Is LinkedIn the New Yelp of Recommendations?


I love getting LinkedIn recommendations from people I’ve worked with. Peers, managers, even persons I’ve formed great working relationships with online, given the nature of my job: It’s all good.

I’m stating it that way because I don’t want to convey that I don’t like getting recommendations (that would be silly!). But I’ve just received one that said:

“Very impressive resume and skill set, any employer would be lucky to have you!”

I’m not sure what to do about this, because:

1) I’ve never worked with this person.
2) The person attached it to a job from 2009.
3) The statement doesn’t really mean anything.

I’m not saying the statement isn’t nice and flattering. I assume this person took the time to vet my profile. I’m not sure why the person settled on an older job, but that’s not the biggest issue here.

Would an employer think highly of me for posting a stranger’s assessment that basically says, “What’s written here looks nice”?

It would add to my overall number of recommendations, sure, but on the flip side, would I want the kind of employer who values style over substance?

Yet on sites such as Yelp, you’ll see reviews from strangers that range from style–“This is great!”–to substance–“From start to finish, X business delivers quality customer support by doing Y and Z.” And we accept those reviews and factor them into our internal pros-and-cons system. In fact, the more reviews about a place, the more we’re likely to find favor with it (unless they’re negative, of course)*.

LinkedIn recommendations should reflect your work, not the way you wrote about your work. Anyone can see how you wrote about your work. Now, I crafted my profile so that it reflects my achievements, skills, and goals, and hopefully invites further conversation. I’m concerned that if I post this style of recommendation, it would reflect badly on my credibility.

What do you think? Is this kind of recommendation no big deal?

*This may be just my personal view.

3 Tips On How to Ask For A LinkedIn Recommendation

recommendation handshake

My recent post on illustrated the wrong way to ask someone to rate your work on LinkedIn. What are some of the right ways?

Here are three suggestions:

1. Pay it forward before you even ask. One of the best ways to generate good will is to return the favor ahead of time. Rate or recommend the person you’re asking, then send your own request. This should be a sincerely thought-out recommendation, since you value the person enough to ask them in the first place, right?

2. Send the request to one person at a time. Clumping together people by alphabet in a mass email sends the nonverbal message that you favor quantity over quality. Look at it this way: You’re asking someone to take the time to rate your work, which ultimately reflects on you personally. Take the time in turn to give each person the courtesy of a personal message.

3. Feel free to get specific. LinkedIn provides a template for your request. Don’t use it. You don’t have to write a book, just craft a few lines about what and why you’re asking. You can mention a project you both worked on, or how great it is that you got to know the person since you met, and so on. And yes, you can say that you’re job-hunting and would love a recommendation of your work. We’ve all been there and most folks should have no problem with that.

Note: I should add, though I wish I didn’t have to, that you still should have worked with the person in some capacity before you ask to be recommended, or make sure it’s clearly noted that this is a personal character reference (if that’s even suitable for LinkedIn, which is debatable).

What tips do you have for asking for a recommendation?

Pic from here.