What’s a Worthwhile Recommendation in LinkedIn?

During a recent Twitter Chat, #linkedinchat, that I was moderating for Viveka von Rosen, one of America’s leading LinkedIn specialists, the topic was Worthwhile Recommendations in LinkedIn.

The discussion was fairly lively and we had very good participation.  (BTW #linkedinchat takes place every Tuesday at 8:00PM EST if you’re interested!)

I decided to use this article to discuss my views are what a worthwhile recommendation in LinkedIn is because whether you’re running a business or looking for your next position LinkedIn recommendations are very important.

Let me start with a frequent question about worthwhile recommendations in LinkedIn, why are they important?

LinkedIn recommendations are important because they validate your experiences and credentials from independent sources.  (I’m assuming your mother is not among your connections and if she is, don’t ask her for a recommendation.  Whether she lies and says you’re great or tells the truth, you lose.)

You’re leveraging your LinkedIn network when you receive worthwhile recommendations.  When people see your work recommended by others then they have more confidence in you.  Your network is real and is actively engaged with you.

Worthwhile recommendations demonstrate your relevancy to others.  When people recommend you then they’re saying that your work was important to them and their business.  You’re not just theoretical or hypothetical.  (Ever seen one of those profiles where people talk about what they want to do and there are no hints that they’ve ever done it?)

The next most frequent question about worthwhile recommendations in LinkedIn, what is a worthwhile recommendation?

A worthwhile recommendation speaks specifically to what you did and the value that you delivered.

A worthwhile recommendation is given by a senior person who was either responsible for engaging you or for you as a subordinate, directly or indirectly.  (Sorry to say this again but avoid family and your immediate staff here.)

A worthwhile recommendation is current.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with older recommendations.  But, I’ve seen too many profiles where the last worthwhile recommendation was several years ago and there has been nothing since.  Inquiring minds ask, “Why?”

The third most frequent question about worthwhile recommendations in LinkedIn is what isn’t a worthwhile recommendation?

A worthwhile recommendation isn’t vague.

A worthwhile recommendation doesn’t speak in generalities.

A worthwhile recommendation does more than say that you’re a nice person to have a chat over a cup of coffee with and nothing else.

By now, you’ve probably noticed how I’ve overused the word “worthwhile” in this article.  (Hey, it’s my blog, I get to set the rules!)

That was deliberate on my part because any other type of recommendation does you no good and may in fact harm you.

A worthwhile recommendation will corroborate your profile header and summary and will make the reader understand the value you delivered and be willing to talk with you about doing the same for them.

Worthwhile recommendations should be part of your community development in your social media program.

Oh, yes, one last frequent question about worthwhile recommendations in LinkedIn, how to get them?

There is a process and I’ll review it in a subsequent article, stay tuned!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at conpsweeney@someddi.com.

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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