• LinkedIn endorsements offer less insight into the type of employee you are.
  • Recommendations on LinkedIn go further than endorsements.
  • Employer references provide a written statement of the quality of your work experience.

LinkedIn makes soliciting references and testimonials, as well as displaying them, truly painless. Endorsements are inadequate as they offer less insight into the type of employee you are; endorsements only affirm the skills that your endorses think you possess. Instead, seek out recommendations.

Endorsements or References?

Recommendations on LinkedIn go further than endorsements and provide a written reference of your work. References that carry the most weight are those from your current / most recent employer. Nevertheless, solid references from other employers are valuable. LinkedIn recommendations serve as proof that the skills and credentials on your profile aren’t simply made up or exaggerated to make you appear more qualified than you really are.

Golden Rule

A well-done recommendation should describe and give specific examples. For recruiters, such a recommendation provides an important sign that this connection could be the person they are looking for. The golden rule of powerful recommendations is Show, don’t tell.  A good recommendation answers the following questions:

  • Relationship with the recommender: Where you the recommender’s (e.g manager), a team member, or a direct report?
  • Tenure: How long did you work together for and in what capacity?
  • Attributes: Your qualities that make you a good hire
  • Objective assessment: How did you demonstrate the highlighted qualities? What were the end results?

Why are references important?

References provide insight into the quality of candidates’ work experience. They also capture their personal traits and qualities the employers are looking for. LinkedIn recommendations are the social / digital version of recommendation letters. They are available for cross-checking and seeing for everyone. Therefore, references show prospective employers that you impressed your colleagues enough to motivate them to write it. References are invaluable during job search because they substantiate your experience and provide a valid 3rd party, who vouches for your credibility. Anyone can sound smart and professional on a CV / Resume. To ensure your work ethic matches the needs and culture of the company where you are applying, hiring managers want to talk to your current or past employers and colleagues.


  • Prospective employers find LinkedIn references and employer endorsements extremely valuable.
  • Recommendations on LinkedIn provide employers additional insights about your candidature.
  • References capture your personal traits and qualities the employers value the most.