5 Steps To An Effective Digital Letter of Recommendation

Jessica Adduci's picture

If it’s your first job or your fifth job, you always want to leave on good terms. Your goal should always be to gather a letter of recommendation from two or three of your professional colleagues. These letters can be very important as you move forward in your career.

In many cases, letters of recommendation have become the forgotten element in your job-seeking arsenal. That's a shame. These letters are still as important as they've always been, maybe even more so in this overly competitive job market. How you gather, store and distribute these letters has changed significantly.

The Significance of the Letter of Recommendation
If you’re applying to a new company and you’re lucky enough to know someone there, great. But many times, especially for those with less experience, you won't have any personal contacts inside these companies. That's where a great letter of recommendation can set you apart because it serves as a personal testimonial.

A letter of recommendation sheds light on who you are as a person and talks about your work ethic and morals. It describes your interactions with your colleagues and clients and highlights all of your special qualities that a résumé can’t capture. A letter of recommendation from the right person can take you from a rejection to the interview list, and it shouldn't be overlooked as you gather the materials you need to snag the job you want.

Old-School Recommendations Meet the Modern Digital World
Once you’ve submitted your two-week notice, you should always ask your closest colleagues, subordinates and supervisor to be a reference for you. Most of the time they agree and some even offer to write you a letter of recommendation, but don’t be shy about asking for one if they don’t offer.

In the past, you would typically receive three signed hard copies of a letter of recommendation (which I still suggest you get). These days, you should also ask for the electronic version. If you don’t get that, you can always scan the hard copies and create your own digital versions. Always remember to back up your resume, letters of recommendation and list of references, along with any portfolio pieces you may have, on a flash drive.

Showcasing Your Digital Letters of Recommendation

Step 1: Create a digital letter of recommendation by either scanning the hard copy or by using the original e-version.

Step 2: Upload the letter to your LinkedIn profile. Also, take your favorite quotes from the letter and add them to your profile to highlight your professional characteristics. This is an easy way to let potential employers know what people are saying about you.

Step 3: Upload your letter to your Google+ account. Google+ is gaining ground on LinkedIn as the social media platform of choice for human-resource professionals. In addition, make sure that you add a condensed résumé and a professional portrait of yourself for future employers and headhunters to view.

Step 4 (optional): If you are feeling artistic, create an online webpage all about you that includes sections for your résumé, list of recommendations and of course your letters of recommendation. Owning and copywriting your own website is extremely affordable. An annual dot-com fee through Google Blogger will run you $10 for the entire year. So create, scan and upload, but remember to link your online resume back to your LinkedIn profile, Google+ and any other social media account you may be using professionally.

Step 5: Connect with your employment references and the authors of your letters of recommendations on LinkedIn and Google+ so potential employers can quickly see who is endorsing you as an excellent employee. Potential employers will appreciate you going the extra mile to put a face to your references.

It's time to dust off those letters of recommendation, join the digital world and put yourself in the best light! 

(Jessica Adduci-Leikhram is a young business professional specializing in organizational and project management. She has worked for a number of Fortune 100 companies including those in the healthcare and insurance industry, but her true passion is in non-profit and higher education. She is also a budding entrepreneur and the founder of the health and wellness blog Plus Size Fitness. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/pub/jessica-adduci/52/727/b90.)