Are LinkedIn Recommendations Important for Your Career?
You’ve been on LinkedIn for a while now, but you’ve never thought much about using it as a way to grow your business or show your strengths. Yet, the other day, someone gave you a recommendation, and you thought, Should I be doing something more with this?
Yes, you should! While LinkedIn may have first originated as a place to showcase your resume and find a job, it’s long since developed into a professional social media tool. It’s a great way for you to network with people in similar industries, and it’s also a great place for your prospects to learn more about you before deciding to work together.
You see, there’s an option on your LinkedIn profile for people to leave you a recommendation. These may come from a superior, a colleague, former clients — anyone really.
When your prospects take a moment to search for you online, they’ll read these recommendations, which helps them to make up their mind about whether you’re the person they’d like to work with.
Now, imagine a world in which your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have any recommendations. In fact, that may be the very world you live in right now! What does this message say to the people who are doing background research before committing to work with you? This article will cover why LinkedIn recommendations are important, and how you can go about building on your profile and collecting more recommendations.
Let Your LinkedIn Profile Act Like a Website
Chances are, as a loan officer, you don’t have a personal website to build your brand. Your prospects are introduced to you via the bio on your company profile, and then they go on their own search to find information about you that will solidify whether or not you’re the right person to give their business.
So why not take the opportunity to guide them to the specific information you want them to discover?
If you choose not to invest in a professional website for your business, treat your LinkedIn profile like one. You’ll, of course, want to complete the basics besides just focusing on recommendations, such as a well-written “About” section and a strong employment and educational background. There’s also an opportunity to add posts, documents, and media to the “Featured” section of your profile.
Only then, when these sections are completed will you be ready to push for more recommendations and consider your LinkedIn profile ready to share with your prospects.
LinkedIn Recommendations Act as Social Proof
The most important thing your prospects are looking for when deciding who to give their business is social proof. Sure, they liked talking with you and learning about your personality and your approach. But, can they trust you? Are you simply putting on a show to get their business? Is the information you provided them correct?
Today’s consumer is savvy. What they want is social proof that you are who you say you are. They want to see that other people have worked with you and feel so strongly about your expertise that they’ve taken time out of their busy lives to publicly recommend you. Sure, the testimonials you’ve collected and sent out yourself should suffice, but it’s still meaningful to your prospects that these LinkedIn recommendations come unsolicited for the most part
How to Get More Recommendations on LinkedIn
Don’t have enough recommendations, or want more? There’s a lot you can do to increase the number of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. For example, if you’re comfortable reaching out to former clients and colleagues, send them a quick email and explain that you’ve recently updated your LinkedIn profile, and you’d love to add more recommendations to it. Ask if they’d be willing to share their experience working with you.
Another option is to ask for recommendations directly on LinkedIn. Through a profile setting, you’re able to manage the recommendations that have been given to you, and also take the initiative to ask for them directly. LinkedIn will provide you with a pre-written request to send to your contacts, but it’s best if you personalize the email so it sounds less generic.
Whether you email the request or connect directly through LinkedIn, make an extra effort to connect with people who already shared testimonials in the past. Simply copy and paste what they previously wrote in your request to them, and ask them if they’d be so kind to include it in the LinkedIn recommendation.
And finally, if you’re feeling anxious about asking for recommendations (which you shouldn’t!), there’s a way you can increase your recommendation count without ever having to ask anyone. Be the initiator by sending recommendations on LinkedIn to the people in your network that you’ve enjoyed working with. When someone gets an out-of-the-blue recommendation from you, there’s a good chance they’ll be so moved to return the favor and send one to you.
One final note — adding recommendations to your profile will help convince the leads who take the initiative themselves to check you out, but don’t leave the social proof to chance. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature, and encourage all leads to check you out.