How to Request Recommendations on LinkedIn
Only ask for Recommendations from people who are relevant to your goals — powerful Recommendations come from people who know you and your work. It’s better to have a strong Recommendation from a boss than a half-hearted one from someone with a well-recognized name. Don’t ask people to recommend you who don’t know you well.
Before you ask for a Recommendation, check the individual’s profile and see if he or she has written any other Recommendations. Do the other Recommendations they’ve written show unique detail? See how many Recommendations they’ve given — and see if each one says basically the same thing. If they aren’t very strong, you may want to consider providing the person with a rough draft of a Recommendation you’ve written about yourself on their behalf.
There are two ways to ask for a Recommendation. First, LinkedIn gives you a direct link on the “View Profile” page.
Or, click on the blue pencil and you’ll be taken to the “Recommendations” page. Click on “Ask for Recommendations.”
Choose the position you want to be recommended for. Next, choose who you want to ask to recommend you. (You can choose up to three people from your connections; best practice is to only request one Recommendation at a time.) Then you’ll be asked to define your relationship and the work role of the person you’re asking to recommend you.
Finally, you’ll actually request the Recommendation.
Under “Write Your Message,” you will want to customize your request. Replace the existing text with a personalized message. As mentioned, although LinkedIn gives you the option of sending “bulk” Recommendation requests, don’t do it. Each request should be personalized to the individual you are asking for a Recommendation.
When asking for a Recommendation, ask for one related to a specific project. For example: “Could you provide me with a Recommendation based on our work together on [X Project]?”
An even better idea is to ask for the Recommendation through more personal means — for example, in person, on the telephone, or via email.
In fact, one of the best ways to get a LinkedIn Recommendation is to ask after someone has given you a compliment “in real life.” If they praise you via email, for example, you could respond with a message that thanks them and says: “Are you on LinkedIn? Would you mind if I sent you a LinkedIn request for a Recommendation? It would mean a lot to me to have you say that in a Recommendation onthere.”
Reciprocation is also a powerful motivation for Recommendations. Generally, if you ask for someone to provide you with a Recommendation, they will expect you to write one for them. (So it’s a good idea to only ask for Recommendations from someone you’d be willing to recommend back!) The reverse is also true — sometimes, if you provide an unsolicited Recommendation, the person you recommend will go ahead and write one for you as well.
However, reciprocal Recommendations (I gave you one, so can you give me one?) are less powerful than Recommendations that are freely given. Remember, visitors to your LinkedIn profile can see who you have recommended as well as who has recommended you. It’s easy to spot one-to-one (reciprocal) Recommendations.
If you don’t receive a response back from someone after requesting a Recommendation — or, if you don’t feel comfortable following up, consider whether you should be asking for a Recommendation from that person in the first place.
One of the most effective ways to get a great LinkedIn Recommendation is to write it yourself. This makes it easier on the person who you want to recommend you — and ensures your Recommendation is specific and detailed.
In this case, your request for a Recommendation might follow this format:
I’m writing to request a Recommendation of our work together at (company name) that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. To make this easy for you, here’s a draft Recommendation. Feel free to edit this or create your own.
Thank you. (Your Name)
When possible, give the person you’re asking for a Recommendation some context for your request:
“I’m writing to request a Recommendation on LinkedIn. As you know, I’m looking to make a career change, and I believe a Recommendation from you based on our work together on [X Project] would be useful in highlighting my transferable skills.”