It’s hard to believe, but LinkedIn is a teenager. In a quick 17 years, it has become one of the most important social media tools for those looking to make a career change or to land the perfect job.
With over 500 million users, LinkedIn offers access to nine million organizations and generally has over 10 million job opportunities on any given day. It’s literally a gold mine for boosting anyone’s career.
Human resources directors and hiring managers look at an applicant’s LinkedIn profile for a number of reasons, such as employment verification, education and industry knowledge. And because the job market is tight, recruiters are proactively reaching out to potential candidates via LinkedIn.
Even if you’re not looking for a job at the moment, you should keep your personal profile current, simply because a big opportunity might be right around the corner.
How do potential employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate people? One way is through recommendations that serve as social “proof” of worth, similar to reviews on consumer sites.
LinkedIn recommendations are an easy way to keep your profile up-to-date and, as a bonus, requesting recommendations keeps you in touch with valuable networking contacts. Here are three ways you can get more recommendations for your profile:
1. Go to the “Ask to be Recommended” button. This is the quickest and easiest way to solicit comments from a former employer, coworker or professional contact. To find it, click on your photo and then scroll down the page to “Recommendations.” Click on the button to start the process.
2. Don’t forget vendors. If you have a long-term relationship with a vendor or agency, ask the salesperson for a recommendation. He or she can comment on your abilities to manage budgets, deadlines, product development and more.
3. Volunteer in a charitable organization? Do you serve on the board of a nonprofit? Are you a volunteer coach in your kid’s soccer club? Any service time that you donate to a worthy cause might pay off in LinkedIn recommendations. Be selective, though; only ask people for recommendations that you’ve had a chance to get to know and who have seen your time commitment in action.
At the end of the day, it’s not the number of LinkedIn recommendations you have garnered, it’s their quality. You want someone to comment specifically on your skills, talents, knowledge and pursuits. If that person has a higher level job title it will lend even more credibility to you when they share how great it is to work with you.
When asking for a recommendation, tell your colleagues exactly what you have in mind. As an example, if you’re a project manager, ask him or her to evaluate your time management. If you work in healthcare, perhaps you’d like someone to comment on your compassionate approach.
Make it a goal for September: obtain at least one new LinkedIn recommendation per week…then see where that leads.
Got a LinkedIn recommendation tip? Let us know!