Recommendations on LinkedIn are very valuable. They give potential customers and employers insight to who you are as a person and a professional. LinkedIn also moves you up search rankings when you have at least one recommendation for each job you list under "experience."
HOW DO YOU EARN A RECOMMENDATION?
There are people that will recommend you because you have done good work for them and that is a great place to start. Sometimes people need a little encouragement, asking to be recommended is a simple and effective way to gain recommendations.
ASKING FOR A RECOMMENDATION
First: know what you are asking to be recommended for? Is the recommendation from a manager (current or former)? Is it from a co-worker? is it from a customer? Is it from someone that worked on a project or volunteered with you? All these variations will subtly change the recommendation.
Second: You are asking a favor of someone, be conscious when asking. The default message
"I'm writing to ask if you would write a brief recommendation of my work that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thanks in advance for your help."
This works very nicely. If you know that the person you are asking may be hesitant or may be too busy, you have a couple options. You can suggest what specifically you are asking to be recommended for and offer to provide a template, or you can provide a template and encourage them to edit it as they feel appropriate. I have always used the standard LinkedIn language but many articles and books written about LinkedIn suggest the template method.
THE BEST WAY TO GET RECOMMENDATIONS
Give them. That's it. No tricks, just be kind enough to recommend others. There are two main reasons this work so well. First, when you recommend someone without being asked, they often feel the desire to reciprocate. Second, LinkedIn will suggest to the person you just recommended that they return the favor and recommend you.
Give it a try. Make a list of ten people you are connected to that you really want to recommend, then do it. Then, wait one week before you recommend the next person on your list, UNLESS that last person returns the favor. then you make the next recommendation right away. When you look back after one year, I bet you have over 52 additional recommendations.