How to Ask For (And Get) a Kick-Butt Linkedin Recommendation

Posted on October 19, 2017

This is a guest blog post written by Noelle Gross of  ngcareerstrategy.com.

There’s no greater feeling in the workplace than receiving recognition and praise for a job well done, especially when that praise is coming from your manager or senior leadership.  A few words can make those late nights and months of slaving away on a big project seem completely worth it.  While you may be tempted to bask in the temporary praise before moving on to the next project, take some time to capture the kudos and add to your career highlights for the rest of your network to see.  This is where Linkedin recommendations can be extremely valuable.

Linkedin recommendations while not necessary to achieve Linkedin all-star status or profile completeness, can be the icing on the cake when it comes to demonstrating the depth of your skills to the outside world. If you haven’t taken advantage of Linkedin recommendations, now is the perfect time.  Here are a few pointers on how to ask for, and get, a kick-butt Linkedin recommendation so you can check this off your profile beautification list!

Timing is Everything

There’s no time like the present when it comes to making the ask for a Linkedin recommendation.  Once your project, internship or job has been completed and your manager offers positive feedback, take that as your cue to start the conversation around a recommendation. This will ensure that your manager’s positive feelings about your work are fresh as well as his or her memory recall about specific impressive tasks or contributions.  Timing is also important because your manager will likely be busy thinking about the next big thing and constantly adding new priorities to his or her checklist (which may result in bumping your recommendation request to the bottom).  Leaving this conversation to wait will only work against you so seize the day and consider this part of your personal priority checklist for every project close-out with a new manager.

Make the Ask in Person

Linkedin makes the recommendation request extremely effortless allowing for one click of a button to send your ask through cyberspace.  However you’ll want to consider the receiving end and the dangers that exist when relying on any form of e-request.  Emails or any type of virtual messaging can tend to be lost, forgotten or given low priority in mail-heavy inboxes where other urgent matters might be piling up. And face it, as much as you gave your heart and soul to the project, your recommendation will likely not be high priority compared to the fires your manager has to put out.  Therefore, when your manager gives you praise, respond with humble gratitude and appreciation for the recognition as well as a brief request to capture the praise in writing via a Linkedin recommendation.  If your manager gives you praise via email, find a time to bump into him or her to share your response of gratitude and recommendation request.  This strategy will allow you to get your manager’s full attention as well as make a commitment in person (which will result in a greater sense of urgency on his/her part) .

Own the Ask & Set the Stage for Follow Up

When you are asking for the recommendation in person, it’s important that you take full control of the conversation and process including expectation setting around next steps.  This a a courtesy to your manager so he or she can make a mental note of what is required.  Once your manager agrees to write your recommendation, close the conversation with a sincere “thank you” followed by:

“In terms of next steps, I will send you a request via Linkedin’s recommendation feature. You can expect it by [insert timeline for sending request].  Would that be okay or would you prefer the request via email?”

This simple follow up conversation achieves a few goals.  It immediately puts your manager’s required action on his/her radar and eliminates any guesswork that might lead to procrastination.  It also notifies your manager of when to expect the request.  Finally, the follow up question also provides a direct insight for you, into where you need to send your request to make it convenient for your manager. Again, your manager is BUSY and a recommendation is a huge favor to ask, so you want to make this as easy as possible.

Don’t Force Writing

Now that your manager has agreed to the task at hand and is on the lookout for your request, you’ll want to get busy crafting an ask that is equally as effortless for your manager.  The best way to make your manager’s job easy as pie, is to write the recommendation for him/her because let’s be honest: writing is not considered easy (or fun) for most.  Take it upon yourself to write a recommendation based on the praise you’ve received already, noting specific tasks or achievements as per your manager.  The key to a good recommendation is being very specific and painting a nice picture for the other managers who might need someone like you. Therefore avoid general or vague language.

Present Options

Once you’ve come up with a sample recommendation for your manager to use, work it into your recommendation request by presenting options (similar to the follow up options presented).  Again, the point is to make this as effortless as possible on your manager and allow them to help you out on his/her terms.  Within your request, there are a few steps you’ll want to follow.

First, open the recommendation request with a “thanks again for agreeing to help me out with a Linkedin recommendation.”  You can even sweeten the pot by throwing in something about how you really enjoyed the project and helping your manager achieve this win.  Next, present a few options for your manager (in case he/she happens to be someone who likes to write).  Let your manager know that you have come up with a sample of what you are hoping for in case they need ideas OR in case they don’t have time to write something original.  Also let them know that this is just a suggestion and of course you would welcome their own words as well.  Then, don’t forget to insert your pre-crafted recommendation for copy/paste ease.

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up

Once you hit send, sit back and wait for the recommendation to be posted to your account.  You’ll have the option to review before it “goes live” on your Linkedin profile.  If you don’t hear back after a week, don’t be afraid to check in (in person).  It doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation.  Simply ask your manager if he/she received it and whether or not he/she was comfortable with sample recommendation.  Your manager will likely apologize for the delay and either share concerns or a timeline for when you can expect it.

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

Once you have received the recommendation, take a moment to pop into your manager’s office and share a word of thanks.  Let your manager know that you really appreciate their time and words (and anything else you appreciate about your manager). You can even offer to return the favor if they are looking for Linkedin recommendations.  “Thank you” is always better with eye contact and authenticity so consider this your project close-out task.  You’ll be glad you did and who knows? This may lead to more words of praise!

ABOUT: Noelle Gross

Noelle Gross, career coach and job search expert is the Founder of www.ngcareerstrategy.com  and www.theultimatelinkedin.com, a proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to master Linkedin to make it work for you.


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