Here’s a question I got recently about asking for LinkedIn Recommendations:
I’ve taken time to leave recommendations for people in my network. I’ve left a recommendation for nearly everyone. The only two recommendations I’ve gotten have been two I ASKED for ages ago. This is making me feel badly. I know it shouldn’t but it does.
How do you think I should go about getting some additional recommendations? Should I write people and mention that I left a recommendation for them and I’d really appreciate it if they’d reciprocate? I could try explaining that I’m job hunting (unfortunately) and that I think it would help me but I’m afraid I’ll come off as begging.
Any suggestions for me?
Great question, and I feel I’ve staged this question with the idea that if you give, you’ll get. Not always the case, as is shown here. Here was my response to this job seeker:
I think people who reciprocate are going to be people who naturally think about networking, relationships and reciprocation. Not everyone thinks about that, and they just wallow in the flattery of your Recommendation to them. Some might not reciprocate because they simply don’t think about it, or because they don’t’ feel they worked with you in a way where they can, or because they aren’t quite sure what to write.
I think it’s perfectly fine to ask for a Recommendation (I’d assume they just didn’t think about it). Here’s what I suggest:
- Write the contact an email… don’t use the “request recommendation” feature from LinkedIn. I think the email is more personal.
- Let them know you are working on your LinkedIn Profile, and you’d really appreciate a recommendation from them. You can even say “it’s like a letter of recommendation, only it should be about a paragraph.”
- With your brand in mind, coach them on what you want them to focus on. “I’d like to bring out X, Y and Z. When worked on that team together I think you saw this in my work ethic (or whatever), and I’d appreciate it if you could write something to those points.” Even consider writing a paragraph as an example, and don’t be surprised if they just copy and paste.
- Make sure, in your email, they understand this is not a relationship deal-breaker, and that they don’t, or can’t, that’s okay. I’m more of the “don’t impose” personality…
- I wouldn’t mention that you wrote them a recommendation, or that this is a reciprocal request. I think that’s kind of cheesy to ask for, and it might turn people off. You are asking for a sincere, genuine recommendation, regardless of whether you wrote them one or not.
Begging? No, you are not begging. The job seeker who goes to his old boss, peers or customers to ask for letters of recommendation is not begging, he’s simply doing what he should be doing. I think an approach like this is acceptable, and a chance to nurture a relationship.
What do you think?