You might think that asking for a Linkedin recommendation from your current boss or coworker is a flashing neon indicator that you are on the prowl for a new job. And if you ask at the wrong time or in the wrong way, it most certainly can raise a red flag.
This is a 3-part strategy to effectively request a Linkedin recommendation without coming across as though you are looking for new opportunities.
How you determine the "right time" to ask
How you make the ask
Executing the follow-through
HOW YOU DETERMINE THE "RIGHT TIME" TO ASK
Ask after hitting a work goal or milestone. Not only did you make yourself and your boss proud, you just proved that you're an asset to the team. This gives your boss or coworker ammunition to write a glowing recommendation/review of your work ethic and work output.
Ask during your annual review. Knowing you're a go-getter, it's likely you have been sung praises during your annual review. Express your humble appreciation for the accolades, then use that moment to ask your boss to write a few of those thoughts down (maybe even copy-and-paste a couple sentences he/she already wrote) on your Linkedin profile.
Ask for a meeting to discuss your work. Sometimes you need to create the "right time" for yourself. Be proactive about setting a check-in meeting with your supervisor or colleague to discuss your strengths and areas of improvement. This will be helpful in understanding how he/she evaluates your work and views your contributions to the team. When you both discuss your strengths and you hear something he/she says that you like, kindly ask if your boss or colleague would be willing to write that same sentiment on Linkedin as a recommendation.
"I know that it's important to represent myself and this company in the best possible light, part of which is online these days. Would you be willing to write a recommendation on Linkedin recommending my work?"
HOW YOU MAKE THE ASK
In person. Face-to-face is the ideal way to ask for a recommendation. Through your body language, word choice, and tone of voice, asking for a Linkedin recommendation can come across sincere and harmless (i.e. not signaling that you're scouting for new jobs). In all of the scenarios above, you can try using language similar to:
"Thank you for your support and encouragement to keep striving for strong results. I know that it's important to represent myself and this company in the best possible light, part of which is online these days. Would you be willing to write [reiterate what your boss/colleague just said about you] on Linkedin recommending my work?"
Via Linkedin or email. It's not always possible to make the request in person, especially if you are asking for an endorsement from a previous job. Keep your recommendation request short and specific.
"Hi [name], hope you're well! How is [make reference to their company]?
I am polishing my Linkedin, updating my work at [company], to keep my profile current. Would you be willing to write 2-3 short sentences recommending me on Linkedin on [insert topic*]?
I appreciate your consideration and hope to hear from you by [time frame].
* In this location, you can put something a vague like "my work ethic or work output" or request a recommendation referencing a specific project you worked on for that person.
EXECUTING THE FOLLOW-THROUGH
Great! You did the tough part of making the ask and secured a recommendation from your boss or colleague. Now you have to follow through and make sure they actually do it without being a nag.
If you made the ask in person, I would immediately follow up with an email note thanking him/her for being willing to write a few positive sentences about you on Linkedin. Be sure to include when you hope to have it completed by -- a week or two weeks is typically a good time frame to get it done.
If you made the ask via Linkedin or email, thank him/her and set a loose deadline for completion.
When the deadline rolls around, hopefully your boss or coworker has completed the recommendation on Linkedin. If not, follow up on the initial email. Thank them again for supporting you professionally and wanting to write down an endorsement of your competence. Then ask directly, "You mentioned that it would be possible to have the recommendation completed by today. Understanding you're busy, is it possible to post the recommendation by [date 3 days from now]?"
Securing a quick endorsement or two on Linkedin adds credibility to your professional story. If you've held 5+ positions, you don't need recommendations from every job you've held. Featuring 2-4 recommendations on your profile -- hopefully each of them touching on different aspects of your work -- will showcase how you are an asset to each company.
Sarah Sax is the Founder of Write For The Job.