How to ask for a referral or reference

Having somebody else endorse your work can be incredibly powerful and if you’re using LinkedIn to build up a network of contacts, gaining recommendations for your previous and current work is an important part of completing your profile.

Gaining recommendations can help you be found by potential employers and recruiters, as they can search based on how many recommendations you have.


Recommendations help to highlight your strengths, which means you’re more likely to be approached for opportunities that are highly relevant and interesting.

It can be awkward asking for recommendations but following these basic steps can help:


Ensure you are asking for a recommendation once you have completed a piece of work, rather than during the project. If you are still working for the person you would like to ask, explain why you would like the recommendation.  Possible reasons could be so that you can complete your LinkedIn profile, or to further highlight the services your company offers to help generate leads.


Ensure you are asking the right people for recommendations, rather than colleagues you get along with. The most powerful recommendations come from people you have reported to, who can talk about how you positively contributed to business goals and objectives.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn has an inbuilt service where you can ask for recommendations for each individual role. Using this service allows the people you’re asking to action your recommendation more easily and also gives them the opportunity to think about whether they are comfortable recommending your work without having to give you an immediate response.

Be suggestive

Help the people you are asking to recommend you by suggesting what they could say, or by outlining the key skills that are important to your career. This will help them to frame their response and will ensure their recommendation of you does not take up too much of their time.

Give back

If you can recommend others, then you should do so. The more recommendations you provide the more likely you are to receive them. However, be aware that reciprocal recommendations are seen to be less powerful by the LinkedIn community. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure not all of your endorsements are “you recommend me and I’ll recommend you”.

For more advice on how to get the most out of LinkedIn or other social media channels, please do not hesitate to contact us

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