How to Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation That Works for You

We all know the benefits of a robust LinkedIn profile. It attracts the right kind of attention from recruiters and hiring managers, it helps you build a strong, reliable network, and it’s a convenient and easy way to showcase your work, skill set, and passions.

One more thing? It’s the perfect place to show off all the great things people have to say about you. In fact, your LinkedIn recommendations can be a huge selling point for those who might be looking to hire you. After all, nothing makes you look better than praise from an important client, an old boss, or a close colleague.

What does asking for a proper recommendation on LinkedIn entail? Let’s get to it.

When Should You Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation?

The short answer is you can ask for one anytime. But, as Muse Career Coach and HR expert Christie Artis says, “no matter what timing you choose, the context you provide is key.”

“If you are truly on top of it, you can ask for recommendations throughout the year. For example, let’s say you’ve just finished a big, successful project with co-workers and clients. You can ask for a recommendation then. Provide them context that you’re always collecting feedback and would greatly appreciate theirs via a LinkedIn recommendation,” Artis says.

That said, it’s not always easy to be on top of this. So, she recommends taking advantage of key check-in and feedback points—for example, your next review cycle—to request a recommendation.

Many people also tend to reach out for recommendations when they’re leaving a job. If that’s the case, “it’s best to ask right away while you are still fresh in people’s minds. It is easier to get a review when it’s easier for people to write one,” says Artis.

Finally, she warns, take into consideration what asking for a recommendation may look like to an outside party. When it’s out of the blue, “it can make people think you are getting ready to leave, so be cautious.” Consider who you request it from and when, and don’t forget to provide context.

Who Should You Ask?

Artis suggests that you get a variety of voices, including but not limited to senior leaders you’ve worked with or who are familiar with the work you’ve done, your current and previous managers, immediate team members, and clients.

“This will give anyone reading your recommendations a well-rounded view of how you show up with different audiences and the ability to see you have senior-level advocates,” she adds.

Of course, you want this person to be able to give you a glowing review. But you also want them to be able to speak to specific things you’ve done and your particular work ethic and passions. A short and vague response is almost as useless as having no recommendation, so be sure you can trust them to be thorough and thoughtful.

How Do You Make the Ask?

Be courteous and professional, make it super easy for them to say yes, and pay it forward.

“You can acknowledge that you recognize they are busy and offer to write a draft that they can edit (or ignore all together). You can also offer to provide a recommendation in return and ask for specific things they’d like you to include in your recommendation to them,” suggests Artis. (Here’s a template to help you write an amazing LinkedIn recommendation.)

When you go to write your email to this person, “give them context about what you are looking for within the recommendation. For example, are you switching jobs from a financial analyst to project manager? Then, ask for specific feedback around key skills required of a project manager,” says Artis.

What does that look like? Here are a couple email templates you can try. Or, if you’re connected on LinkedIn and want to make it super easy for the person, use the “Ask to Be Recommended” button at the bottom of your profile and copy and paste these into the note:

Email Template #1
If You’re Asking Someone You Currently Work With…

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re having a great week!

I want to let you know how much I enjoy working with you, as well as how much I value your insights and feedback. I’ve especially enjoyed collaborating with you on [project you worked on together].

I have a small request for you. I aim to keep my LinkedIn profile updated to provide an accurate picture of my skills and experiences. With that in mind, I’d love if you could write me a LinkedIn recommendation that highlights my skills in [area] and [area].

I’d be happy to write you a recommendation in return. Just let me know if there’s something specific you’d like me to call attention to.

Would you feel comfortable writing a recommendation of this kind for me? Of course, no pressure either way.

All the best,
[Your Name]


Email Template #2
If You’re Asking Someone You Used to Work With…

Hi [Name],

I hope all is well with you! [Some small talk or friendly question.]

I’m touching base to make a small request of you. I’m currently [job searching/looking to move on from my current role as X into Y] and want to keep my LinkedIn profile updated for recruiters.

I really enjoyed working with you at [Company], and I especially appreciate [feedback/advice/experience you got from them]. As a result, I thought you’d be a great fit to write me a short LinkedIn recommendation highlighting my skills in [area] and [area]. If you’re willing, I’m happy to send over additional information to make writing one easier for you.

Also, I’m more than happy to return the favor and write you a recommendation. Just let me know if there’s something specific you’d like me to emphasize.

Would you feel comfortable writing a recommendation of this kind for me? Of course, no pressure either way.

Let’s catch up soon!
[Your Name]

See? Making the ask isn’t all that difficult! All it takes is one short email to ask a professional contact for a recommendation, and you’re well on your way to crafting a LinkedIn profile that truly speaks to your expertise and reputation.

By UCLA Extension Career Services
UCLA Extension Career Services