Back to Latest Posts

Have you ever encountered a bad LinkedIn reference?

When I was graduating college, my first potential 'professional' employer asked me for a letter of recommendation from a long-standing past employer of mine. I asked the business owner to write a letter. His response was to send me to his office to get letterhead so that I could write a letter that he would then sign. I immediately realized (I was about to enter the HR field, by the way) that letters of recommendation had little value.

Why are LinkedIn references so popular?

To complete your profile (to get to that 100% level), you need to really use many or most of your LinkedIn profile's features. A reference gets you 5% - not a bad thing by itself. There are other reasons besides a goal of profile completion.
  • References get noticed when people read your profile
  • The first 6 words are visible on the profile page (and usually say wonderful things)
  • The addition of a reference gets you listed in the weekly LinkedIn updates e-mail

Are most references a 'cross-reference' deal?

My e-mails are archived automatically (all of ours are). I went back to check my weekly LinkedIn updates. It appears that most references are a deal - I'll write one for you if you write one for me. Can you imagine one of those 'deal' e-mails not being extremely positive?

Get to know the people you pursue - or that pursue you

That by itself ends this post. A polished profile and great references (from people that are friends of the person) make up most of today's active LinkedIn profiles. Simply put, take the time to check out the people you pursue or that pursue you. Reading only the profile will not get you what you need.