LinkedIn recommendations matter to your career and your business, and if you’re searching for a job, they’re absolutely essential.
The reason LinkedIn recommendations are so important is simple. People trust opinions and recommendations from their friends, family, colleagues, and peers.
Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Which would you believe — a resume with a list of accomplishments that may or not be entirely true or a list of great referrals that you can actually validate by investigating the people who wrote them? That’s the difference LinkedIn recommendations make. They provide proof of the claims in your resume or on your business website, blog, and social media profiles.
In other words, you can bring your list of accomplishments (i.e., your resume) together with referrals that can easily be validated (i.e., recommendations) and bring your story to life on LinkedIn. Simply stated, LinkedIn recommendations are an excellent source of social proof.
With that in mind, you should spend time building your list of quality recommendations on LinkedIn, so people you haven’t worked with before truly understand the type of person you are and the work you do. It’s like walking into a job interview with your previous bosses and co-workers behind you to substantiate your claims and validate your experience and abilities. Recommendations are even more powerful when someone in your extended LinkedIn network sees that you have been recommended by a mutual connection.
Here are three common examples of ways that LinkedIn recommendations can help your career and your business:
1. Tipping the Scales
A hiring manager (or potential client) has to choose between you and another applicant (or vendor). Your LinkedIn profile has 20 positive recommendations that the hiring manager (or potential client) can validate, but the other applicant (or vendor) has none. All else being equal, guess who is more likely to get the job? You, of course!
2. Show Me the Money
A potential investor is considering investing in your company. He reads dozens of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile and understands you are a safe risk based on credible past achievements. As a result, he invests in your company.
3. Proving You Walk the Walk
You’re being considered for a leadership role in a new organization. The hiring executive sees that you have recommended many of your previous colleagues and subordinates on LinkedIn and understands that you actively recognize team members and give them the praise and motivation they deserve. This is an essential leadership skill. She hires you for the leadership role.
Keep in mind, recommendations are different from endorsements. Anyone can quickly click the Endorse button, so they have far less value than a written LinkedIn recommendation that takes time to plan and write does.
Your Next Steps to Get LinkedIn Recommendations
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your LinkedIn connections and ask them to write a recommendation for you using the recommendation request tool in LinkedIn. Just make sure you only request recommendations from people you’ve actually worked with and can honestly evaluate your skills, knowledge, and performance. If someone writes a recommendation for you, be sure to write one in return if you can.
Another way to get more LinkedIn recommendations is to write them for other people first. Choose people you’ve worked with who could write a recommendation for you in return. You’d be surprised how many people will write a recommendation for you after you’ve written one for them without having to ask them to do it!
Originally published 7/7/14. Updated 6/26/18.