With all the changes to LinkedIn, one thing that never goes out of style is having people say nice things about you on your LinkedIn profile — even if LinkedIn puts different emphasis on the role of Recommendations in the profile. For recruiters and hiring managers who take the time to read them, great Recommendations can be the difference in getting the job offer.
LinkedIn Recommendations are a natural evolution of references and letters of recommendation. However, they often are more credible than these traditional documents, because it is harder to fake a Recommendation on LinkedIn than it is to forge a letter. Since many companies are restricting reference checks to verification of title and dates of employment, a LinkedIn Recommendation from a supervisor — and/or coworkers — carries weight.
LinkedIn has been described as a “reputation engine.” That’s an apt description, because your reputation does precede you online — not just in your work history, but also in your LinkedIn Recommendations.
Someone looking at your Recommendations wants to know two things:
- What are you like?
- Are you good at what you do?
LinkedIn used to require a minimum for three Recommendations for your profile to be considered “complete,” but that is no longer part of the profile strength measurement system. However, according to LinkedIn, “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn.”
In addition, you can enhance your own reputation by providing Recommendations, because people viewing your profile can see (and read) the Recommendations you make. People can see the Recommendations you’ve received (click on “Received”) as well as the Recommendations you’ve given (click on “Given”).
Recommendations can also provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results — meaning, they will help you get found — both on LinkedIn as well as on search engines. Use industry-specific terminology in your Recommendations. Keywords included in LinkedIn Recommendations also receive emphasis in search engine results — especially searches within LinkedIn. When conducting a keyword search, all the keywords in a profile are indexed, and profiles with a high match of relevant keywords come up higher in the results listings. Although LinkedIn’s specific algorithms are secret, some experts suggest that keywords in Recommendations receive double the rankings of keywords provided in the profile itself.
How many Recommendations you should have on your profile depends on how many contacts you have. A good guideline is 1-2 Recommendations for every 50 connections. Ideally, these will be a variety of individuals — not just supervisors, but co-workers, people you supervise, and clients/customers. Choose quality overquantity.
Recommendations should be built up over time. Because Recommendations have a date attached to them, don’t try to solicit all of your Recommendations at once. Don’t write and send your Recommendations all at once either. Recommendations are date-stamped, so the reader will be able to see when they were added to your page. It’s best if they are added gradually, over time.
In our next post, we’ll start with what to write in a Recommendation you give, and then show you how to actually make a Recommendation on LinkedIn. Finally, you’ll learn how to request your own Recommendations on LinkedIn.