By: Allison Rapaport, Hospital Dream Jobs
Referrals and recommendations are an important part of the job searching process, whether online or offline. We have found that job seekers are best served when they consistently seek these while searching for employment. You can never have too many, but it is important to keep at least five current recommendations or referrals (from the last six months) in your file.
A LinkedIn profile can be essential for a solid job search. Within the LinkedIn profile options, there is an area where people who are connected with you can write a recommendation for you. Often people trade recommendations. As an example, we recently taught a class, and one attendee was particularly enthusiastic about all that she had learned. She asked how she could "thank" us, and we told her the best way was to write a quick recommendation on LinkedIn. She agreed, and we wrote her one back.
A recommendation should focus on only what you know. We clearly stated that she attended one of our classes, that she asked good questions, and seemed very detail-oriented and willing to learn. That was the honest truth, and it was clear that we weren't life-long friends. But it helped her build her recommendation total, and the one she wrote about us (regarding the class she took) also helped us when someone else was looking for conference speakers.
A recommendation should also only focus on the good points of a person. Although on LinkedIn, the connection has a final choice whether to publish it or not, positive is the name of the game and the most professional way to approach a recommendation. "I liked Mike until he showed up for work late two days in a row" is not acceptable and reflects poorly on the writer, as well as Mike. So if you can't think of any positives, don't write the recommendation.
Don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation from a connection. We've found that you can never have too many, and it gives a wonderful impression to employers who look at your profile. As soon as we conduct business with someone, meet them in person, or collaborate with them in some way, we ask for a recommendation. Do we always get one? Of course not. But every bit helps.