“92% of respondents reported that a positive recommendation from a friend, family member,
or someone they trust is the biggest influence on whether they buy a product or service.” Paul Rand
Online reviews are becoming the default place for us to check up on a hotel, airline or new restaurant. When we travel, we first check to see what others have experienced .
Several surveys identify that almost 9 out of 10 of us do this online pre-check. 39% of us do this type of checking in to a business, on a regular basis.
It is not hard to think that similar figures might well apply to your online professional profile. This is why recommendations are critical to your personal brand.
The days of the written letter of recommendation are fast disappearing. Your LinkedIn profile is where recruiters and hiring managers go to see what others think of you.
The recommendations are written by people who know you, have worked with you, for you or bought from you. But they still struggle with what to say.
Writing a recommendation is not something you want to leave to chance.
Take these five steps to ensure that you get the right recommendations written about you;
1. Pick the right recommenders.
It is important that you choose the right people to give you a recommendation. They should be someone who knows you well and feels comfortable praising you.
Do not rely on the automated system to ask them. Take the time to ask next time you seem them, or if its more urgent then reach out with a phone call.
2. Tell them what you want recommendations to be about.
Be sure you are clear about what you want them to say and the skill or attribute you want them to highlight.
It may have been sometime since they last worked with you, so its up to you to fill in the gaps. Let them know if it’s a particular role or situation that they can emphasize. Ask them to be honest and authentic.
3. Short and punchy wins the day.
Our attention spans are diminishing by the day and we hear about brands in sound bites. The same should apply to your own personal brand recommendations. Give recommenders a template or guideline to the endorsement they are going to write for you.
a. The eye catching first sentence or headline grabs your attention. The same needs to apply to your recommendation. Engaging headlines ensure the main copy gets read.
b. Make sure the recommender adds context to your relationship. It will be obvious where you knew each other but have them explain the nature of your interactions.
c. Focus on the main thing. Choose one main skill or attribute you want them to focus on. Pick a particular project in which you displayed this or remind them of one that you want them to emphasize.
d. Don’t make it all about the work. Ask the recommender to describe what else you brought to the team or organization. What could they always rely upon you to do or contribute. This can be work related or something a little more fun. A personal brand should have a little personality!
e. Seal the deal. Ask the recommender to end the recommendation with a positive and endorsing comment. Maybe that they would hire you again, or that they always direct people to you for specific expertise.
4. Don’t overload with praise.
Don’t rush to get tons of recommendations all at once. The name is quality over quantity. Look to get quantity over time. It can viewed as suspicious when several recommendations all have been given in a short space of time.
5. Spread the love, but not too far.
Show you are a reliable and enduring performer by having recommendations in many roles. Do not feel that you have to return the favour. Once you get a recommendation on systems like LinkedIn you are asked if you want to recommend the person in return. Be selective, you do not want all your recommendations to be of your own recommenders!
The recommendation is the new reference. But now its ‘taken’ at the early stage of the process, not when the deal is about to be sealed. Make sure to take the time to have great recommendations endorse and elevate your personal brand.
What do you do when it comes to recommendations?