I've found Linked In to be a remarkably effective tool to promote myself and my business in the job market, keep in touch with professional colleagues, and research potential employers. It's also becoming a must-have tool for recruiters.
I only have one beef about Linked In, and not with the site itself, but the way people are using it to request recommendations. I am fine with giving recommendations, and I do it all the time. But lately, I've noticed I've been getting a lot more requests for recommendations that are not being reciprocated. I find those invites to be a very cold and impersonal way to ask for a recommendation.
If you are looking for a recommendation from someone, they have worked with you before in some capacity. That means you must have a reasonable hope that they'll give you a good recommendation, or otherwise you wouldn't be asking. Here are a few ideas to get the recommendation you are hoping for:
- Recommend THEM first. This is the ultimate way to network on LinkedIn. Think about it, if you care about that person enough to ASK for a recommendation, then you should care enough about them to GIVE a recommendation first. It builds trust and shows them you are willing to make the recommendation you're asking for worth their time.
- Send an email or make a phone call to ask for the reciprocal recommendation. Sending a LinkedIn recommendation request without an accompanying message is a bit rude. LinkedIn is just a tool, the real value is in the relationship you have with that person.
- Be specific. There have been times when I've had to be reminded of projects I've worked on with a person. Also, the person may want me to specifically mention skill sets in their recommendation that I wouldn't have otherwise thought of myself. So, if I would like my friend to mention that I brought connections and credibility to a project, I would specifically tell them that.
Ultimately, LinkedIn is an extremely useful tool for professionals, and recommendations are a great way to build an online resume for potential employers to peruse. Just make sure you're not the person always asking for, but never giving, recommendations.
What's your take on LinkedIn recommendations? Do you find them to be useful?