The Secret to Getting Recommendations on LinkedIn

LinkedIn recommendations can be a great way to prove yourself to people who find you while searching the social network. The process LinkedIn actually recommends for getting recommendations, however, is definitely not the best way to do so. Let’s take a look at the secret that will help you to obtain more recommendations.

Why should you even be worried about this in the first place? When people visit your profile, one of the things they can see is the number of people who have recommended you. The higher that number is, the more likely it is they’ll want to do business with you. That’s even more applicable if they actually know any of the people listed.

LinkedIn makes it very easy to ask for recommendations. Don’t!

Although that’s their suggestion for getting them, through my own tests on my account and the accounts of others, I’ve discovered a secret that results in many, many more recommendation than by simply asking. Ready for the secret?

Give before you get.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Law of Compensation applies here. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially he said, “To get more, you must first give more.” In fact, although LinkedIn recommends asking, their system is actually wired to work better for those giving them. The first thing you’ll want to do is go through your contact list and pick out people that you know, like and trust, and that you’re pretty sure feel the same way about you. Obviously, you don’t want to lie just to get more recommendations, so this step is fairly important. You can choose people you’ve done business with, but you can also pick someone you’re in a professional organization with, or even someone who has been a client or customer of yours.

Next, you recommend them. Write a brief description of why you feel you can give them your endorsement, then submit it. They will receive an e-mail asking them to approve your recommendation so it can be shown on their profile. Immediately after they approve it, it will be displayed on their profile. LinkedIn will then suggest they return the favor.

Of course, not everyone you recommend will do so. But within two to three days, you’ll generally see a 10 percent to 20 percent response rate of people recommending you back.

So start going through your list of contacts today and see whom you can recommend.

Tim Priebe is a public speaker, author, columnist, and the owner of T&S Web Design in Oklahoma City. He has been working on websites since 1997, and has experience in areas such as search engine optimization, blogging, e-mail newsletter marketing and social media, among others. He regularly assists clients with their presence on social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube.

About the author

Tim Priebe

Business owner, author, speaker, husband, father. Check out my company's online marketing blog.


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  • It is unethical to give a recommendation and expect it back from the same person. When I see that someone has recommendations from the same people that they have recommended, I don’t do business with them. Patting each other on the back isn’t what LinkedIn is about.

  • Keith, I agree in principle that you should not give a recommendation just to give a recommendation. You absolutely should only do it for people you would recommend in real life. However, what I’ve seen work for building up my own recommendations and the recommendations of others, is to be active in giving those honest recommendations.

    Helping others before they help you, with no set expectations, is not only what LinkedIn is about, it’s what life should be about.

  • There’s no denying the awesome reach and power of the latest social network to grace our screens – LinkedIn

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