Everyone knows LinkedIn recommendations look good, but few are aware of the most persuasive ways to use them to aid their job search.
When you're hunting for a job, what you're really doing is marketing yourself to an employer, and LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to sell yourself.
Employers are in the marketplace looking for the best candidate, and you're in the marketplace looking for the best position. Now, LinkedIn recommendations are essentially testimonials to your character and ability. And to marketers, testimonials are GOLD—especially focused ones that highlight the areas most important to your prospect (your future employer, in this case).
A marketer will tell you that you can make any claim you want, but it's not believable or effective unless you have solid proof.
And testimonials are the proof you need. They're a testament from a credible source saying that you're able to do what you claim you can.
3 Types Of LinkedIn Recommendations
Here are the three kinds of testimonials you need:
Expert testimonial - This can be from a mentor, boss, or teacher. Try to get one from a leader in your field if possible, since they'll be easily recognizable as an authority to your future employer.
Character testimonial - Friends, peers, and co-workers are great character testimonials. They can testify to your positive qualities and provide a more personal perspective.
Mentee testimonial - If you've helped someone along their way and they'll testify about the impact you've had on their life, that can be really powerful. Serving others shows strong leadership qualities, which is highly desirable to your dream employer.
How To Get LinkedIn Recommendations
There are two solid ways to get quality testimonials. The first works like karma: give recommendations to others—especially to people you would like one back from—and they'll likely return the favor. This is also a great way to serve your network.
You can also reach out to anyone in your network with a personal message saying something along the lines of:
"Hey [x], hope you're doing well. I'm looking to start my career in [y], and would really appreciate it if you would write a brief LinkedIn recommendation for me. I want to show my future employer that I'm [quality #1], [quality #2], and [quality #3], and I believe you're the best person to testify to that. By the way, if you'd like a recommendation touching on anything in particular, I'd be happy to write one for you as well."
How To Persuade Employers With LinkedIn Recommendations
Here are some ways you can use your LinkedIn recommendations:
Resume - The top of your resume that contains your contact information should also contain a link to your LinkedIn profile. This will give employers the option of looking at your profile, and if they're going to take the time to look at your profile, they'll likely look at your recommendations. Nowadays, most if not all employers will look you up on LinkedIn regardless of whether you include the link on your resume or not.
Website & Portfolio - If you have a personal website or portfolio, then this is a great place to put them.
References - Most job seekers have a good idea about who they want to use for professionals references, but if you're struggling, you could go back and look at your LinkedIn recommendations and put together a potential reference list based off your best recommendations.
The key to mastering the job search is finding a way to stand out as the best candidate, and there are cases where powerful LinkedIn recommendations can give you a major boost.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.