Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies
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Recommendations in LinkedIn allow you to send or receive professional references and display them on your profile in a trustworthy way. You need at least three recommendations to have a complete LinkedIn profile.

The recommendations section is the one part of your profile that you don’t have full control over because you have to rely on other people to write these recommendations for you (which makes them more reliable). LinkedIn’s search algorithm ranks profiles with more recommendations higher than others. If you want to be found, take your recommendations seriously.

As a general rule, you want to have recommendations equal to about 5 to 10 percent of your network size. So if your network has 280 people in it, you may strive for 28 recommendations, but 14 is good enough. Of course, only about half the people you ask for a recommendation will respond. If you need three recommendations, send out six requests. If you want 10, send out 20.

The trick with requesting recommendations on LinkedIn is to always personalize your request message. LinkedIn drops some standard language into the request form, but you need to tailor this note for each person you’re asking. By suggesting a few bullet points for them to cover in their recommendation, you make it easier for them to think of something to say.

Some people refuse to write original recommendations. They prefer that you write your own text, and then they just put their signature on it. This is an archaic and quite outdated approach that’s incompatible with social media.

The theme with social media is authenticity, and writing your own recommendation and then putting someone else’s name on it isn’t very authentic. And such practices can backfire on you: If you’re the author of all your own recommendations and you have ten of them, they may look too+ similar and people may notice.

Try to explain this to the people who refuse to write a recommendation. If they still refuse to adapt to modern times and help you out, be prepared to let them go. What they may actually be communicating is that they don’t have time to help you.

This article is a good breakdown of the anatomy of a good recommendation on LinkedIn. Send this link to your recommender to help them with their writing.

You’re not obligated to return a recommendation. LinkedIn delivers a “Return the Favor” screen after you receive a recommendation, but you can ignore this. Give recommendations to only the people you feel compelled to give them to and who you’re comfortable vouching for.

About This Article

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Joshua Waldman, MBA, is an authority on leveraging social media to find employment. His writing has appeared in Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and the International Business Times. Joshua's career blog,, won the Readers' Choice Award for Best Career Blog 2013. Joshua presents keynotes, trainings, and breakout sessions around the world for students, career advisors, and professional organizations.

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