If you have ever attended one of my LinkedIn classes you have heard me speak about the advantages of placing your personal branding keywords in your profile to help you show up more prominently in searches done without using your name. One of the lesser known areas that can really benefit that search algorithm is your recommendations. LinkedIn wants you to have three recommendations from your connections. Many times, people will write a recommendation for you, but they are based on what they want or choose to say.
Let’s see how you might make these recommendations work to your “keyword” advantage. After you determine what your keywords are and you have placed them in your profile in the right places, the additional area you want to include is the recommendation. Follow these steps:
- Select a keyword upon which you want to focus.
- Select a person that knows you well enough to write a recommendation about your expertise in that keyword area.
- Find the recommendations section on your profile.
- Follow the steps in the Recommendation sequence.
- Pick a position
- Pick a person
- Select relationship
- Select person’s position
- Write your message
- The message should never be the generic message generated by LinkedIn. Whenever possible always try to personalize any of those messages. For the purpose of your recommendation, you are even going to offer them some suggested language. Why make the person have to add more work to their busy day when there is really nothing in it for them to write you a recommendation. Here is my suggestion – Use the keyword that you want to highlight in the recommendation. Write 2-3 sentences about how you demonstrate that keyword. If you need help tooting your own horn, work with a someone who knows your work. It is very difficult to sell yourself. Think about what you would write if you were writing your own performance review.
- Repeat this process to request a review from different individuals to cover each of your most prominent keywords.
In most cases, the person will use your words in the recommendation. In one situation when I was working one-on-one with a client, we used this technique and the person from whom we requested the recommendation went above and beyond what we had used in the request and wrote a couple of paragraphs.
I would also recommend that as you add a new skill, or as your recommendations “age” you may want to request recommendations to keep the keyword fresh on the top of your list of recommendations. A good rule of thumb is obtain a new one every four to six months. Remember, if you pay it forward, it will come back to you!