Many jobseekers and employers think LinkedIn recommendations are worth gold. Recommendations espouse jobseekers’ performance, describing valuable skills and accomplishments, and are visible on their LinkedIn profile for potential employers to see. What a great LinkedIn feature.*
However, as valuable they are, requesting a recommendation can be frustrating for two reasons, timeliness or the quality of a recommendation…or both.
So after waiting for months and receiving something that doesn’t describe you the way you’d like, what do you do? Do you send the recommendation back to your reference, or do you post it on your profile as is? You send it back and you risk waiting even longer for a revised recommendation.
Let me suggest two ways to ensure a shorter wait, as well receiving a recommendation with which you’ll be happy.
1) First, offer some guidance to the person who’s writing your recommendation in terms of the types of skills, accomplishments, and experience you’d like to be included in the recommendation. Having written recommendations for others, I know how difficult it is to determine what to write about the recipient.
So eliminate any guesswork and tell your reference you’d like her to hit upon your leadership, customer service, team-building, technical expertise, or other strong skills. Also remind her about any accomplishments, e.g., you increased productivity 55% by taking the initiative to develop a better process to track and store electronic parts; just in case she has forgotten.
2) The second alternative is one that will require more work on your part; writing your own recommendation. This is a last-ditch effort but one your reference will greatly appreciate. You may remember doing this where you worked, when your manager told you to write your own for her to sign. Same idea.
This takes considerable work on your part because it takes stepping outside yourself to evaluate your performance. In other words, how would the person writing your recommendation see your current or past performance? You’ll be promoting yourself, which is not always the easiest thing to do. But this is not hard to do as long as you are as objective as possible. Refrain from using adjective like “excellent,” “outstanding,” “perfect,” etc. Stick to the facts. Also expect your professional reference to edit what you write, perhaps revise it significantly.
Recommendations are still valued by employers who visit your profile. It gives them an idea of your talents and promise for the future; so why drive yourself crazy waiting for them to arrive, and why guess what you’ll receive from the well-intentioned reference.
*Recommendations have been replaced by Endorsements as one requirement to reach 100% completion for a profile. This implies endorsements hold real value, which many LinkedIn members dispute. These naysayers think it’s a lot easier to click on someone’s skill/s than it is to write a thoughtful recommendation. I agree.
- LinkedIn Endorsements: Why They May be Hurting You (sunsender.wordpress.com)
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