When was the last time you asked a colleague, supervisor, direct report, vendor, or other professional acquaintance for a recommendation on LinkedIn? If you answered, “the last time I was in job search,” you’d be among the majority of my clients.
Unfortunately, most folks take for granted the need for a fresh LinkedIn profile, including their recommendations, until they find themselves looking for a job.
If you fall into this camp, you’re making it obvious you haven’t been maintaining your LinkedIn profile. Know how I know? Because the date appears on a recommendation when you publish it. That means if you suddenly have a flurry of new recommendations show up on your profile right around the time you’re applying for jobs, it’s apparent you haven’t been keeping up with your professional brand management.
To some recruiters and hiring managers, this could be a red flag. It may not prevent you from getting the interview, but it may increase the interviewer’s scrutiny on the reason for your job search.
Proactive brand management includes asking for recommendations before you find yourself looking for your next job. What trips up many professionals, however, is not only asking for the recommendation, but the fear of not receiving one from a particularly influential acquaintance.
Here’s how to ask for a recommendation, and make it easy for the recommender to say yes, but also to write a killer review!
Send them a personal email first¸ asking if they’d be willing to write you a recommendation you can include on your LinkedIn profile. Include language assuring them you will make it easy for them to write one. Mention you’ll be sending a request through LinkedIn with a few questions to consider to get their creative juices flowing.
Create and send a list of between 3 and 5 questions you’d like them to consider/answer when writing the recommendation through LinkedIn. Include a suggested deadline [driven professionals work best with timeframes]. For example, if you are a Director or VP asking your C-level boss for a recommendation, try something like this:
- Why was I hired or promoted into this position?
- What was I tasked to achieve in this role?
- What’s the single greatest asset I possess in relation to the role I performed/achievements I realized for the company?
- What specifically about my talents and abilities make me hirable elsewhere?
Follow up the LinkedIn message with a personal email letting them know you sent the request. Include language suggesting if any edits need to be made [grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.] you’ll send it back to them via LinkedIn to edit before publishing. Remind them of the deadline in your message, mentioning it includes any edits, and to look for an email to come from LinkedIn to complete the recommendation.
Thank your recommender with a personal email and inquire how you can provide value for them.
Now that you have an easy way to ask professional contacts for recommendations on LinkedIn, there’s no time like the present to start asking! Make it a habit to ask for at least 2 to 4 recommendations per year from influential people you are connected with on LinkedIn. Their brand is an extension of your brand, so choose wisely.