With LinkedIn such an important social platform in the recruiting and hiring process, having recommendations on your profile is important. Great recommendations can make a difference! Consider them your online reference sheet packed with a punch.

How to Request Recommendations on LinkedIn

Only ask for recommendations from people who are relevant to your goals — powerful recommendations come from people who know you and your work. It’s better to have a strong recommendation from a boss than a half-hearted one from someone with a well-recognized name.

Before you ask for a recommendation, check the individual’s profile and see if he or she has written any other recommendations. Do the other recommendations they’ve written show unique detail? See how many they’ve given — and see if each one says basically the same thing. If they aren’t very strong, you may want to consider providing the person with a rough draft of a recommendation you’ve written about yourself on their behalf.

To ask for a recommendation, LinkedIn has a recommendation request form. Ask for a recommendation related to a specific project. For example:

“Could you provide me with a recommendation based on our work together on [X Project]?”

Your sample request might look like this:

LI invite

An even better idea is to ask for the recommendation through more personal means — for example, in person, on the telephone, or via email.

In fact, one of the best ways to get a LinkedIn recommendation is to ask after they’ve given you a compliment. If they praise you via email, for example, you could respond with a message of thanks and asks: “Are you on LinkedIn? Would you mind if I sent you a LinkedIn request for a recommendation? It would mean a lot to me to have you say that in a recommendation on LinkedIn.”

When possible, give the person you’re asking for a recommendation some context for your request: “I’m writing to request a recommendation on LinkedIn. As you know, I’m looking to make a career change, and I believe a recommendation from you based on our work together on [X Project] would be useful in highlighting my transferable skills.”

One of the most effective ways to get a great LinkedIn recommendation is to write it yourself. This makes it easier on the person who you want to recommend you — and ensures your recommendation is specific and detailed.

Reciprocation is also a powerful motivation for recommendations. Generally, if you ask for someone to provide you with a recommendation, they will expect you to write one for them. (So it’s a good idea to only ask for recommendations from someone you’d be willing to recommend back!) The reverse is also true — sometimes, if you provide an unsolicited recommendation, the person you recommend will go ahead and write one for you as well.

However, reciprocal recommendations are less powerful than recommendations that are freely given. Remember, visitors to your LinkedIn profile can see who you have recommended as well as who has recommended you.

If you don’t receive a response back from someone after requesting a recommendation — or, if you don’t feel comfortable following up, don’t worry about it. Continue to build the list of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile from others in your professional life. Since much of the preliminary work of employment screening is done by checking information available about you online (especially using Google), and this includes your LinkedIn profile, keep it up to date, and build a bank of recommendations now. You’ll improve your chances of landing the job offer in the future.

If you missed the first two blogs in this series click here for Part 1 and click here for Part 2.