There was a time when a recommendation from your mother that you were a real catch was enough of an objective opinion to satisfy others’ due diligence to determine if you were all you claimed to be. Following the time when Mom’s praise was enough and prior to today, there was also a time,when customer testimonials printed on marketing brochures were all the evidence we needed to know you were the bee’s knees. Thanks to the internet, those days are but a distant memory, and it’s a good thing (I’m not terribly sure what my mother would say about me). With our hyperconnectedness online today, it is extremely easy to effectively assess someone’s street cred, their credibility, their reputation, from first-hand sources.
LinkedIn has come to be a relied-upon source of professional recommendations due to the level of transparency it provides. Gone is the generic praise and the quotes from sources we were unable to contact. LinkedIn recommendations from current or prior co-workers, partners, customers or bosses are easily tracked back to their author to verify credibility and veracity. When reading recommendations on a profile, you may want to consider a few things:
- Are all or most of the recommendations from people for whom this individual has also provided recommendations? It is not uncommon for people to take a quid-pro-quo approach, meaning that I’ll write one for you if you write one for me.
- Do the authors of the recommendation seem to have solid backgrounds themselves, perhaps with a good network of people and having been recommended by others?
- Do any of the recommendations appear to have been written by family members? (Hey, I’ve seen it – and not just once or twice.)
- Do the recommendations highlight specific accomplishments or areas of particular strength, or do they include vague statements, such as “Sophie is a wonderful worker. I hope to work with her again sometime”?
If your profile is complete and ready for prime-time, one of the next areas in need of attention is adding a few recommendations to round out your profile. Only ask those who have real first-hand experience with whatever it is that you do. You don’t want a recommendation from someone you met at a conference who thought you were really nice, only to find yourself unable to back it up when asked about it by a potential customer or employer.
I’m often asked if there is an opportunity to see recommendations before they are posted to your profile. The answer is yes, absolutely. After a recommendation is written, you will be notified and have the opportunity to approve it to be posted or to contact the author to suggest a change or give other feedback.
All this talk of recommendations reminds me that I have to get to work on my street cred in a hurry. I only recently added Almost Savvy to my own LinkedIn profile and I need to add recommendations myself. If you’ve enjoyed my blog, I’d love to add your comments to my LinkedIn profile. Time to get rolling!
What are your thoughts of these suggestions? Anything else you look for or want to avoid in a LinkedIn recommendation?
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This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I’ve had a lot of people contacting me asking for recommendations which they can plaster all over their LinkedIn / Naymz profiles. I guess it’s that time of year when everyone starts career prospecting – enhanced by the uncertainty of job security in the current economic climate.
Hell, even I’ve been guilty of touting for testimonials (tout-imonials?)of late.
Some of the jobs currently being posted on LinkedIn are asking for candidates with x number of recommendations as a pre-requisite for CV submissions which is a sign of the times.
To gauge whether someone’s recommendations are genuine I tend to look for consistency in what is being said over multiple entries. Also, there should be an average of one recommendation from each post the individual has worked in. Gaps in recommendations start to stand out in the same way that employment voids do on a printed CV.
As for my mum, once she masters the video recorder and the microwave, I’ll ask her to recommend me on LinkedIn. Who knows – maybe she’ll write something nice before I retire?
Good points, Irene. I did give my dad a recommendation on LinkedIn, but I said I was his son in the comment.
I was recently contacted by a person seeking a recommendation from me. I will particularly keep in mind your suggestion that an effective recommendation includes specific experiences or strengths and not just general platitudes.
I know that recommendations is a small part of the LI currency, however, I tend to ignore them. I do give them when asked. I write something to the best of my ability, and hope that it doesn’t get misinterpreted by the unwashed masses.
My mother didn’t quite get the concept of self-employment and building a business. When I would take her places and introduce her to people, she would jump into a conversation with, “Do you have a job for Joy? She’s desperate for work!” You can pretty much kiss the street cred goodbye right then. I didn’t ask her for a LinkedIn recommendation.
Great tip, Irene! Thanks so much!! 😀
I’m so glad this was helpful to you. Thanks for stopping by!