How to Ask for an Introduction or a Recommendation for a Job on LinkedIn

I have a large LinkedIn network. I have worked hard to build that network. I bet some of you reading this are part of that network! So it's not surprising that I receive requests from people for introductions or recommendations for a job. And, there is a huge difference between asking for an introduction and asking for a recommendation.

An introduction is just that. I introduce you, the job seeker to the job owner. LinkedIn makes it easy to do that. You, the job hunter, forwards the job details to me, with some text explaining why you think you would be good for the job, asking me to forward your information to the job-owner. You include your details on the bottom as an email-like message to the job-owner explaining in more detail why you would be ideal.

I get to add as much or as little as I like by way of introduction. At the very least, I usually introduce people explaining how long I've known them, and how I've known them–the context. I try to say some nice things about you, but if I haven't worked with you, I limit that to our social interactions. After all, this is an introduction.

When I receive an introduction request, I try to forward it as quickly as possible, because it is just an introduction, and I don't have to choose my words carefully. I process it and move on.

But a recommendation? That's different. Here, I want to spend my time, explaining the most recent context in which I knew you, and how well I knew you. I want to pick something that relates to the job and highlight something in our shared experience that I can write about that will show you in a good light. I spend time on a recommendation.

I don't know if everyone does this, but I do. To me, a recommendation for a LinkedIn job, is just like a reference for a job. If I'm going to sign my name, it means something.

I don't give recommendations easily. I'm happy to do introductions.

If you are looking for a job, and you have connections who can introduce you or recommend you, you need to decide: do you want a recommendation or an introduction?  It makes a difference. Either is fine, just know what you want. Will the person you select act in a timely manner?

If someone declines to give you a recommendation and instead offers an introduction, don't use the same request. Restart the request, so your intermediary doesn't have to edit the request. Otherwise, the job owner will see the entire conversation. “No, I don't know you well enough to give you a recommendation. I can only give you an introduction.” Ouch.

If you see a job on LinkedIn that you want, do ask for an introduction or a recommendation. And, think about which one you want. It makes a difference.

Consider who you want to ask for which. Make it easy for your introducer/recommender to pass along your information, and to make you look good.


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