With social media on the rise and the majority of professionals being building profiles on such sites as Facebook and LinkedIn, one starts to wonder how much these profiles make a difference in a professional setting. I have been approached by many candidates concerning their LinkedIn profiles and one of the reoccurring topics is that of recommendations. How do you get them? How many should you have? Do hiring companies take these into consideration? I will say that recommendations are extremely helpful, but they do not override your experience or add to your relevancy in a candidate search. I have had several candidates who have approached me saying that they should be considered for a job that they have no experience with based on their LinkedIn recommendations. Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. A recommendation on LinkedIn cannot get your foot in the door, but it can help you stay on the other side of the door once it's opened. What many HR managers will do once they decide to talk to a candidate is look at their social networking profiles, such as LinkedIn. They look at how the candidate present themselves and if there are any recommendations that back up what is on the resume. A solid recommendation from a manager, boss or company superior can be extremely helpful in terms of solidifying your candidacy and helping build your reputation with the hiring company. However, your LinkedIn profile will not be the only social media profile that they take a look at. Nowadays, hiring manager or HR executives will look to see if you're on Facebook or Myspace and they will rifle through your profile to try to learn more about your personal life. Pictures that make it look like you party on the weekends with rock bands probably will not help you out.
LinkedIn recommendations can also be helpful for you when a recruiter is trying to recruit off of LinkedIn and reach out to those candidates they find relevant. One of the things we look for when recruiting off of LinkedIn is recommendations. It may not be the deciding factor but the person with multiple strong recommendations may be the first one to get a call.
So, how do you go about getting LinkedIn recommendations? You can ask your managers and colleagues but I don't suggest that you badger people to write about you. Instead, write one for someone else. Go about it with a karmic approach and write for a former colleague or manager that you feel strongly that deserves your kind words. You won't always get a recommendation back from that person but they will be more likely to write great things about you if you recommend them first. You may receive a recommendation out of the blue, and when you do, make sure you return the favor. Getting recommendations will help you build your professional reputation, but so will giving them. So don't neglect that long list of recommendations that you should make because it might help you out in the long run.