There is often confusion around how to give/receive recommendations on LinkedIn. Let me start off by saying that recommendations are an important part of your LinkedIn profile. They establish trust and respect among peers when done properly. Bottom line is that if I know 4 or 5 of the people that have recommended you, and I respect those people, some of that respect will immediately spill over into our relationship. (I believe that LinkedIn profiles and Recommendations will take the place of the traditional resume and 3 references available on request. )
So what is the best way to get recommendations? Recommend one of your contacts first.
The typical story I hear is that someone gets a request for a recommendation from one of their LinkedIn contacts and is not sure what to say, or how much to say. The simple way to fix this is to create a recommendation for one of your trusted contacts first. That way, they can model their recommendation of you on what you said about them. It also defines the business/personal barrier because you are modeling the kinds of things that you would want said about you.
I see this done effectively at times in the Network Updates section of LinkedIn when I see “John has recommended Jane” and right beneath that I see “Jane has recommended John” and they are very similar in wording and style.
When you recommend someone, they are sent an email from LinkedIn telling them that you have recommended them. They click on a link in that email and log into LinkedIn to approve the recommendation to be shown on their public profile. Right after they approve your recommendation, they are asked if they would like to return the favor. Unless they are a jerk, they will return the favor!
(Note: You can only recommend people that you are connected to on LinkedIn)