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You have spent a few hours working on your LinkedIn Profile, you have added a professional picture, updated your work history, skills, projects, etc. You have also spent time expanding your connections on LinkedIn & growing your network. Great job so far!!

One of the most overlooked features of LinkedIn is the Recommendations section. Your past colleagues, customers can post references on your profile for everyone to see. This is like having a virtual billboard where people who had been happy with your services, can tell others on the quality of your work.

Imagine that your old boss wanted to give you exceptional reviews/references on how valuable you were to her team. LinkedIn can help you do that with the Recommendations function.

So How Do You Get More Recommendations?

Definitely, Don’t be this guy…

LinkedIn has default texts/canned responses that you can use, to send to your contacts. However, I strongly discourage this. Sending a canned response is not personal & it lacks credibility.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You want them to write a personalized and kick-ass recommendation. And you send them a canned response. What do you think their reaction will be?

The most effective method I have used to gain LinkedIn Recommendations (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/nissarahamed) is to Recommend them first.

Yes, instead of asking them for it, and hoping that they would recommend – Be Proactive, be the first one to recommend them.

Dr.Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, talks about the concept of Reciprocity. The Rule of Reciprocity firmly states that we are all bound- even driven – to repay acts of kindness or favors others impose on us. You feel obligated to repay. It is almost an automatic behavior.

Go back to a time when someone did something nice for you. Let’s say a colleague bought you coffee. You feel obliged to repay the kindness by buying her coffee the next time. The same thing goes with gift-giving during the Holiday Season. People love to receive, but as humans, we also love to give.

Go through all your LinkedIn contacts. Chances are you have either known them through your school, your work. Start writing Recommendations for your past colleagues. The most important thing is that these recommendations are genuine. I never recommend writing/asking for references from people you have no history with. The most annoying thing being on LinkedIn is receiving recommendation requests from people you have never worked with. What are they thinking?

If you have ex-bosses, past managers as part of your LinkedIn connections, write recommendations for them too.

Most people will appreciate your gesture. A huge percentage of this group will reciprocate in kind. They will start writing recommendations for you before you even ask them.

I will share with you my success with this strategy. Over the years, I have written recommendations for about 46 individuals – past managers, colleagues, suppliers, classmates, etc.

It actually felt very good when writing Recommendations for others. It gives you an altruistic feeling (trust me).

Over the years I have received 24 LinkedIn Recommendations. So for every 2 recommendations, I have written, 1 person has responded in kind. That’s not a bad ratio.

In summary, the fastest & effective way to gain recommendations is to write GENUINE & reliable recommendations for others. Soon, they will reciprocate in kind.

The more LinkedIn Recommendations you have on your profile – the stronger you come across as a reliable candidate to recruiters and hiring managers. It definitely enhances your credibility and marketability.

What are you waiting for? Get started on your quest for more LinkedIn Recommendations.


Written By
Nissar Ahamed is the Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. Podcast

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