I was chatting with a client earlier today who is wrapping up her summer internship and getting ready to face her first full-time job search in her senior year. As we were talking about some good end-of-summer best practices the topic of LinkedIn recommendations came up. Whether you’re interning or well into your career, LinkedIn recommendations should definitely be on your radar.
What’s a LinkedIn recommendation?
Think of a LinkedIn recommendation as the modern day letter of recommendation. In the past, you may have asked someone to write you a letter sharing the type of work you did with them and why you were great at it so that you could then share it with future employers.
Today, you’re much better off asking for a LinkedIn recommendation than a letter because you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone.
You’ll get to have the recommendation front and center on your LinkedIn profile for all to see but if you ever did need to submit it to a company, you can take a screenshot, PDF your profile, or copy and paste.
From a recruiter’s perspective, I personally find that LinkedIn profiles hold a bit more weight than a letter because the person recommending you has to do so publicly.
When should I ask for one?
If you’re a summer intern, the end of the summer is the perfect time to ask for a recommendation. Your work will be fresh in the minds of your colleagues so it will be easiest to write and therefore they’re most likely to do it!
If you’re working full time, there isn’t an exact science on when to ask. Some good times might be:
* After you’ve had a glowing mid-year or year-end review
* After you’ve accomplished something huge or wrapped up a project that you might want someone to comment on specifically (i.e. a really successful conference or event)
* If someone you’ve worked with closely is leaving your company and you had a strong relationship with them
* After you’ve left a company, assuming you left on really good terms
* Now! If you worked closely with someone and had a great working relationship, it’s never too late to ask for this
Keep in mind, you can ask people you’ve worked with in the past or people you currently work with.
How to ask
There are two ways to ask for LinkedIn recommendations.
The first is actually not asking at all — it’s simply writing a recommendation for the person you have in mind. Often times, if you write one first the other person will be happy to return the favor automatically. If you’re thinking of writing a recommendation for someone else, The Muse has a super helpful article on this.
The other way is simply to ask for one in a low-pressure way. Here are two examples:
“It was great catching up the other day and your new opportunity seems really exciting. I have really enjoyed working with you at [company] and was wondering if you’d be open to writing a LinkedIn recommendation. I would be happy to write one for you as well!”
“Thank you so much for the feedback you shared on the X project the other day. I really enjoyed working on it and so glad everyone is happy with the results! I like to keep my LinkedIn profile updated on a regular basis and I was wondering if you’d be open to writing a recommendation for me through LinkedIn about our work together on this project.”
If you are asking for a recommendation from a current colleague be sure to add the reason why you’re asking (i.e. I like to keep my profile up to date) as you don’t want them to only think you’re updating your profile because you may be looking for a job.
In fact, it’s ideal to ask for these when you’re not in an active job search as it could make people suspicious and then your next “trip to the dentist” is going to be questioned!
How many do I need? And who should they be from?
No need to go crazy here! One or two recommendations for each job on your profile is more than enough.
The recommendations that hold the most impact are from a direct supervisor or someone more senior on your team (like the group head as an example.)
However, anyone you’ve worked closely with is fair game.
How to request one:
I suggest first asking for a recommendation by email or in person. Once the other person has agreed you can go into the LinkedIn system and prompt them to recommend you.
Here are some screenshots to walk you through how to do that.
Hope this post will inspire you to go out and ask for a recommendation from former or current colleagues!