Looked at others' LinkedIn Profiles during your job search? You're probably aware of the numerous endorsements (also called LinkedIn Recommendations) that these users have displayed on the site.
While LinkedIn accolades may seem gratuitous on the surface, recruiters, hiring managers, interviewers, and potential new co-workers WILL be interested in reviewing these publicly stated testaments to the quality of your work.
In other words, if you haven't gathered many referrals, it's time to get moving! Look at these potential sources for great recommendations:
While you might prefer a LinkedIn endorsement from a supervisor, co-workers can be a solid (and surprisingly accurate) source of testimonials. Unlike a boss, colleagues are usually close enough to spot trends in your work or recall your diligence on a particular project.
When approaching a co-worker for a LinkedIn endorsement, it's best to issue a request (via the LinkedIn Request Recommendations feature, of course) that includes a personal note along the lines of:
"John, I hope you remember our work together on the Alcatraz Project. Would you be comfortable placing a recommendation on my Profile that describes my role and value-add?"
A note of caution: LinkedIn automatically asks every endorsee to return the favor, and endorse the person who just recommended you. While this makes sense in some cases, be sure to limit your reciprocal endorsements, as recruiters may ignore these "traded favors."
Approaching a past (or even current, depending on your relationship) supervisor can feel daunting. However, you can map out a plan that includes approaching your boss personally (with at least a phone call), then a carefully worded request for endorsement via LinkedIn:
"Jerry, it's been a great experience to work on your team and learn from you. I am requesting a recommendation that can be used to describe our working relationship and my growth in this position."
Recommendations don't have to come from within your employer's place of business. Clients often witness the extra effort put in by account reps, consultants, sales managers, and other professionals, and can be approached for an endorsement on LinkedIn:
"Liz, I enjoyed getting to know you and your business throughout my time with XYZ Corporation. Your operation is certainly among the most well-run in the LED manufacturing industry! Would you be comfortable placing an endorsement on my Profile that outlines our collaborative efforts in your business success?"
While gaining more LinkedIn endorsements might not be high on your priority list, these testimonials will be scanned – and often – by prospective employers! Try some new ways to gain more recommendations by making it easier for others to verify the quality of your work, using a personal, heartfelt request.
Job-Hunt's LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Follow Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert and on LinkedIn.