Many job seekers are foregoing formal letters of recommendation and instead are asking for recommendations they can include on their LinkedIn profile. But it's important to remember that it's the quality, not the quantity, that will help the most.

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The use of technology has changed not only the way we do business, but also the job-search process. Today, many job seekers are foregoing formal letters of recommendation and instead are asking for recommendations they can include on their LinkedIn profile.

Before you begin soliciting LinkedIn recommendations, take a deep breath and get strategic in your efforts. What’s important to recruiters and hiring managers isn’t the number of recommendations, it’s the quality that counts. For example, one of my clients was excited to show me that she had obtained a recommendation on her LinkedIn profile:

Recommendation (co-worker): “Brittany is fabulous and I really enjoyed working with her at ABC Company.”

The problem? The recommendation was too short and didn’t include specific information that would be helpful to a recruiter or hiring manager. The best way to get high-quality LinkedIn recommendations is to treat them similarly to obtaining formal recommendation letters:

  • Contact only those people who know you well and who can provide specific examples of your strengths and differentiators.
  • Provide each person with three skills you’d like them to discuss.
  • Ask each one to include how long they’ve worked with you; some background on how they know you; a description of the three skills you asked them to discuss; and (preferably) at least one specific success example.

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After following this process, Brittany contacted her co-worker, who then updated her previous LinkedIn recommendation:

Updated Recommendation (co-worker): “Brittany and I worked together for two years at ABC Company when we were both customer service reps in the Call Center. During this time, I was impressed with her enthusiasm at solving customer issues. Brittany has the ability to remain calm under pressure when dealing with upset customers and uses her attention to detail to understand problems and determine solutions. She inspired me to always try to see problems clearly and from all angles.”

The updated recommendation is much more beneficial, because it includes a few of Brittany’s specific skills as well as examples of how she used those skills to achieve success in past positions — valuable information to share with recruiters and hiring managers. Remember: The higher the quality of your LinkedIn recommendations, the more they will help you in your job search.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.