Thursday, January 29, 2009

Value of LinkedIn Recommendations

As a LinkedIn member, you have the opportunity to invite members of your network to write you recommendations, which get incorporated into your LinkedIn profile. (If you're unfamiliar with LinkedIn recommendations, go to my profile and scroll down to the "Recommended by" section to see what I'm referring to.)

For a job seeker, the most obvious benefit of having LinkedIn recommendations is that a recruiter or potential employer might be impressed by what people say about you. Here are some not-so-obvious benefits of nurturing the growth of your LinkedIn recommendations:
1. It's a great way to make your network stronger. When you ask one of your contacts for her endorsement, offer to write one for her in return. In that way, you've strengthened the bond between the two of you.

2. It's good for your self-esteem. It feels really good to read positive things people say about you. And if you ever feel down about your job search (or life in general), read your LinkedIn recommendations and maybe that will give you a lift.

3. You could get a great statement or idea for your job search. In the Summary of Qualifications section of your resume, in your cover letter, or in your job interview, it might be appropriate to quote a phrase from one of your recommendations. Many people have trouble saying good things about themselves. If you're one of those shy job seekers, let one of your LinkedIn endorsers say it for you!


Wannabe DBA! said...

"As a LinkedIn member, you have the opportunity to invite members of your network to write you recommendations"

This feels like a stupid question, but I'm asking any way. You have to actually know other members before you can invite them to your network and ask for recommendations, right?

I have been worried about my recommendations because I only have 6 or 7 and I am not sure how many other people I know out there.

Can you ask someone you don't know, but have written back and forth in a group discussion?

Thank you.

Susan Ireland said...

Dear Wannabe DBA,
Building your network and recommendations starts slowly and gradually builds. It's great that you have 6 or 7 recommendations now. That's a good start.

You can certainly ask for recommendations from people you've been chatting with on LinkedIn, if you feel you've built enough rapport and given them a reason to write a recommendation.

Another approach is to go through your list of email contacts and see if there's someone you haven't yet identified as being a LinkedIn member. If it's someone you know and trust, invite them to join your network. You can also invite friends and colleagues to join LinkedIn, if they're not already members.

Also, through your LI network to find people you would honestly write a recommendation for. Send that recommendation unsolicited, and see if they respond in kind.

Remember, on LinkedIn, it's not always quantity that matters. Quality is first and foremost -- at least that's my theory.