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 thumbs up and downyou 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?

If you’d like to learn more about kicking your efforts on LinkedIn into high gear, be sure to subscribe to Almost Savvy through RSS or email. These tips are just that – tips. While very helpful, they don’t delve into the bigger picture of why LinkedIn matters and how to get the most out of it depending on your own personal goals. To get the most out of LinkedIn, consider registering for an upcoming webinar where we’ll walk through the features step-by-step to help you leverage your efforts and maximize the benefits of LinkedIn’s features.

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