Do you have recommendations on your LinkedIn profile? I don't mean so-and-so praising you in the comments on a post - I'm referring to formal LinkedIn recommendations that you can show on your profile (and that the person recommending you can show on theirs)?
If not, I strongly recommend that you get some - especially if you're job searching. They have become an important part of a job search toolkit, along with your resume and other materials, and recruiters may expect to see them.
In my view, they're much more valuable than reference letters because they're "out there" and available for recruiters to see. Check out this post for some thoughts on how they compare.
So - once you have some glowing recommendations for the world to see, how do you get recruiters to see them? If previous supervisors have touted you as the best retail leader the world has ever seen, needless to say it can be REALLY helpful to draw attention to that.
Here are a few options:
Showcase some of your top recommendations in the summary section of your profile (About)
One of the problems with LinkedIn recommendations is that they're placed towards the bottom of your profile, and last time I checked I couldn't see any way to bring them up higher. That means many people may not automatically see them. I haven't seen any studies, but it wouldn't surprise me if most people who review LinkedIn profiles don't make it down that far. (They're even listed AFTER skills & endorsements, which aren't nearly as important, in my view.)
So in order to get some eyeballs on them, you either need to take the reader there (get them to scroll down to the recommendation section) or bring them to the reader (showcase quotes up top in the summary, where there's a better chance they'll be reading).
So does that mean just copying and pasting every word from every recommendation? Not necessarily. It depends on what people have said, and who has said it. But you can pull out strong quotes and include them in the summary.
Check out my profile's About section for an example.
Integrate a LinkedIn recommendation into your resume or cover letter
It is possible that recruiters will stumble across your LinkedIn profile on their own (especially if you're active on the platform), and it is possible that they'll scroll down and find all those amazing recommendations you have. But...don't hold your breath.
Instead, try integrating a snippet from a recommendation into your actual resume or cover letter. Again, if you have a former direct supervisor who called you the greatest leader in the industry, be proud of that and put it in your resume along with your experience, education, and other qualifications. It's something that can help the recruiter decide whether or not you're a strong candidate, so get it out there.
Here's how to do it.
Integrate a LinkedIn recommendation into your email signature
Every time you email a recruiter you have a chance to get their attention and "sell" them on what you can bring to the table. An outstanding recommendation can help with that. But saying something like "Hey, will you please go to my LinkedIn profile, scroll down to the bottom, and read about how my last supervisor thought I was amazing?" may not seem like the most subtle approach.
Instead, you may prefer to include a quote in your email signature, so that each time you email them, they can see it. Here's an example:
JAN DRISCOLL, AWARD-WINNING RETAIL LEADER
linkedin.com/in/jandriscoll | twitter.com/jandriscoll
555.555.5555 | firstname.lastname@example.org
"Jan is an extraordinary store manager. She led the district in sales and KPIs, she served as district trainer, and she managed a variety of projects. She is absolutely ready for promotion to DM." (LinkedIn Recommendation)
I'm sure there are many other ways you can draw attention to your recommendations, but the important thing is this - if your recommendations are strong, you DO want to draw attention to them. Resumes are definitely important, but first-hand testimonials from those you've worked with in the past are also incredibly helpful.
I encourage you to reach out to former supervisors and colleagues and ask. Just go to their profile, click on "More," select "Request a recommendation," and go from there. It can't hurt, and it can definitely help.
Best of luck!