Friday, March 7, 2008

LinkedIN Strategies: Recommendations

One of LinkedIN’s more powerful features for job seekers is their recommendations feature.

LinkedIN allows users to ask for recommendations from past managers, co workers, business partners and service providers. Some on LinkedIN have collected hundreds, others don’t use this at all.

As a job seeker, LinkedIN Recommendations can be a way to highlight your accomplishments and Subject Matter Expertise. Better yet, it’s done publicly, and on a website that is VERY searchable on Google & Yahoo. Still better, it’s a way to give references, that won’t get bothered by calls or emails.

But how can you maximize the value of LinkedIN’s recommendation features? Here are 5 tips:

1. Choose the message you wish your recommendation to portray. Plan strategically what each recommender will say about you.
• Tell them the points you’d like them to make (Expert in .net Project Management, Saved X% for company through this project, Developed and led marketing strategy for nonprofit that increased donations by X%)
• Do not ask for open ended recommendations – the recommender wants to help you and wants to know what you’d like them to say
• Open ended recommendations can lead to lame or unexpected results

2. Choose your recommenders carefully – The recommender’s reputation is very relevant
• Choose recommender for title, your work relationship with them, or for LinkedIN status
• You can have other people than your boss recommend you. If you deal with clients, have your favorite clients recommend you.
• Heavily LinkedIN recommenders carry some stature on LinkedIN, especially if they recommend your networking help

3. Have recommenders mention points you want to highlight
• Readers believe what others say about you, more than what you say about yourself

4. Don’t display 300 recommendations
• Choose 10 maximum, so the reader focuses on the recommendations that best sell you

5. Give before you ask
• Do the recommender a favor, connect them with someone in your network, give them a sales or recruiting lead, or send information of interest first, before asking for a recommendation

Finally, make sure to send a thank you note, thanking the recommender. Offer to recommend them in return.

LinkedIN Recommendations can be a powerful Web 2.0 tool to build your subject matter expertise and network. You might even get job leads.

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

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