Friday, May 16, 2014

How to ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation

Author: Ed Han
              Wordsmith, Recruiter, LinkedIn Advocate, JobSeeker Ally
              Translating business objectives into strategies & tactics

Viewers of your LinkedIn profile often view the recommendations you've received on your profile to see what others have to say about your work. If you’re the one requesting a recommendation, consider whether you should do so. Can the person you’re asking credibly and authentically attest to witnessing doing something truly extraordinary? If the person you ask can so vouch, position that person to make such statements powerfully. To that end:

Arm the person with information to make powerful statements about your skills
Writing a recommendation can be difficult or time consuming. If you’re asking someone to do something difficult or time-consuming on your behalf, help make the process easier. Include an accomplishment in behavioral SAR form (Situation, Action, Result) with a metric that speaks to a strength you’re seeking to underscore at this time. If you do this, include an outcome as well: something like “I felt during the time we worked together that I demonstrated [strength], which yielded [metric], but that’s just a suggestion.” But if you cannot offer this kind of guidance, reconsider whether you should request a recommendation from that person.

Consider getting one or more recommendations from former reports if you were a manager. 
Direct reports can speak to your management style. Depending on your career level, your impact as an individual contributor may be overshadowed by your ability to lead a team to exceptional performance. And don’t rule out the utility of peer recommendation; a well-written peer recommendation can add value—provided clear metrics are included.

Do not under any circumstance say, “I’m sure whatever you say will be fine.” 
If asked to provide guidelines about the kinds of skills or expertise you want extolled, an answer of that sort says, “I’m asking you to give me a gift, but I won’t give you any guidance by telling you the kinds of gifts I most appreciate.”

Invest the time to make sure the recommendations you give and receive are powerful. If you’re going to give someone a gift, you want it to be one that the recipient will love. And in turn, if you’re the one on the receiving end, it is better to receive a gift that you love.

[A version of this posting appeared in an earlier PSG of Mercer County newsletter]

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice. I have been asked many times for LinkedIn recommendations and it is always helpful when the person indicates an area that they wish for me to focus on for them or gives me guidelines. I especially like the SAR tactic you have suggested.

    It would be great to have follow up posts on how to ask someone to be your reference when you apply for a job as it is equally important to arm the job refernece with knowledge to make them an effective reference. Just last week I got a telephone call asking me to be a reference for someone that I worked with a few years ago on one project. They had not asked me to be their reference and our work together was minimal at best. I also had no clue they had interviewed. It was an awkward and stumbling call on my end and I tried my best to recover... this person did not get the job and I am hoping it was not because of me.

    Another great topic would be how to accept when someone turns down a request to recommend or be your reference. I have done both and it is awkward at best and painfully uncomfortable at times. A person may have many reasons for saying to no to a request and being able to accept the no and move on graciously is importantly.