Should You Write Your Own LinkedIn Recommendation?
Is it ever OK to write a recommendation for yourself?
Blog reader Scott, writes: Without me asking for one, a previous co-worker offered to give me a LinkedIn recommendation but asked me to write it. What do you think about that?
Should You Write Your Own LinkedIn Recommendation?
Hmmm. Well, Scott, I have to be honest, my first reaction was from my inner cynic. Negative Lisa thinks there’s a good chance that your previous co-worker was just fishing for a recommendation from you. He may have be thinking if he offered you a chance to write your own recommendation, then you might offer to let him write one for himself.
Do You Want a Recommendation From the Person?
So, Scott, my first question is: do want a recommendation from this person? If your answer is yes, then my next question would be: are you willing to endorse him in the same way? Of course, that’s not a requirement, but you’ll likely feel a bit of an obligation to reciprocate.
If your answer is still yes then here’s my quick and dirty tip—write yourself an awesome recommendation! (Not sure how to do that, you say? You guessed it, I previously wrote what turn out to be a very popular episode on writing great LinkedIn recommendations. In this case, you’ll just be recommending yourself but using the other person’s voice.) However, keep in mind that if we were all to do this, then LinkedIn recommendations would have no meaning. So, if you’re not comfortable doing that, then another option would be to just provide a simple outline of a few traits and experiences that you’d like highlighted and just send him that.
Why Someone Might Ask You to Write Your Own Recommendation
To be clear, I generally like to quiet my inner cynic and try to think the best of people. If I were in your shoes, I think I would give my co-worker the benefit of the doubt. I would take his request to write a self-recommendation as a compliment.
I’d think he trusts me. He is offering to help. That’s a good thing. Maybe he gets a ton of requests and he sincerely just wants to help?
The bottom line is this… if what you write is accurate and appropriate then I don’t have a problem with this approach. In fact, when I request a recommendation for a specific purpose, I generally ask the person if they want me to create a draft for them to work from. Since many recommendations have deadlines associated with them, creating a draft speeds the process. But I always secretly hope they say “no thanks” mostly because some of the best recommendations that I’ve ever received were written without guidance from me. They included things that never would have occurred to me.
When to Write Your Own Recommendation
Scott, even if you don’t feel comfortable writing a draft, it’s always a good idea to at least briefly highlight what you would like the recommender to emphasize. (That also applies to verbal recommendations too. A person asked to provide a recommendation should never be caught off guard.)
[[AdMiddle]And writing your own recommendation doesn’t just have to be limited to LinkedIn. I often suggest to students, especially those who are trying to get a recommendation from a very busy person, to go ahead and write their own glowing recommendation. Additionally, when people are in job search mode and in need of a specific type of recommendation to help bolster their application, writing a draft can make it easier for the recommender. The recommender probably doesn't know enough about the details of the prospective position to write an appropriate recommendation and may not even fully remember the person or their projects. It’s also possible that the recommender has so many positive things he could say, he just doesn’t know which particular traits and qualities to emphasize. So I like to view providing your own a pre-written recommendation as a courtesy. (By the way, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the recommendation will be returned exactly as it was written. There is always the option write something completely different.)
LinkedIn Recommendations Reflect On the Writer Too
Scott, I also wonder if your ex-co-worker recognizes that recommendations also reflect on the person who writes them. When someone is reviewing a LinkedIn recommendation, with a single click, the reader can see the profile of the author. You will be judged by the quality and quantity of recommendations that you receive and by the quality and quantity of the recommendations you write.
And, by the way, that’s exactly why LinkedIn recommendations are so powerful and important.
That’s why I asked you the question in the beginning. Do you really want a recommendation from this person and do you want to endorse him? Only you know the best course of action. Hopefully I’ve given you enough to think this through, if not, I’ve decided to continue to discussion over on the Facebook page for others listeners to weigh in.
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