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How should I handle a weak recommendation on LinkedIn?

Michael Dunn's Profile

Should I choose not to display it (potentially offending the recommender) or leave it posted?


Anders Liu-Lindberg
Title: Regional Finance Business Partner
Company: Maersk Line Northern Europe
LinkedIn Profile
(Regional Finance Business Partner, Maersk Line Northern Europe) |

I think you either ask for it to be re-written or simply leave it out. You are in charge of your LinkedIn profile as a marketing document and not anyone else. It is like a company that gets both good and bad reviews. Most likely it would choose to advertise with the good reviews and not the bad.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

- Did you not have an opportunity to preview it before approving it?
- Has it been some time since you posted it and you're just now deciding it's weak?

In either of these instances, you might circle back around -with a clear focus- and a request to include a couple of specific things that you believe would be particularly helpful to you in his recommendation.

If you haven't written a recommendation for him, you could do that first and then come back to him with a "now that I've written one for you I realize that ..." and see if he will update his for you.

- How influential is the writer of the recommendation?

If influential, then the decision becomes which is more harmful to you - the offense of the writer or a weak recommendation that perhaps, you could bury with 3-5 more powerful recommendations.

Topic Expert
Aaron Codak
Title: Client Services Finance manager, North A..
Company: Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service ..
LinkedIn Profile
(Client Services Finance manager, North Americ, Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service Center)) |

Depending on how close you are with this person, I don't think they would be offended if you asked them to revise something that didn't come across as very flattering. They may have not noticed either if they were in a rush to type of the referral. Or just simply reject it.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |


If they intended it as a weak reference...delete it without shame. It is a bit late for them to be providing you with constructive criticism (and is definitely the wrong forum for that). This is also a good sign to you that you shouldn't use them as a direct reference in the future.

If it isn't intentional, they'll be happy to improve it.

It is your page, and your job to manage your brand, so don't be shy about this.

I would approach them and ask "I'd like to highlight some particular aspects of our past interactions. Would you be comfortable posting X?" and write X for them. Chances are they will say "thank you" if they are a good reference.

If you leave it there, I would see that as a red flag. What does that say about your judgment in choosing references, and in controlling your own brand? Did you run out of people who liked you? This isn't Yelp or Angie's List...this is your page.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

As a rule when I ask for a Linked-In recommendation my requests are specific, i.e. may I have a recommendation that I can display on Linked-In that speaks about ________________. Never leave the recommendation completely up to the writer, as they may not provide what you expect. The weak recommendation may be a reflection of the writer's ability to articulate your value, in a way that you feel is appropriate. People often ask for a recommendation without providing direction. That usually is a mistake.

What did you do?

Jeff Langston
Title: CFO
Company: Baxter Franchise Group
(CFO, Baxter Franchise Group) |

Firstly, does your definition of weak recommendation mean less-than-stellar or downright critical?

If it is less-than-stellar, ask the recommender if he/she would be willing to re-write it to highlight a certain skill/project/quality etc. Explain to the person that it would be more pertinent.

If it is extremely critical, just don't post it to your profile.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I agree with Jeff. I have several recommendations and some just weren't that good, one was just lousy; not that they were not recommending me, just they weren't conveying a recommendation worthy (obviously in my humble opinion) of inclusion (after attempting to get them to improve the recommendation) .

So as Jeff suggests, I didn't post it.

Topic Expert
Deborah Godfrey
Title: Budget Administrator, Business Manager, ..
Company: Seeking Employment
(Budget Administrator, Business Manager, Project/Program Manager, Seeking Employment) |

I would do one of two things--1. Ask the person to write and provide specific areas of shining or, 2. Leave it out completely. Remember, it's your profile and noone elses.


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