I have to admit that I have neglected LinkedIn for a long time. Although I hopped on its platform years ago, most of my social time and energy went to the more playful and engaging sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
And then the light bulb went off.
It happened one morning while I was watching CNBC’s Squawk Box when I heard Joe and Becky singing their praises about LinkedIn. They said that, although LinkedIn wasn’t as sexy as the other social sites, it was the “go-to” place for serious professionals and business owners (and motivational and business speakers). Its core users are those who wanted to make strategic connections and grow their brands.
With more than 350 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Business owners and career professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at an astounding rate of more than 2.5 new members per second. And that’s just the beginning of LinkedIn’s potential.
After hearing all that, I got serious about LinkedIn!
One of the areas that I truly love on LinkedIn is the Recommendations Section. It’s the place where you get to leave a recommendation for your connections, who are friends, colleagues, vendors, customers, and even ex-customers. Now, to be clear, I am not talking about the skills endorsement section where you just click on skills that LinkedIn suggests. To me that whole concept seems so fake, but that’s another blog post.
I am talking about the area where you get to actually write out a more in-depth and thoughtful recommendation for your connections. Posting a recommendation on LinkedIn is so much easier than sending a letter, and much more visible and permanent than an email as it will be there on their LinkedIn site forever. Now, that’s powerful!
Writing a recommendation for others has benefits not only to the person whom you are honoring, but it is also a light that reflects on you as the writer. When you write a thoughtful recommendation, it tells the reader who you are in addition to the person you are praising. It can give us a peek into your personality, humanity, and your style.
Here are some tips on how to write a great LinkedIn recommendation (watch the video for examples):
- Start with a killer first line that is authentic and memorable.
- Describe your relationship—tell us how you know the person.
- Share how their behavior, actions, or contributions helped you.
- Try to give an example of how they empowered their client, team, or organization.
- End with a note about the personal aspect of working with him/her.
Oh, one more thing.
When you ask for a recommendation, make sure that you only ask people you know. Also make sure that you have a comfortable enough relationship with them to ask them to recommend you. Just because you are connected on LinkedIn or are Facebook buddies does not mean that they are informed enough to comment on your body of work. When I get requests from people I do not know, it is uncomfortable and a bit awkward.
If you get in the habit of writing one or two recommendations a week, you will find that you do not have to ask for recommendations. I call it the act of reciprocity. When people see that I have written a killer recommendation praising their professional talents, they more than likely will return the favor.
What are you waiting for? Start writing!