By Adrienne Erin
Online Career Tips, Contributor
With over 250 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social networking site for the professional niche, allowing users to discover and maintain business relationships. Features like customizable profiles and job search have been longtime features of LinkedIn. Just last year, LinkedIn unveiled an endorsements feature, which allowed users from various lines of work to endorse their connections. Both endorsements and recommendations are displayed prominently on member profiles, prompting the question: Just how much is a LinkedIn recommendation worth?
What are LinkedIn Recommendations and Endorsements?
Recommendations on LinkedIn are the online equivalent of job references. One of several differences is that LinkedIn recommendations are generally more formal. Whereas LinkedIn recommendations are textual, LinkedIn endorsements – a separate feature – are displayed via a graphic on a user’s profile, where skills like “Blogging,” “Web Design,” and “Public Relations” are displayed to the right of a number, which signifies how many of that user’s connections endorsed them for that particular skill. It’s quicker to provide an endorsement than it is to write a recommendation. Endorsements only require specifying a skill, whereas recommendations involve writing in detail about a working relationship.
How do You Get LinkedIn Recommendations?
The best method for getting LinkedIn recommendations is to connect with relevant users, especially those with an already established business relationship. LinkedIn offers a People You May Know feature where users can find real-life connections via e-mail and other search methods. After connecting with these users on LinkedIn, leave them a recommendation. In all likelihood, if both users are on good terms, the other user will return the favor. Employing a similar strategy with strangers in a relevant niche on LinkedIn may generate recommendations occasionally, but with significantly less success.
What are LinkedIn recommendations good for?
Although their worth is debatable, there is no way for recommendations on LinkedIn to hurt a user’s job prospects. If anything, they’re an effective way of asserting skills listed on a resume. Some tech-savvy or progressive employers may value LinkedIn recommendations over others, in particular, businesses in the public relations and SEO niches. They will view a job candidate positively when he or she is able to generate attention on social media.
Recommendations can help attract clients for geographic-specific and client-dependent services as well. For example, a Vegas divorce lawyer with many LinkedIn recommendations may attract users that search on LinkedIn for users with the occupation “Divorce Lawyer.” These users may then view the divorce lawyer’s profile, and see the glowing recommendations. As simple as that, LinkedIn recommendations can generate clientele.
Why Aren’t They as Important as Real Job Recommendations?
LinkedIn recommendations may be an influential factor with some employers. For the most part, however, traditional job references remain more highly prioritized in HR departments. It’s much easier for someone to recommend a user on LinkedIn than it is to be listed on a resume as a reference. Employers know this. If someone is willing to provide their phone number and time to discuss someone’s strengths, then the employer knows they are being genuine in their recommendation. A block of text on LinkedIn just doesn’t have the resonance of an affirmative phone call, where a reference can describe one’s strengths and potential fit with more animation and affirmation.
While LinkedIn recommendations certainly can’t hurt, they should not be weighed heavily when applying to jobs. Compared to digital-based recommendations, traditional job references still reign supreme in HR departments. Most employers still want to speak directly with references, so they can ask specific questions relevant to the open job. It’s exceedingly more difficult for employers to evaluate the quality of a LinkedIn recommendation and decide whether it’s genuine acclaim or simply an exchanging of favors.
What value do you place on your LinkedIn recommendations? Share in the comments below!
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