How to ask for recommendation on LinkedIn the right way?

The question from the header of this article is extremely relevant for people who have recently created their LinkedIn profiles. The issue of recommendations arises as soon as they fill up their profiles with career information including titles of employers and job duties. In this article, we will tell you about LinkedIn recommendations and teach you to ask for them properly.

What is a LinkedIn recommendation?

The tradition of submitting references from previous employers together with resumes of candidates who apply for a new job has significantly transformed in recent years. Few people submit paper recommendations and references now, since communication became so simple that a prospective employer can contact an applicant any time and ask him or her any career story-related questions.

However, there is a place where written recommendations are still strongly appreciated. It is called LinkedIn – the social network for professional contacts. When applying for a job in LinkedIn, you may see words like “applicants with recommendations are preferred” almost in any job posting. Hence, it is better to have at least one recommendation on your LinkedIn profile.

The main difference between LinkedIn recommendations and old-school paper recommendations is that on LinkedIn the person who gives you a recommendation does not need to be your boss (or even former boss). Actually, any person from your network can write you a recommendation. However, it is better to ask for them people you used to work with.

Whom should I ask for a recommendation?

As already mentioned above, any of your LinkedIn contacts can give you a recommendation. However, usually we know well only 10 or 20 people from our network. If we look at our contacts on LinkedIn, we can subdivide them into a few groups.

  • Former colleagues.
  • Contacts from our professional field (including people from other companies who collaborated with us in the past).
  • People from other professional fields and recruiters who added us to their contacts to extend their professional network.

The main thing you have to remember is that recommendations received from people who know you personally are the most valuable. That is because of the fact that they know your professional skills and are able to describe the advantages of working with you. There is no need to ask people from the third category for recommendations. To be honest, they have nothing to say about you, hence, their recommendations will be too general even if they agree to leave them in your LinkedIn profile.

Types of recommendations

Another thing you have to know about LinkedIn recommendations is that they are subdivided into several types. The value of each recommendation for your prospective employer depends on its type. The most general classification of LinkedIn recommendations looks as following:

  • Recommendations from previous employers (managers or executives).
  • Recommendations from former colleagues.
  • Recommendations from people who didn’t have any professional contacts with you.

Recruiters and employers prefer to hire people who have recommendations from their former managers. They usually think that no one can evaluate professional qualities of an employee better than his or her direct supervisor can. Recommendations received from former colleagues are less valuable but still important. Finally, recommendations from the last category are considered invaluable.


After highlighting the main facts about LinkedIn recommendations, we can answer the question from the header of this article. The best way to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation is to write a personal message to one of your former colleagues or supervisors. In most cases, these people will agree to write recommendations for you because they know your professional strengths. Leaving recommendations in their profiles in response to their recommendations in yours is also a good practice. Remember that the attitude of people to you depends on how you treat them.