LinkedIn Recommendations – Who Should Give Them?

October 12th, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

Last week I talked about Jeremiah Owyang’s position on LinkedIn Recommendations.  I mentioned I had some comments regarding Jacob Share’s post (apparently no one is safe from my pontifications :p)… here is my feedback on one aspect of Jacob’s post called Why LinkedIn Recommendations Really Are Valuable.  He writes:

Not all recommendations carry the same weight or should. Here’s how to rank them:

  1. Best – a recommendation from someone by whom you were employed, such a past boss or client.
  2. Useful – a recommendation by someone who witnessed your results firsthand or was directly impacted by them, such as a colleague or business partner.
  3. Sometimes useful - a recommendation by someone who is impressed by you or your work, like a fan, friend or family member.

What an interesting concept!  At first glance, I totally disagree.  I say “totally disagree” just so you understand that usually I fly by the seat of my pants and come to an opinion too quickly (now that you know I’m highly opinionated…) :p

Okay, so maybe I do agree that comments from some *types* of people might carry more weight, but I am not sold on the idea that the type of the Recommendation indicates the strength of the LinkedIn Recommendation.

I think the quality of what is written is more important than who writes it.  A poorly written, or non-endorsing Recommendation from a “past boss or client” is worse than an awesome endorsement from a nobody who can really speak to your character or skills.

In my LinkedIn book I talk about writing LinkedIn Recommendations.  In my LinkedIn DVD I show you how to do it.  And on my JibberJobber blog I shared how to write excellent LinkedIn  Recommendations.

  1. 3 Responses to “LinkedIn Recommendations – Who Should Give Them?”

  2. By Jacob Share on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    Fair point! I suppose I could preface my weighting by saying “all other things considered equal” i.e. the content is legible and endorsing (which is implied- it’s a Recommendation, after all).

    Your take leads to an interesting dilemma- if someone sends you a glowing recommendation filled with grammar and/or spelling mistakes, what do you do?

  3. By Joanna Lord on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    I think you make a great point re: the quality of the recommendation. I have talked to many recruiters that swear they look for the specific examples given in recommendations. The more detailed successes someone can commend someone else for, the more weight the recommendation holds, rather than just saying–they were great, I would absolutely recommend them! Those recommendations are somewhat trivial at this point in the game…

    Excellent post! thanks for sharing!

  4. By Trace Cohen on Oct 12, 2009 | Reply

    My personal belief is that you should only ask for a recommendation form someone who you have actually worked with. Obviously if it is poorly written it doesn’t matter who wrote it which is why you need someone who is credible and somewhat literate.

    Like a resume, if you lie or fabricate someone and get called out for it you are usually worse off than when you started.

Post a Comment