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How to get LinkedIn recommendations – without feeling awkward

Mark Daniel //  0 Comments

You know it makes sense to have them but how do you ask for LinkedIn recommendations without feeling uncomfortable? Try this


How many times do we see testimonials on adverts or websites?  A great Service (AG Brisbane)  I couldn’t believe the quality of service, I will recommend all the time? (Peter, Dagenham)

Do you believe them? Are you a little bit suspicious? I know I am.

I tend to feel a little better when I see the testimonial with a photograph like this from one of mine below.

mark daniel recommendations from LinkedIn

I think this type of LinkedIn recommendation is as good as it gets.  The testimonial is from a real person, you can click and see who they are, they are genuine and they usually say that little bit more than “a great service”. 

Of course, there can still be false testimonials, but you would have to go to some effort.

What are LinkedIn recommendations?

This is what LinkedIn tell us about the recommendation process.

LinkedIn tell us that a recommendation is a commendation written by a LinkedIn member to recognise your work.

You can request recommendations from your 1st-degree connections you work with, have worked with, mentored as a client, and can be an employee or employer.

If a connection writes you a recommendation, you’ll be notified via a message from the sender on LinkedIn. You can accept, dismiss or ask for revision of the recommendation.

Once you’ve accepted a recommendation from your connection, it’ll be visible to your network by default. You can later decide to hide a recommendation you’ve accepted if you want to.

You can also recognise your connections’ work by writing them a recommendation. However, if you receive a recommendation request, you can decline the request and you aren’t required to respond.

If you do write a recommendation and change your mind later, you have the option to revise a recommendation you’ve given or delete a recommendation. There's no limit to the number of recommendations you can request or give but you can request or give only one recommendation per position, per member.

The question is, is all this effort really worth it?

Are LinkedIn recommendations important?

Recommendations are the final touch to a complete profile.  Recruiters that I know will quickly scroll to the bottom of the profile to look at what people have to say about you.  It demonstrates professionalism, it shows people how you are thought of by peers, colleagues, ex-employers and it is easily accessible all in one place.

If a recruiter or hiring manager is looking at your profile, you can be confident they are also looking at others.  Some good recommendations on there is certainly not going to harm you at all and might just give you the edge over your competition.

So how many recommendations should I have?

My view is that you should aim for a Direct Manager and a Colleague from each role.  This demonstrates consistency in your performance.

If you have had multiple roles/titles within the same organisation, try to get a recommendation from each manager you had for those individual roles.

If you had multiple managers on the same role, getting one from the manager who knows your work the best can suffice.

Sometimes I get asked whether a direct report could write a recommendation.  I say yes, why not! This can be useful if you are trying to highlight your people-management or leadership skills.

Don’t fill your testimonial list with these though.  Use roughly four Managers/Colleagues to every one direct report.

How to ask for LinkedIn recommendations

request LinkedIn recommendation

The process of asking for a LinkedIn recommendation - from a connection's profile

Step 1

Navigate to the profile of the 1st-degree connection you'd like to request a recommendation from.

Step 2

Tap the More icon in the top section of the profile.

Step 3

Tap Request a recommendation. This will take you to the Ask [member name] to recommend you page.

Step 4

Select relationship and Select your occupation at the time from the dropdowns, and tap Next.

Step 5

You can include a personalized message with your request by changing the text in the message field.

Step 6

Tap Send.

The process of asking for a LinkedIn recommendation - from the recommendations section of your profile

Step 1

Tap your profile picture, then tap View Profile.

Step 2

Scroll down to the Recommendations section.

Step 3

Tap See all.

Step 4

Tap Ask to be recommended.

Step 5

Locate and tap the name of the connection you'd like to ask for a recommendation from the Connections list. This will take you to the Ask [member name] to recommend you page.

Step 6

Select relationship and Select your position at the time from the dropdowns, and tap Next.

Step 7

You can include a personalized message with your request by changing the text in the message field.

Step 8

Tap Send.

The wording of a LinkedIn recommendation request

If you use LinkedIn’s pre-populated script it will say this...

Hi Mark, would you write me a recommendation please?

I find this bland and cold - and definitely awkward!  

You may have not spoken to the person for a long time, so be warm, be personal.

This is what I use.  

It is relevant for me but it will give you some ideas on how to make it a little bit more personal.

So, once you have read it, think about yours and play around with a few ideas.

Hi Stephen,

If you get the time or have the inclination would you consider writing a recommendation for me on LinkedIn?  There are so many false testimonials all over the web, I prefer to use LinkedIn as I think it has more validity. 

If you don't think it appropriate don't worry I will still talk to you and continue to help where needed.  


What you should do when you get a response?

My preference is to accept the recommendation as it is, it keeps it real and honest. Not forgetting to thank the person, it’s just the right thing to do.

If, however you have a good relationship and you think they have missed something important in the recommendation LinkedIn gives you the ability to edit it and send it back to your referee for approval.

What if you don’t get a response?

If you are not able to get the recommendation from your direct manager for whatever reason, the next best option would be to get a recommendation for each role from a team member who has worked very close with you.

This could be:

  • A lateral cross functional team member
  • A project manager or lead
  • Anyone with day-to-day experience with how you approach your work and results
  • If people don’t respond, don’t pester them, move on.

You don’t want a recommendation from somebody you needed to nag or reprimand.  Simply request a recommendation from another manager, colleague or direct report.

Oh, and by the way - Don’t do this...

Believe it or not there are companies out there that you can use to buy connections and followers and even buy recommendations but just don’t do it. Don't be 'that person'.

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About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice and a prolific publisher, contributing to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 45,000 LinkedIn followers.

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