Monday, May 25, 2015

I like you like me?

We live in a world of likes: I like your holiday destination, you like my restaurant choice for the evening…we push the ‘thumbs up’ button several times a day. And let’s be honest, it feels good to be liked.

One of the more outspoken ways of indicating that you are being liked on a professional level is having recommendations on LinkedIn.
There is a lot of debate on the usefulness of such recommendations. Will they give you a head start in a selection process? And if you don’t have any…does this disqualify you immediately?

Let start by saying that I am not a huge fan.
Admitted…I have some people who have recommended me, people whose opinion I value so I am grateful for it.

But when it comes down to a selection process, whether you have or you don’t have any recommendations on linked in will not be a decisive factor.
Nevertheless, I am human, so testimonials that are published on your profile will have an impact on my perception of you, whether it is positive or negative. So here a few ground rules!

First of all, as nice as it may be for your ego, there can be too much of a good thing. Having over 50 recommendations of all sorts of people is more of a showstopper than an advantage. It pictures me a popularity contest and you being the prom queen. This effect is even doubled if you have returned the favor for each of the people who have recommended you.

So, rule number 1, carefully select the people that you ask for recommendations. Choose people who have actually worked closely with you and select only one or two for each type of business relationship: your direct manager, your client and someone who reported into you. Asking colleagues is nice but will add little value to your profile.

And then comes the recommendation itself. That you are a pleasant person to work with is not really something that will make you stand out. Ask the people you request to recommend you to write down specific examples of your achievements and your added value. Ask them to mention where you have made the difference.

A last ground rule has to do with how you ask for a recommendation. Yes, there is a button you can push and the request is made automatically. But how can you expect that people will know what type of recommendation you are looking for if they get an automatically generated mail? If you ask them personally, you can clearly indicate the objective you want to achieve with the recommendation and give them a few clues of what you would like them to write.

Following these 3 basic rules should allow you to have glowing recommendations that do not only enhance your self esteem (there is nothing wrong with that) but they may actually give you that edge to stand out from the crowd.

I look forward to hearing from you,

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