One important aspect of your Linkedin Profile is the endorsements you get from people you know on Linkedin. Endorsements give your profile credibility by linking it back into ‘real life’.
So how to get the five endorsements Linkedin recommends you aim for?
We were discussing this on twitter tonight and the suggestion arose that getting five recommendations would require you to give out at least eight. The implication here might be, that if you scratch your colleagues backs, they will scratch yours.
The problem with this approach is that it looks all wrong. It looks as if you have bought your recommendation with one for the recommender. Even if you haven’t. What’s worse, these reciprocal endorsements both show up on your profile, often at or near the same time, just to reinforce the effect.
The answer of course, is to be genuine. This will give you credibility. Here’s my advice.
How to get great recommendations on Linkedin
Look at your network and find at least half a dozen people who you might recommend to a close friend as a potential employee, supplier or even customer. Draft the most important, most heartfelt of these endorsements up and recommend one of these people.
Aim to do one endorsement a month. Not too many, take your time and think about what you can say about the person that will reassure exactly the type of person they want to work with.
As for your own recommendations, be proactive. Think about your career development plan, your business development plan, your marketing strategy, your targets. Look at your network. Whom do you know who is well connected to your target audience, with whom you have worked? That is your ideal endorsement. Ask for it.
Don’t ask for more than one endorsement at a time. Make it the right one. And don’t do it cold, build it into your networking strategy. When did you last meet this person for a drink? When did you last talk about your plans and theirs? Before you ask for a testimonial, warm it up a bit. You want the person to naturally say yes, and follow through with a perfectly balanced endorsement, so invest in it.
As you can tell, I see linkedin as a very professional place, and your linkedin profile as a rather special place to let someone into. Linkedin is your credibility, so think about how to reinforce it.
Image: Chain by Matti Mattila (creative commons)