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Netiquette and the Mechanics of LinkedIn Recommendations and Endorsements

There is simply nothing more useful than an authentic and from-the-heart endorsement or richly rewarded recommendation on LinkedIn, the world’s de facto connection utility. With a membership at some 400 million people, LinkedIn clearly is the platform of choice for business networking.

In today’s parlance you might characterize third party citations as earned endorsements or righteous recommendations. But the issue often is how do I get folks to write one for me without sacrificing authenticity or being too self-serving? And what is better, a full “recommendation” written by a co-worker, former boss or a quick “skills endorsement” notation by friend, family or colleague?

Herewith are some ideas and thoughts on the netiquette of successfully navigating the complexities of earning the 21st century’s version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
 

Full on Recommendation

A recommendation that is authored and written by a former boss or colleague is likely the most read and credible characterization of your skills and abilities. For one, it comes from someone who has worked with you, for you or been the recipient of your good efforts. Here’s how to get it done.

linkedin_recommendations

  • Only ask for a recommendation if you clearly have spent sufficient time with someone in a work environment that they can credibly comment on your skills, abilities, work style, leadership and accomplishments. And make certain you have worked with them for at least a year or more. Ask them only if you are comfortable with the relationship.
     
  • The best recommendations are those authored and written by the endorser. Provide only bullet points for areas to cover. To maintain integrity, do not write the endorsement yourself.
     
  • Include colleagues, subordinates, bosses, customers and others who have benefitted from your blood, sweat and tears.
     
  • Exclude family and close friends as they have a vested interest in your welfare and likely will say only the nicest of compliments. Credibility with this group is not as high. And please, do not ask your Mom. There is a premium on space.
     
  • When you receive the note from LinkedIn that someone has penned a recommendation, avoid the inclination to edit or over edit. These are not your words so only make corrections of fact. And don’t forget to thank the person for the recommendation. As to reciprocity, do it only if asked and you feel qualified to comment on the person’s achievements and abilities.
     
  • Pay it forward and don’t wait for the request. Always think about those with whom you have worked and collaborated. If there are people in your career sphere who have been exceptional, LinkedIn recommendations are the ideal platform to give recognition. The operative axiom is “It is far better to give than receive.”
     

LinkedIn Endorsements

An endorsement on LinkedIn is akin to a kind word, a validation of a particular skill or attribute. The endorsement feature was launched several years ago to some controversy. It had pros and cons by the membership. You either like the feature or you don’t. Therefore tread lightly. Here is how.

linkedin_endorsements

  • Make certain you yourself have listed all of the skills you employ to do a particular job for a given employer, past or present.
     
  • Throw caution to wind and let nature takes it course. If the skills listed are real and your have exhibited them in your respective jobs, people will naturally endorse you. Trust me on this.
     
  • If you are active and engaged on LinkedIn and give credit (to people in your network) where credit is due and appropriate, people will reciprocate without prompting.
     
  • As with recommendations, endorse others if it is warranted and you want to recognize performance, brilliance and accomplishments. Don’t do it willy nilly.

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About the author

BlueSteps Member Executive Guest Writer

Gerard F. Corbett is Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Redphlag LLC, a strategic public relations, marketing management and executive coaching firm.  He also is an instructor on branding at UC Berkeley, Extension, and is Past Chair & Chief Executive Officer of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA,) the world’s largest member organization of public relations practitioners. He is accredited in public relations (APR) and a member of the PRSA College of Fellows.

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I agree that there's no reason why someone should NOT ask for a recommendation from current or former colleagues and associates. When I struck out on my own I did just that; I think the number of endorsements in my LI profile has helped tremendously when new clients are doing due diligence. And I'm always happy to return the favor for those I've worked with in the past (as long as they're deserved).

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