Many business professionals underestimate the power of LinkedIn — specifically, its recommendations feature. This functionality on the site allows users to recommend other users they’ve done business with.
This is powerful for a few different reasons. Your LinkedIn profile serves as an online resume of sorts. Because you’re not limited to a number of pages (most believe a paper resume shouldn’t be longer than a page), you can expand on your experience a bit and add more details than you normally could.
At least 80% of those in hiring positions are using LinkedIn to recruit candidates. So as more and more people start looking at your online presence when considering you for a position, having a healthy amount of recommendations from your colleagues can signal to an employer that you’re a more qualified candidate. It’s a great way to highlight your strengths without sounding like you’re bragging or exaggerating your contributions.
There are two different ways to go about receiving a recommendation on LinkedIn. You can either flat out request a recommendation (a more direct approach), or write a recommendation for someone you’ve worked with. Not only is it a nice thing to do because it helps beef up their LinkedIn profile, but you’ll find that, more often than not, they return the favor.
If you’re the one writing the recommendation, be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, “Joe was a hard worker,” say something like, “When our digital team really needed a home run for a new business presentation, Joe stayed late into the night, researching the competition and developing a strategy that best fit the potential client’s needs.” Also, try to speak to attributes that might strongly position them for a new job in the same field, instead of talking about qualities that might only make him or her successful at the current company.
So I’m throwing down a challenge to you as you read this blog. If you haven’t signed up for LinkedIn, do that, first and foremost. But the challenge is to write a recommendation for a former or current colleague. Be genuine, be specific and really try to illustrate who that person is as an employee. I’m sure you’ll find they’re delighted with the unsolicited recommendation, and will be eager to return the favor.