When applying for a technical job - or any job, for that matter - that you found on LinkedIn, you may notice that the posting says "Applicants with recommendations are preferred."
It might feel awkward to ask some of your former colleagues for recommendations - perhaps it makes you feel like you're begging them to sing your praises and talk about how much they like working with you on both a personal and professional level.
But if you really think about it, recommendations on LinkedIn are a lot like regular reference letters that some employers would expect to see before they hire you. It's a normal part of the job search process to ask for a recommendation when necessary, so LinkedIn recommendations should be viewed as no different.
So how exactly do you go about asking for a LinkedIn recommendation
Here are eight tips for getting some good recommendations that will demonstrate to recruiters and prospective employers that it is well worth considering you for a position:
Use the LinkedIn Recommendations tool:
- If you go to your Profile page and scroll down to view your present and previous positions, you will see how many recommendations you have for each position (if any), and a link that says, "Request Recommendations."
- Click a link for a particular position, and you will be taken to a page where you can choose which connection(s) you would like to ask for a recommendation (up to 200).
- You can opt for the standard "Can you endorse me?" message, or write your own.
- Hit "Send," and the contacts you have chosen will receive your message.
- Personally Email Contacts: This is another option if you don't want to use to use the LinkedIn Recommendations tool. Some recipients might respond better to this, as they won't feel like you're spamming all your contacts in the hopes of getting recommendations - you've specifically chosen them.
- Write a Recommendation for Someone Else First: If you're still a little shy about asking, you could always take the initiative and write a recommendation for that person without being asked, and then hope he or she will write one for you to return the favor. Most people will be nice enough to reciprocate.
- Ensure You Contact People You Know Well: No matter what method you choose for requesting recommendations, make sure it's someone with whom you've worked closely, and who you think would feel comfortable giving you a recommendation. There's nothing more annoying than getting a recommendation request from someone you didn't work with extensively enough to be able to offer concrete, honest feedback.
- Word Your Request Politely: When you ask for a recommendation, try to convey the idea that the recipient shouldn't feel like he or she is under any obligation. You can use phrases such as "if it's not too much trouble," or "when you have a chance," to communicate that you are respectful of the other person's time.
- Specify the Job Posting: If the recommendation is for a specific position, make sure you direct the person to the job ad to offer them some context for their recommendation.
- Provide Some Suggestions for What You'd Like Mentioned: This applies for both general recommendations and those that are specifically written for a particular position you are pursuing. You don't have to give your contact a word-for-word rundown of what the recommendation should say - although sometimes writing a sample paragraph for them can help them get started - but you can list some qualities or skills that you would like highlighted.
- Thank Your Contact and Return the Favour: When you receive a recommendation, do not forget to thank the person - and if you haven't done so already, write a recommendation in return.