I was recently asked to provide a connection on LinkedIn with a recommendation. On LinkedIn, if you're connected with someone, you can write a nice review of them that "recommends" them to other people. This particular individual, who I won't name, is someone whom I do not know personally, have never worked with, but met through another social network, Empire Avenue. He sent me a direct message through LinkedIn asking me to endorse him and saying that he would endorse me in return.
Since I wasn't familiar with him professionally, I decided to take a look at his profile and work and see if there were aspects on which I could write an honest recommendation. I was shocked at what I found. There was nothing that I could use to base a recommendation. NOTHING. I hope we can all learn from this person's mistakes and make sure that other people can easily recommend us on LinkedIn and elsewhere.
1. Complete Your Profile
LinkedIn does a great job of telling you how far along you are in completing your profile. If you're not yet at 100%, you should take the time to finish up. Having a complete profile means that you've at least made an effort to be thorough and informative on LinkedIn, and that's important for potential customers or employers who may be looking at your profile in an attempt to find out more about you.
2. Link to your website, and make sure your website is 100% working.
I would have thought that this went without saying, but if you're running a business and are asking people to go to your website, it had better be working. If you're having significant issues with your site, seek help from a professional website developer immediately. LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can send hundreds of visitors and potential clients to your site daily. Take advantage of those opportunities by having a site that looks and works great.
3. Link to samples of your work, be it pictures, a portfolio or videos.
LinkedIn is a great place to talk about yourself, but at some point you need to be able to show potential clients or employers what you've done and what you're capable of. You might have a portfolio section within your own site that highlights specific projects or jobs you've done, or you might use a Flickr photo set or YouTube channel. Whatever medium you choose, just make sure you have someplace you can use that offers more than just a few sentences. And make sure that you have a good collection of posts before you start sending customers there. One video that you uploaded as a test doesn't count!
4. Link to your other social networks and make sure they're complete and up-to-date.
Make it as easy as possible for your potential clients or employers to find and follow you. By extension, this also means that you need to maintain a degree of professionalism on those connected networks. If you really, really want to post pictures from your weekend drinking binges on Facebook, then it would be better not to let anyone but your closest friends connect to you there.
5. Use good grammar and spelling. Everywhere.
LinkedIn is called the "professional social network" and as such, most users expect that you will be professional on that network. Similarly, your "professional" website should be a refection of your professionalism. Bad grammar and numerous spelling errors is in no way professional. It makes you look lazy, or worse, uneducated. Take the time to review everything that you write for grammar and spelling.
6. Have a blog that is unique and updated.
Make sure that you're adding new content regularly to your website or blog, but also make sure that your content is unique and provides value. Many of the blogging platforms available today will allow you to "re-blog" someone else's content. That's a great tool if you're going to curate other people's articles and provide some additional insight of your own, but if your entire blog consists of nothing but other people's random posts that you've reblogged, you're missing the point.
7. Do Outstanding Work.
Above all else, do outstanding work. When you do great work, your clients will appreciate you and be quick to compliment and recommend you. Great work will also be easy to talk about and showcase in portfolios and project lists, making it easy for new clients to consider you and hire you.
Do you have any other ideas on how to Be Recommendable? Please share them in the comments below. Thanks!