Getting a recommendation on LinkedIn can help your career. LinkedIn recommendations are valued by hiring managers. Why? 1. The first-degree connection giving the recommendation is visible, hence “researchable” on LinkedIn, 2. significant effort is involved in writing a recommendation, adding to the authenticity, and 3. the content’s often descriptive nature helps the hiring manager to understand your value. I would suggest getting at least three LinkedIn recommendations. LinkedIn considers three-plus recommendations to be a factor in “profile completeness,” which figures in it’s search rankings. You’ll place higher in someone’s LinkedIn search for a person with your skills if you have three or more recommendations, and thus improve your odds of being contacted about an opportunity.
When you request the recommendation (it needs to be from a 1st degree connection), include the areas of your experience that you want emphasized to make it easier for them to write a high-quality recommendation (don’t accept weak recommendations, as they can potentially hurt you!). If the “recommender” is very busy, you may want to offer to write a draft that they can then tweak. Be careful with this approach, as the one you write for yourself, on their behalf, may not be as strong as the one they would have written for you on their own!
What about LinkedIn “Endorsements?” This newish feature has generated mixed reviews. Many people (including myself) feel clicking on the endorsement button is too easy, resulting in too many endorsements for things the endorser doesn’t know about. This overuse of endorsements reduces the effectiveness of the whole feature. Internal and external recruiters who I speak with consistently say that they discount endorsements in their decision-making process, for this reason.
So, should you bother to get endorsements? Don’t go out of your way for the reasons just described, BUT, if you have many endorsements, it does look like you have at least something going for you. A high volume of endorsements says, at least, that you are good at getting endorsements! It also suggests that the people who have endorsed you like you. In that sense, a large volume of endorsements can add something positive to your profile.
I’ll be discussing how to rank highly in LinkedIn search results, and much more, in my June 4th, 7-8:30pm webinar on “Advanced LinkedIn.” You can also learn more about how to best use LinkedIn in service of your career in the newly updated (March 2013) version of my book “Your Social Media Job Search.”