Step-by-Step Formula for Writing LinkedIn Recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations that are well written and properly compiled can have a lot of impact. If you are asked to provide a recommendation (for a colleague, client, partner, coworker, or employee ) it can be a daunting task to ensure you provide something that is meaningful and valuable.
Here is a simple formula for creating a LinkedIn recommendation that resonates:
• Start with how you know the person (1 sentence).
Give context for the relationship beyond just the job title and organization/company/school, although that can be a good way to start your recommendation. (“I’ve known Jill for 10 years, ever since I joined XYZ Company. She was my lead project manager when I was an analyst.”)
• Be specific about why you are recommending the individual (1 sentence).
What qualities make him or her most valuable? Emphasize what the person did that set him or her apart. What is his work style? Does she have a defining characteristic? To be effective, recommendations should focus on specific qualifications.
• Tell a story (3-5 sentences).
Back up your recommendation with a specific example. Your recommendation should demonstrate that you know the person well — so tell a story that only you could tell. And provide “social proof” in the story — give scope and scale for the accomplishments. Don’t just say the individual you’re recommending led the team — say he led a 5-person team or a 22-person team. Supporting evidence: numbers, percentages, and dollar figures lends detail and credibility to your story.
• End with a “call to action” (1 sentence).
Finish with the statement “I recommend (name)” and the reason why you would recommend him or her. In the first sentence, you describe how you know the individual and give context about why you are qualified to recommend him or her.
• (Name) and I have worked together…
• I’ve known (name) for (how long)…
For the second bullet point, you can set up the description of his or her qualities by providing an overview sentence. Here are some examples:
• Able to implement…
• Able to train…
• Consistent record of …
• Customer-centred leader…
• Effective in _________
• Experienced professional in the _____ industry
• Held key role in ________________
• Achiever recognized for…
• Proficient in managing multiple priorities and projects…
• Recognized and appreciated by…
• Served as a liaison between _________
• Subject-matter expert in _____
• Team player with…
• Well-versed in …
Jason had a consistent record of delivering year-over-year sales revenue increases while also ensuring top-notch customer service, working effectively with the entire 7-member sales team to make sure the client’s needs were met.
Michelle is a subject-matter expert in logistics, warehouse planning, and team leadership. Her ability to take the initiative to ensure the thousands of items in each shipment were prioritized for same-day processing made her an indispensable member of the management team.
For the storytelling section, you can choose a “Challenge-Action-Result” format to describe the project:
• Challenge: What was the context for the work situation on the project? What was the problem that the project was designed to tackle?
• Action: What did the person you’re recommending do? What was their specific contribution?
• Result: What was the outcome of the project — and can you quantify it?
Choose descriptive adjectives to include in your recommendations. Instead of describing someone as “innovative,” choose a word like “forward-thinking” or “pioneering.”
Finally, always ensure the recommendation is truthful and on-brand with the person’s career and/or career target. If you don’t know how to best support the person in a recommendation – ask! For more tips on writing solid LinkedIn recommendations see my post on LinkedIn “How to Write Lucrative LinkedIn Recommendations“. Need more information on LinkedIn? Check out 11 Things to Avoid on LinkedIn