If You’re Asked to Make a Recommendation
Don’t ignore requests for Recommendations. But don’t feel like you have to accept all requests to make a Recommendation, either. You can respond back that you don’t feel you know him or her well enough to write a Recommendation (or that you don’t know him or her well enough in their work life to recommend them, if you only know them socially). Or you can put them off — saying something like, “Once we’ve worked together for a while, I’d be happy to write a Recommendation foryou.”
So-called “character references” (also called “personal references”) don’t have much of a place on LinkedIn, where the emphasis is on Recommendations from people you have worked with (“professional references”). You can say something like, “Although we know each other socially, because LinkedIn attaches Recommendations to specific jobs, I don’t feel I’m a good fit to write a Recommendation foryou.”
You will rarely see a negative Recommendation on LinkedIn. Because the content of Recommendations is public, it’s likely to be positive. Also, because recipients can choose whether or not to display Recommendations, they are not likely to approve negative comments for public display.
And your mom was right: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
However, if you do decide to write a Recommendation, the first question you should ask is: “What is the goal?” Does the individual want a new job? A promotion? To make a career change? Land a client? Knowing what their goal is in soliciting a Recommendation will help you tailor it to meet their needs.
Look at the individual’s LinkedIn profile — especially the job description of the position when you worked together.
If you are asked to provide a Recommendation, it’s fine to ask the person to draft their Recommendation for you to work from.
Remember, Recommendations you write show up on your profile too, so someone looking at your profile can see the Recommendations you’ve made for others.
When Someone Recommends You…
You’ll receive a notification when someone Recommends you. The notification will be emailed to the email address you have on file with LinkedIn and also included in your LinkedIn Messages.
When you click on the link at the bottom of the email, you will be taken to the same message in your LinkedIn account (you may need to sign into your LinkedIn account, if you arenot already). When you click on the link, it will take you to the Recommendations page, where you can decide whether to show the Recommendation on your profile ornot.
If you find an error in your Recommendation, or it’s not specific enough, you can click the “Ask For Changes” link and it will automatically generate a request for a change with an email to the individual who wrote the Recommendation.
The best way to handle a Recommendation that you don’t like is simply to ask for it to be changed. But instead of asking them to change the whole thing, address specific issues in the Recommendation that you would like changed.
“I like what you’ve written, but I was wondering if you would correct the statement where you said I brought in $200,000 in revenue; my records from that time show that the figure was closer to $375,000.”
What If You Change Your Mind About Displaying a Recommendation?
You can also choose to remove a Recommendation from your profile, even after it has been published.
Here is how to manage the Recommendations already on your LinkedIn profile. Go to the “View Profile” page and scroll down to “Recommendations.” Click on the blue pencil to be taken to the Recommendations page.
The default tab on the Recommendations page is “Received” Recommendations.
At the top of the page, it will show you any Recommendations you’ve received that have not yet been added to your profile (“Pending Recommendations.”) Below that are the Recommendations showing on your profile. You will see a list of your current positions and any Recommendations you’ve received (associated with each job position you’ve listed on your profile).
If you don’t want the Recommendation to show anymore, uncheck the box next to that Recommendation and that Recommendation will no longer be visible on your profile.
You can also request a new or revised Recommendation on this page.
Recommendations matter — but who they came from is sometimes more important than what the Recommendation says. A Recommendation from a higher-level person makes more of an impact than one from colleagues. You can often judge a Recommendation by the quality of the person writingit.
Don’t write — or display — bad Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.
Bad Recommendations are those that are:
- From people who don’t have a clear understanding of you and/or yourwork
- Written without context (how they know you, how they worked withyou)
- Old or outdated
LinkedIn does allow you to go back and edit Recommendations after they’ve been posted, but remember: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.