How often do you receive the, generic, recommendation request text: I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know.
Even though we are in the digital era of acronyms, brief messages and text messages, it still matters nurturing personal and professional relationship by taking the time of writing a more formal message.
Yes, I know, many of us are quite busy and often barely have the time to go thru a day’s email, yet, if you are seeking to have someone to vouch for you, at the very least, spend some time in creating a custom message, that reflects:
The reason why you are asking the recommendation
- Outline the skills and areas of expertise you would like to get highlighted
- Be authentic, explaining why having a recommendation will mean a great deal to you
However, before you go about writing your custom message and start sending recommendations requests, you need to start networking naturally today! Do not start when you are in a situation, where you are looking for a new job or trying to sell your services. Just think about how awkward it is asking someone to recommend you when you have not been in contact with for many years or asking someone that you have seen before but do not even say hello when crossing paths in the elevator or at the cafeteria?
You should not expect that they are going to have an up to date perspective about the work you are doing now, or the skills you have acquired since the last time you were in touch. What you should expect is for your contact to be wondering that if you find their perspective about your work valuable, then why you have not been in contact before?
So what can you do to re-establish the connection with your network and ask for their recommendation?
Nurture Meaningful Connections
First, realize the meaning of building your network by staying in contact with people and letting them know the latest news about you. Although LinkedIn alerts you about your contact’s birthdays, job anniversary, new job etc. etc. these alerts are not great to keep in touch with someone. Fortunately, there are other ways, such as FiveHundredPlus a CRM tool for LinkedIn that can help keep track the frequency of your contacts, schedule contact reminders and add contacts who are not even on LinkedIn.
No Hard Feelings
Avoid imposing yourself! Before sending the recommendation request, ask first via direct message or email, framing your request in a way that allows your contact to refuse gracefully — for example, write something like, “Would you be comfortable writing a recommendation on my behalf?” By doing this, you are not putting pressure in your contact and you are giving them the opportunity to decline without hard feelings or burning bridges
Make it Effortless
Be sensitive of their time and make it effortless. Your contacts would be more open to write you a recommendation if you provide them with blurbs or wording that reflect the work and interactions you had with the person, highlighting your skills and qualifications. Explain that the wording can be edited as needed.
Gratitude Pays Off
Be thankful and follow up – whether or not you got the recommendation, be candid about it, express your gratitude for their time and consideration. Keep in touch all the same, and make sure to send them periodic updates about your latest endeavors.
Without doubt, LinkedIn is a very powerful tool that can help you tap into your network for help when you need it, however don’t misuse it and end up using its impersonal and automated messages that could prevent you from creating authentic connections with people in your network.
Let us know your thoughts and how do you approach people in your network when asking for a recommendation.