Everything you do on LinkedIn will lead others to your profile. Show potential hiring managers, marketing partners, clients and other professionals that you have social proof by displaying endorsements and recommendations from your peers that back up what you say in your profile.
LinkedIn recommendations are the ultimate social proof in your profile. When people look at your profile, you want them to see you as a real, verified professional, and there is no better way to achieve this than by being recommended by peers who can help verify that you have the skills and experience you claim to have.
What are LinkedIn recommendations?
Briefly, LinkedIn recommendations are little testimonials given by your contacts. Usually, they’re focused on a particular area of your expertise or experience. For instance, mine tend to focus on public speaking and successes people’s companies have enjoyed after consulting with me. In other words, you should think of LinkedIn recommendations as a less formal version of reference letters.
Why are they important?
Probably the biggest reason you should have recommendations on your LinkedIn profile is that it validates your experience and abilities. Think about it this way: hearing from third parties about your abilities will help a potential customer or employer see your representation of yourself as credible. In other words, recommendations are a way of “proving” your abilities on social media. Then, people don’t have to just take your word for it. It is the ultimate in social proof and credibility.
How should I “collect” recommendations?
Understanding the value of LinkedIn recommendations, you’ll want to be proactive in sourcing them for your profile. Before you ask those in your network for recommendations, though, I recommend that you start by paying it forward and recommending others with whom you have worked in the past for their skills and experience. Human nature predicts that some of these connections might also ask you if you’d like to receive recommendations from them. But never write a recommendation for the sole purpose of receiving one in return.
How many recommendations do I need?
You don’t need a lot of recommendations for social proof. LinkedIn used to recommend having at least three to achieve a “complete” profile. If you feel like you need a few more, now is the time to reach out to your old managers, colleagues, subordinates, customers and partners and ask for a recommendation, reminding them of your accomplishments in your request. Don’t be shy; many busy professionals that I know actually prefer that you send them a draft recommendation together with your request, so long as the content is accurate and would authentically represent them. Whether you write a draft or ask for a recommendation, always remember to bring up specific actions that you took to achieve specific results. Vague recommendations offer little to no value.