5 Tips for Getting LinkedIn Recommendations

By Chuks Agada, M.A., Adjunct Faculty

Colorado Technical University - LinkedIn RecommendationsLinkedIn recommendations will never replace a traditional reference check, but they certainly can’t hurt. They can speak to your credibility, while giving your LinkedIn profile a boost.

While recommendations are important, it’s important not to overdo it. Quantity matters less than quality in many cases. Forbes writer Susan Adams says, “If your recommendations tell a specific story about you and they come from a broad range of sources, they will help you.”


As you pursue recommendations as a strategy for enhancing your LinkedIn profile and making your story more available to hiring managers, consider the five tips below to help you do it right.

  1. Personalize. Send your requests to one person at a time. Seeing more than one user in the “To” field can discourage your contacts from responding. Also, it’s important to avoid sending the default LinkedIn message that is sent for recommendation requests. Write your own message explaining why you’re requesting a recommendation from this particular person. Also offer to be available to provide more information and answer questions.
  2. Provide Guidance. Many people don’t realize that LinkedIn has recommendation capability. In case your connections are unsure of what to write, remind them of some of your skills and highlight the experience you gained while working with them. Ask that they address specific capabilities or skills they see in you to help more effectively communicate your professional story. It’s also acceptable, and perhaps easier, to write the recommendation yourself, says Adams. Simply send a draft to your connection for their approval.
  3. Variety and Depth. Some overly enthusiastic individuals will ask anyone and everyone for a recommendation – even when the working relationship was tangential. This is a waste of time that doesn’t serve you well. Seek recommendations from supervisors, peers and subordinates with whom you had a substantial working relationship. They can provide a good indication of how well you worked at various levels in the workplace. If you’re self-employed, seek out recommendations from vendors, customers and associates.
  4. Give to Get. The recommendations you write are visible on your profile, so it’s helpful to place yourself in the position of not only requesting, but also giving recommendations. This might make your contacts more willing to praise your work, and it gives them an idea of the type of recommendation you want.
  5. But Let’s Not Make a Deal. While it’s acceptable to recommend some of the people who recommend you, don’t promise a recommendation in return for one. Viewers of your profile may view suspiciously a profile with an overabundance of recommendations from people you’ve endorsed. It can bring into question your credibility. There’s nothing wrong with reciprocity when it comes to recommendations – just don’t overdo it.

While it may not pack the same punch as a written recommendation, LinkedIn has also made it easier to trigger recommendation reciprocity with its endorsement option. With a click of the mouse, you can endorse the skills your connections have listed on their profile. It’s like a recommendation ‘lite.’ Either way you go be as sincere as possible, and hopefully the favor will be returned to you.

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Image credit: Flickr/owenwbrown

CTU Faculty - Chuks AgadaChuks Agada, M.A., serves as an adjunct professor for Colorado Technical University where he teaches Human Resources courses. In addition to this, Chuks works as a Talent Solutions Consultant for LinkedIn Corporation where he educates clients on the value of LinkedIn Corporate Recruitment Solutions. His background is in staffing and recruitment, human resources and talent acquisition strategies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.