LinkedIn Recommendations and Other Recommendations: So What???

November 20th, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time – I am pretty sure I included it in my LinkedIn book and on the LinkedIn DVD – and for sure I talk about it in my LinkedIn presentations.

When you get a Recommendation on LinkedIn, what do you do with it?

I think too many people don’t do anything with it, except let it sit there.

If you assume people will (a) flock to your LinkedIn Profile, and (b) scroll down and read any of your Profiles (after reading any of the LinkedIn Profile that proceeds it), I think you have unrealistic expectations :)

So, perhaps your LinkedIn Recommendations are sitting there like a bump on a log, getting no attention, and not working for you.

You are CEO of Me, Inc, right?  Well, put on your marketing hat.  Here’s an example:

As CEO of JibberJobber, and creator of the LinkedIn DVD (LinkedIn for Job Seekers (not just for job seekers)), I check out my Amazon reviews every now-and-then.  These reviews are similar to LinkedIn Recommendations – hopefully they are credible endorsements of a thing (in this case, my DVD.  In the Recommendation case, of YOU).

Here’s a recent Amazon Review I got:

I got more helpful information from this DVD then from reading 3 seperate books on LinkedIn. I would recommend this DVD to anyone looking for a job or just looking to learn more about LinkedIn.

This is a terrific endorsement of the DVD.  As a marketer, what do I do with it??

I have started to send out PART of this review to various places – on my website, in emails, etc.  Which part?  This:

I got more helpful information from this DVD then from reading 3 seperate books on LinkedIn.

This is not a lot to read or digest.  I’m not asking the reader to sift through jargon or cliche – it’s straightforward and to the point.

Go through your own LinkedIn Recommendations and take out one sentence, or one part of a sentence, from each of them that you could use somewhere.  Here are a few of mine that I think drive various points home (and enhance my personal branding message):

  • As a speaker: Jason… “is a great speaker who connects with his audience and engages them in the presentation.”
  • As an author: “Jason’s book “I’m On LinkedIn. Now what? is an incredible aid to anyone who doesn’t fully realize the value of LinkedIn…”
  • As a subject matter expert: “Jason Alba is more than an expert in his field. He’s an expert who can actually teach and help others become an expert too.”
  • My position in the industry: “From his powerful suite of tools at JibberJobber / Career Management 2.0 to his books on LinkedIn and Facebook, Jason delivers huge benefits to careerists, entrepreneurs, and even to career coaches!”
  • Regarding my JibberJobber website: “I have been using JibberJobber.com as a premium user on a daily basis since 2007. Jason has created an excellent Web 2.0 service which has provided a vehicle for me to efficiently and clearly organize my career goals. As excellent as JibberJobber is, Jason has continually enhanced and improved his user’s experience and efficiencies”
  • As an entrepreneur: “Take one part job-seeker advocate, one part solutions guy, add a collaborative style and toss with a heaping cup of innovation. Mix well. This is the recipe that is Jason Alba.”
  • As a leader: “Jason was a visionary leader for Nuvek, strategically focusing the company on profitability. I learned so much from him as my mentor and my boss.”
  • As a service provider (think customer service): “Jason’s expertise, reliability, attention to detail, and affable personality made working with him a pure pleasure. We received an excellent product tailored to our needs”
  • As a team player: “I found Jason’s contribution [to the team] intelligent, insightful and meaningful to our objectives.”
  • As a human being: “Jason is one of easiest individuals to talk to.”

Gosh, that sounds like a Jason-Is-Awesome Fest, doesn’t it?  I didn’t do it stroke my own ego (although I’m feeling pretty good right now), but to make a point – there is gold in your LinkedIn Recommendations!  Sift through each one and pull something out!

My first point is: You don’t have to use the entire LinkedIn Recommendation in your marketing.

Putting the entire thing could be distracting.  Use the powerful point you want to make, and leave the rest out.  It’s really okay to not say everything!

My second point is: Others are already talking favorably about you – let their words sell you.  And use those words in various places.

Once you figure out what your snippets are, put them somewhere – just leaving them on your LinkedIn Profile is not good enough (not if you are trying to market yourself – which you should all be doing).  Here are some places you can put these snippets:

  • In your email signature,
  • On your website
  • On your blog – perhaps in the title or subtitle?
  • In blog posts
  • On your business card
  • On your resume
  • In your Bio (more on that later)
  • __________________________… where else?

Go, today, and find snippets.  Then figure out where to put them.

  1. 25 Responses to “LinkedIn Recommendations and Other Recommendations: So What???”

  2. By Ronald Beach on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Jason,
    Your Twitter post was my best find of the day. Great information and definately useful.

  3. By Jason Alba on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks Ronald – care to share your snippet(s)?

  4. By Greg Strosaker on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Agree with Ronald, this is a great post. I’m going to go and extract some comments from the recommendations on my LinkedIn profile and add it to the “about” me section (specific new page) on my blog.

  5. By Robert Merrill on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Good points, Jason. Your LinkedIn referrals are not as weighty as proper “references” or letters of recommendation, but they help quite a bit when you’re self-marketing.

    When you’re telling a potential client or a employer about how great you are, your words begin to sound like “wah, wah, wah, wah…”. Let your former clients, colleagues, and especially bosses speak for you.

    A great tactic I have seen (that I liked enough to use myself now) is to include your formal letter of recommendation as the first page of your resume, and then a ONE PAGE summary of your LinkedIn recommendations as the LAST page of your resume.

    This makes an EXCELLENT presentation, sandwiching your otherwise-dry-laundry-list of experience and skills in between a LOT of stellar comments that validate all your resume’s blah, blah, blah (grin).

  6. By Robert Merrill on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Oh… a key that gets missed is all of this needs to be in ONE document. Recruiters DO NOT READ cover letters or anything else but the resume. It has to be in ONE file or it will not be seen.

  7. By Walter Feigenson on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Jason, this actually raises another question for me: there’s a spelling error in the first recommendation. ” I got more helpful information from this DVD then from reading 3 seperate books on LinkedIn.”

    The question is: do you use it as is, or correct the spelling error (seperate should be separate). I ask this seriously, because I’ve actually turned down a recommendation because it had so many errors in it.

    what’s your opinion about that?

    walt

  8. By David Politis on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Great post, as always, Jason.

    I remember the first time I got an inkling of the potential power of LinkedIn recommendations. I was speaking with Kent Thomas of CFO Solutions about his business and asked if he had any testimonials on his Website? His response? “Nope. I just point people toward LinkedIn.” At the time he had more than 20 glowing recommendations on LinkedIn, and I was EXTREMELY impressed.

    LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to promote yourself and/or business. And leveraging such recommendations beyond LinkedIn is a smart idea.

    David

  9. By Melissa Willson on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Thank you Jason for this article. I’m going to see what nuggets of gold I can find.

    @Walt – It is interesting that you brought up the recommendation with errors. I just got one last week that was so full of errors I could not use it. Then I found out that there is an option to ask the writer to revise the recommendation. It was difficult to do, ask for corrections, but in this case neccessary. I just told myself that he wouldn’t have wanted that writing to represent HIM either. I really liked what he said so I hope he comes through with the corrections.

  10. By Jennifer Anthony on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Thank you for pointing out what should have been obvious to me. I do this on my clients’ resumes — but not in my own marketing. How silly is that?

    Great tips! Keep up the excellent work.

  11. By August Cohen on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    While repurposing recommendations in itself is not a bad idea, depending on how they are used, I would make sure you have permission of the recommender.

    I don’t assume anyone who has given me recommendations has also given me carte blanch over where and how I can use them.

    This can get quite sticky if not handled properly, and the last thing you want to do is offend someone who took the time to compliment you.

  12. By Daniel Johnson, Jr. on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Interesting, August. I would have thought it was understood when someone gives a recommendation that it could be used elsewhere.

    Why might someone feel offended if I use what they have said, unless they didn’t really mean it, perhaps?

  13. By Julie Walraven on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Oh Jason, I love this idea… I am using them already as part of a changing relay on my blog but I like the rest of your ideas and the ideas of your commentors. I could see huge potential on resumes too. I already use testimonials but after I train my clients to use LinkedIn, there’s even more potential…

  14. By August Cohen on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Daniel,

    Your comment just supports my thesis:-). While you assume that when someone gives a recommendation it can be used elsewhere, I (and I know quite a few people) assume the exact opposite. That is why it is better to ask to be sure.

    Using recommendations as part of a job search propably is expected, as LI in a business networking site. But to use recommendations in print, on brochures, on a website may not be the high profile exposure or purpose the recommender intended.

    I have a client who gave a recommendation to someone he hired for a small marketing project, and then the lady proceeded to use it on her site and in all her marketing materials. Even though she did a great job on the small, specific project they worked together on, her overall brand was totally opposite his (high pressure, salesy, discounts, broad claims kind of thing), and he did not want to be associated with that.

    To make matters worse, when people searched him, her website then came up higher than his with his name attached to her site – not what he wanted his customers to see first. He was extremely upset, asked her to remove the comment from her site, and then he withdrew her LI recommendation.

    There are 100′s of examples of how this can go awry, which can be easily avoided by just asking the person that gave you the recommendation if they mind.

  15. By Ari Herzog on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Kudos, Jason. I frequently rotate and update my LinkedIn recommendations on two places:

    1. The sidebar at http://visualcv.com/ariherzog

    2. My Google profile at http://www.google.com/profiles/ariherzog

  16. By Bev on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Great information !! I’ll be using this approach for sure. As for the question from Walter about spelling/grammar errors, I would definitely correct the error however if it is as bad as the Melissa received then I agree with her to ask them to redo it.

  17. By Robert Goldasich on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Good post, Jason. In almost every interview that I’ve had, the inevitable question of “How would a past supervisor describe your performance” or something of a similar nature is asked. By copying and pasting all of your Linkedin recommendations into a single Word document and printing it off, you can smile and say, “I’m glad that you asked me that question.” as you pass your prepared list across the table to the interviewer. This is a technique that has worked well for me in the past.

  18. By Daniel Johnson, Jr. on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    One guy I interview for How I Got My Job said he put these phrases splashed together in a document that he’d send along with his resume. It stood out.

  19. By Eleanor Farmer on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    Great post, Jason. I have to admit I’m guilty of the same thing Jennifer confessed to: Advising my client to use recommendations in their marketing and not doing the same for myself. Hello-o?

  20. By Jos Essers on Nov 21, 2009 | Reply

    Jason, one question pops my mind. In the US there is new legislation about recommendations and testimonials. They should be true and verifiable (taht the right word??) In the Netehrlands we do not (yet) have such law but it will come soon. Cutting a testimonial into various parts, might leave out the verifiable part. Or not?? How would you handle that??
    Best regards

    Jos Essers
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/josessers

  21. By Linsey Levine on Nov 21, 2009 | Reply

    excellent advice – but I think if you use someone’s quote, you must correct the spelling or put the [sic] sign in.
    “I got more helpful information from this DVD THAN from reading 3 SEPARATE books on LinkedIn.”
    (from my former editor/teacher self)

  22. By Bob Roman on Nov 21, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks Jason,

    I just remembered, I should give your DVD a recommendation on Amazon as well. I have been encouraging people to buy it when I teach LinkedIn at the Crossroads Career Group at Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee, WI. One guy put it in his laptop to try it out and he may be ordering it! I also promote your book of course, especially to my baby boomer friends who are struggling with LinkedIn.

    Bob Roman
    Milwaukee, WI.
    pctrainerbob@yahoo.com

  23. By Brian Moore on Dec 2, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks for the post Jason, good ideas worth sharing. I’m with August re getting permission. I have many testimonials on my site, but when deciding to publish a book, I went back to all referees, asking permission to use their testimonials in a different medium. Every one of them thanked me for asking and gave their permission. They basically want to know where their names and thoughts are going to be seen. I also think that using exerpts (if including referee’s name) needs permission, as it’s all about context. I always take the time to ask, simply shows respect

    Be your best and love your life
    Brian

  24. By Walter Feigenson on Dec 3, 2009 | Reply

    Sorry for the late reply. While it is sometimes possible to ask that a recommendation be corrected, some people actually take offense. That happened to me once – I got something so bad that I wouldn’t display it. I rewrote it and sent it to the person who wrote the original recommendation, and I never even got an answer. Nevertheless, the recommendations are a reflection on me, so while I give writers some latitude, I’m the final arbiter.

  25. By Steven Burda, MBA on Dec 8, 2009 | Reply

    Well said in the post, thanks Jason!

    - Steven Burda
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

  26. By Christine Sutherland on Jan 6, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t use recommendations with spelling or grammatical errors, and nor do I use those that sound unprofessional or describe me in “fluffy” ways.

    For instance I operate at the most senior levels of organisations including board level. And yet recently someone sent along a recommendation on the basis that I had a “fun-loving nature and brightened up a room”. Completely inappropriate for my target arena.

    If it’s close to being OK I might ask for spelling corrections once. If it comes back still flawed I just ignore it.

    I feel that it’s quite offensive to offer sub-standard material as a recommendation, so it doesn’t bother me to request corrections or to hit the reject button.

    I may be fun loving, but not when it comes to quality or standards.

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