it. If 50 people endorse me as a trainer then there’s a fairly good chance I am a trainer. If only one endorses me for aerobatics then maybe I don’t do that at all or I’m not very well known for it.
If someone randomly endorses you, if you feel like returning the favour then, yes do it. There is no obligation of course, but it’s helpful if you want more Linkedin endorsements.
I don’t think you should ask for endorsements. But, as I mentioned before, ask for LinkedIn recommendations, and by all means and offer one in return.
If someone randomly views your profile, I wouldn't necessarily message them. If I think they look interesting I might send them a message or invite them to connect, but I rarely do that.
For more advice on Networking, check out our Networking Blogs or check out our training courses from Luke Cunliffe.