Last week I received an email asking me to write a LinkedIn testimonial for someone I had only met on two or three occasions. I explained that I don’t (I can’t!) write recommendations for anyone I have not worked with personally for at least six months.
This got me to thinking about reference letters.
Because of the ubiquity of LinkedIn and the professional respect accorded the platform there is no longer a need for reference letters as we know them. Think about it. In fact, for you to offer letters of reference implies that you are probably not all that professional-social-media savvy. Not cool.
This is important!
In my view a recommendation on LinkedIn is the equivalent of someone cosigning a bank note. That person is putting their good name on the line on your behalf. Underperformance on your part will reflect poorly on that individual’s judgement. And remember that a LinkedIn testimonial includes a link back to the writer.
This is not to say that should someone offer to write you a reference letter on company letterhead that you should not accept it. Just ask that they also copy/paste that letter as a testimonial on your profile.
BTW, I do recommend that you seek recommendations. But if asked to reference for someone ask yourself first if you are certain you want to ‘co-sign,’ er, create a testimonial on their behalf. It could come back to bite you.