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4 Reasons You Need LinkedIn Recommendations

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 06-10-2016 Hannah Morgan

Do you really need written recommendations to land a job? We live in a networked world in which relationships and reputations matter. LinkedIn recommendations validate your reputation based on the endorsements from people who have seen your work in action. 

Think about the last time you were online buying something. Did you happen to notice the product reviews or even a lack of reviews? According to BrightLocal, a provider of search engine optimization reporting and citation management for businesses,92 percent of consumers read online reviews. Employers are like buyers and want to make sure the person they hire will be a good investment. Recommendations help eliminate some of the perceived risk involved in hiring a potential candidate. Keep in mind, employers will still ask for a list of your references before hiring you to further authenticate your experience. 

When a recruiter searches for someone to fill an opening, it is very likely they are reviewing LinkedIn profiles either during the screening process or after an interview. In fact, according to Jobvite's most recent study, 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate candidates. The hiring process is complex and recruiters assess candidates by many different elements such as relevant work experience, technical skills, tenure in jobs, performance and cultural fit. Recommendations can help recruiters evaluate and assess all of these criteria.

Here's why you should add getting recommendations to your to-do list.

Testament of your strengths

© Getty Images Under each job on your LinkedIn profile, you've described your key accomplishments and referenced skills and attributes you used to succeed. A written recommendation from a supervisor adds a level of credibility. It supports your performance and endorses the skills you've referenced. Since recruiters are often skeptical of candidates' claims, a recommendation can remove some of the doubt. A well-written recommendation will also speak to your attitude and work ethic. It can provide recruiters with insight on how well you may fit on a team or within an organization. Recruiters are increasingly concerned about finding candidates who will be a cultural fit. Many recruiters would be interested in interviewing a candidate with a recommendation that starts with: "Jane Doe's project management skills and meticulous attention to detail made her the hero of the year! We couldn't have done it without her."

Public proof

© Getty Images

Back in the day when hard copy letters of recommendation were used, these valuable endorsements were private and only shared upon request. Today, LinkedIn recommendations provide public proof of your skills and abilities. Recommendations are tied to the profile of the person who writes them, which means their reputation is on the line. Be sure to set your public profile settings so that your recommendations are displayed and visible to anyone who looks at your profile. 

Be a stand-out candidate

© Getty Images LinkedIn recommendations help differentiate you from other candidates. As you look at the profiles of your friends and colleagues, how many have included recommendations? Many LinkedIn users do not take the time to ask for recommendations either because they don't know how or don't want to pester people. To ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, go to your profile and click the down arrow to the right of the blue "view my profile" button. Next, select "ask to be recommended" from the drop-down options and then follow the prompts to request the recommendation. Keep in mind, recommendations aren't easy to write. One trick to getting people to respond to your request for a recommendation is to remind the person about the specific details, skills and projects you want endorsed. There are no guarantees the person will write a recommendation, but you've at least made it easier by providing suggestions on what to write about. 

Stay in touch and top of mind

© Getty Images If you don't have recommendations on LinkedIn yet, now is the time. But in order to ask for a recommendation, you first need to be connected on LinkedIn with your past supervisors, colleagues and clients. Personalize your invitation to connect and give a heads up that you will be sending a request for a recommendation. If you are actively job seeking, you should also include that in your message. You never know what opportunities may be available or who they may know. People often find it difficult to stay connected and network, and asking for a recommendation is one way to keep your network active.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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