How to Get a Great LinkedIn Recommendation Without Asking

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Is this how you feel when you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation?

A friend of mine has confused asking for a LinkedIn recommendation with promiscuous sex and used car sales.  “It makes me feel cheap, pushy, and desperate,” he explains.  I ask if he would prefer that people just write recommendations for him completely on their own initiative without any requests from him.  He rolls his eyes. Of course that’s what he wants.  Am I an idiot?  That’s what everyone wants.  Then I ask, “So when’s the last time you wrote an unsolicited recommendation for someone else?”

What’s preventing you from writing an unsolicited recommendation?

My friend never wrote a recommendation on his own for the same excuses you are thinking right now.  If they wanted a recommendation, why didn’t they ask? I’m soooo busy!  No one has ever done one for me.  Wah!

Enough excuses.  Writing one will give you a bigger lift than anything else you do today. So, take five minutes out of your busy television or web surfing schedule and look at your LinkedIn contacts.  Who did  you love working with?  Who had a big impact on a project you were on?  Who would you gladly give a recommendation to, if only they weren’t so afraid to ask?  Write one right now. Be sincere. Be specific.  Think about what hiring managers or clients should know about them.

Karma is a wonderful thing

Take a moment to think how great you would feel if you saw a recommendation suddenly appear on your profile.   When you submit your recommendation, LinkedIn will notify your connection. Now think how they will feel when they see what you wrote. They will probably get inspired.  Inspired to write a recommendation.

Why giving recommendations makes you look good

Even if you don’t get a recommendation from this particular person (although the chances are good),  writing one reflects well on you.  A LinkedIn profile looks pathetic when you see the person has written zero recommendations.  Does no one want your recommendation? Or are you too lazy to write one?  Write some recommendtions and no one has to dwell on those questions about you.

Mojo Moves

  1. Think about three people you would love to give a recommendation to
  2. Are they one of your LinkedIn connections?  If not ask them now
  3. Go spread some digital Karma

How do you feel about asking for recommendations?  We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.

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  • Alison Romain

    I got spooked by Linkedin when it sent e-mails to people on my contact list that I did not authorize. It sent e-mails saying that I invited them to join when I had not done so. Therefore I assumed is was some sort of phishing scam and have ignored it ever since.

    • Jill

      I agree. I have been very hesitant about Linkedin. I was not sure how certain people got my email and I was not sure that I would want them to know my business nor would I want to do business with them.

      • Deborah

        They won’t get your personal email unless you agree to link with them. If you don’t want to respond to a LinkedIn request you can simply ‘Archive’ it when it comes in and they will never know.

        • Sally

          My personal policy on LinkedIn is similar to my personal policy on Facebook. If I get a request from someone that I don’t know or don’t want to connect with, I just ignore/archive it. Simple as that! I probably ignore about as many as I accept.

          LinkedIn does not send emails that you don’t authorize but I do think it’s fairly easy, given the way their system works, to accidently send invitations. I’ve almost done it myself.

  • Deborah

    I’ve been very wary of the whole ‘recommendations’ thing on LinkedIn for the all the reasons given. But as I reviewed the request for a grad school recommendation from a young contact I truly respect (most of which are submitted online these days) I realize it isn’t such a big deal to highlight a colleague’s strengths to a broader audience.

  • Ellen

    I haven’t done this in a while, because I’m older and no longer in the job market, by choice.
    But back in the day, I gave unsollicted recommendations when colleagues left the company, for example, or moved to a new position, and those people returned the favor. So if you don’t want to ask for one, then be generous and give.

  • Sally

    You’ve inspired me! I’m adding this as a to-do on my holiday project list – “share the LinkedIn love”. I did receive one unsolicited recommendation and I was so touched that I actually cried.

    • Susan Kim

      What a great holiday gift idea. Best of all, you know that no one will return or re-gift it!

    • Per-Ola

      Yup, agree. Little things that really do not cost much, but might move mountains!

  • John

    Wonderful idea of digital karma! It inspired me to start with writing LinkedIn recommendations but I faced one immediate challenge. I am bad at creative writing and thought, I am doing more harm by writing bad articulated, poor recommendations. I was desperately looking for help and luckily stumbled upon this book, “101 LinkedIn Recommendations”( It helped me. Sharing with all and hoping that it will help other people like me.

    • Susan Kim

      John, you bring up a good point. Some people are worried that a badly written recommendation is worse than none at all.
      Couple of things to keep in mind:

      1. Unless it truly is badly written–getting a recommendation is better than getting none.
      2. The recipient has to approve the recommendation. So if it’s really horribly written, they can nicely reply back to you with some suggested edits.
      3. Great advice to look on line for how to write a good recommendation. Thanks for the link.
      4. If in doubt, show it to a friend who is either a good writer or high up in the management food chain and get their advice.

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