Being able to articulate your professional background through your LinkedIn profile, on your resume, and in an interview is undoubtedly an essential part of a successful career search, but employers often need a bit more to make that leap of faith and contact you for an interview. As anyone can state just about anything through these channels, you can distinguish yourself and lend some credibility to your claims by asking for LinkedIn recommendations.
Here are a few ways your career search will benefit from a LinkedIn recommendation:
1. Hiring Costs
Hiring new employees can be pricey, so employers are often cautious when approaching potential candidates. Give them reasons to feel confident about you as a future employee by having previous managers, coworkers and clients back up your claims about your background. It is quite common to ask a past manager for a statement focused on a distinguishing skill set or experience. To use this to your advantage, for example, you can address concerns a potential employer might have about your ability to use Microsoft Excel by requesting a LinkedIn recommendation on the efficiency your complex spreadsheets added to the office. This idea can also be applied to work you contributed to specific projects, with individual clients, etc.
2. Character References
In a competitive market, employers rarely have to settle for second best. They can often find top-tier, experienced candidates for lower-paying and entry-to-mid level jobs without any problem. This means that while you might have the skills to perform a job well, you often need to be a good personality fit for the company. LinkedIn recommendations can help you compete in this environment in at least two ways: by advertising you as the type of employee who can boost morale, and by demonstrating the integrity you bring with you. That a previous manager is willing to recommend you in a public forum says something about your ability to leave a positive impact and impression on your workplace.
3. Lack of Experience/Extended Employment Gaps
We've discussed how you can use LinkedIn recommendations from previous managers, but what can you do if you've never been employed, or if you have an extensive employment gap? If you've recently attended or currently attend school, you can always run a LinkedIn search for your instructors, connect with them, and ask for recommendations regarding relevant projects/papers you've worked on, or your general demeanor in an educational environment. You might also find your instructors on your school's LinkedIn alumni groups groups or University pages. (Read our related story on how to find the right LinkedIn groups to join.)
If you've recently engaged in volunteer work, try to find fellow volunteers or the paid staff you worked on site with and ask them for a recommendation. At the very least, this will demonstrate your passion for the cause associated with your volunteer work, and the high ethical standards you hold yourself to.
Interested in more posts on job search related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.
If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.