Most of us are on Linkedin; we have pimped our profiles and thrown in the buzzwords so that we can be found by whoever has a nice juicy opportunity for us. Apart from joining and getting active in groups, the best way to raise your profile is to get online testimonials from people you know professionally.

The beauty of Linkedin recommendations is that everyone can see who has endorsed you. No more of that “references provided upon request” b-s, the references are right there on your profile and you can leverage them as much as you like. Recruiters, HR and hiring managers all skim the recommendations section of your profile so it’s worth investing some time in getting the right ones. Every time you do get a recommendation, it will appear on your contacts’ home feeds and thus giving you an additional plug.

How many LinkedIn recommendations are normal?

Some employers claim not to consider applicants with less than ten recommendations on their profiles. Other employers couldn’t care less. To play it safe, I would recommend anyone to get to at least ten recommendations and build from there. Getting them is not going to hurt and it will also allow you to pick up contact with old colleagues, clients, and partners. A good rule of thumb is to get two to three recommendations from each job you have had.

How can I get more?

Social media networking is all about karma and the best way to get a recommendation is to write one first. Pick someone that you would love to get an endorsement from, write them an honest and useful recommendation and they are bound to reciprocate.

Another way is to ask people just after you have done them a favor; your goodwill is still fresh in their minds. This is a classic trick of the trade for recruiters and is typically applied just after you they have found you a new job. If if you have got more money and responsibility, you will be happy to write something nice for the recruiter in return. Learn from the masters and apply this to your situation. Whatever it is you do in your profession, ask for the recommendation when you most deserve it.

Put it on a plate

Everyone is busy these days, or at least they think they are. You will get people promising to write you a recommendation but they don’t deliver and keep dragging their feet. Just like with your typical employment reference, you can provide them with a little text or bullet points you put together. They can then choose to publish it or make amendments. The point is that you make it easy enough for them to take action.

Who do I ask for a recommendation?

Whoever you request a recommendation from, consider how it will be perceived by the reader. Recruiters and employers are likely to rate it by who wrote it and therefore the more influential people, the better. Having a CEO endorsement on your profile could do more for your job search than ten from your colleagues.

Strive for diversity as well as quality. You will want your recommendations to be from a tasty mélange of colleagues, customers, managers, partners, suppliers and anyone else that is relevant to your professional career. Too many from one of these groups will look weird, so try to keep a nice balance.

Stay away from any recommendations written by friends and family unless you have actually worked with them. In case you are a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker), you might be requested to write a recommendation for a random connection. Although they promise to do the same for you, it’s not worth it as it will completely wipe out your credibility as a networker.

Call to action

Get busy with recommendations today; it will typically take a few weeks to get to ten of them. Just like with any personal branding, you want to get cracking on it now so that you are prepared for when you need it the most.

How many recommendations do you have and have they helped you at all?

More LinkedIn tips at our central London LinkedIn workshops!

Image credit Paolo Camera

The original Undercover Recruiter, after 7 years in tech recruiting Jorgen now runs Link Humans, a social media agency in London.