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5 Tips for Getting Great Recommendations for Your LinkedIn Profile

I’m working with a client who started his own firm recently.  He’s made great progress in the niche he’s carved out for his business and has even won some awards already, but due to the demands of launching a start-up he hasn’t had time to update his LinkedIn profile. I strongly suggested that we shore this up for him ASAP, however, because any opportunities for RFPs and contracts will certainly have potential customers checking out his profile.

Now that his profile content has been updated we’re focusing on getting additional LinkedIn recommendations for him. Here are the 5 tips I shared with him to streamline the process:

  1. Try to get at least one recommendation for every position you’ve included in your LI profile. People like to get a more complete “picture” of who you are and what it’s like to work with (or for) you.
  2. Don’t limit yourself to requesting endorsements just from your prior bosses/supervisors/management team. You can also get great recommendations from former colleagues, project or team members, as well as people who reported to you. That wide array of comments will paint a more complete picture of your experience, your interpersonal skills, and your credibility.
  3. Also be sure to reach out to people you’ve “worked” with on a volunteer basis, as well as fellow members of charitable organizations, PTAs, Little League–any organization where you’ve been actively building good relationships. This approach adds another dimension to your personality, and also provides insights about your interests and passions.
  4. When you request a recommendation, give the person specific guidance so you’ll get an endorsement that adds value to your profile. For example, if you want John D. to comment about working with you 8 years ago, suggest that you’d appreciate his insight about your leadership skills  and your ability to get results based on the team that you built and the 28% cost reduction you achieved in 9 months. You’ll save John time trying to remember the details of your prior working relationship and figuring out what to write. And it’s less likely you’ll have to go back and ask him to “tweak” his recommendation before you activate it on your LI profile–thereby avoiding a potentially awkward situation.
  5. Whether you’re searching for a job or pitching new business, keep your best references in your hip pocket—DON’T post them on your LI profile. Why? Because potential employers or clients are less likely to call for a reference specific to the major oppty you’re pursuing if they can easily find a recommendation for you from the same person on your LI profile. Encouraging them instead to call your key references opens the door for a more targeted and expanded discussion about how valuable you would be to that organization or client.

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