Write a LinkedIn Recommendation that Resonates
Writing strong LinkedIn recommendations for others can help boost their personal image and support a job search. In return recommendations can enhance your own reputation because people viewing your profile can see (and read) the recommendations you make. However, if you want your recommendation to be as beneficial as possible, take a moment to review the tips below.
Recommendations should be:
- Descriptive (with detailed characteristics)
- Powerful (including specific achievements, when possible)
- Honest/Truthful (credibility is important; avoid exaggeration)
Tips for Writing a Strong Recommendation:
Align your recommendation with the person’s goal.
Does the individual want a new job? A promotion? Make a career change? Land a client? Ensure you know what their goal is in soliciting a recommendation to help you tailor to meet their needs.
Look over their LinkedIn profile.
Tie in what you write with their headline, summary, and/or experience — reinforce the qualities they want to emphasize in the recommendation you write. Look at the existing recommendations they’ve received too.
Make sure the recommendation you write is clearly about the person you’re recommending.
That sounds like common sense, but many recommendations are too vague or too general — they could be about anyone, not this specific individual. To be effective, the recommendation you write should not be applicable to anyone else.
Narrow down qualities you want to emphasize.
You may choose to use what author and speaker Lisa B. Marshall calls “The Rule of Threes.” Simply stated, concepts or ideas presented in groups of three are more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable. Consider the qualities of the person you are recommending:
- What are they good at?
- What did they do better than anyone else?
- What impact did they have on me? (How did they make my life better/easier?)
- What made them stand out?
- Is there a specific result they delivered in this position?
- What surprised you about the individual?
Keep your recommendations under 200 words whenever possible.
Lengthier recommendations are less likely to hold a person’s interest and key information can become buried. Some of the most effective LinkedIn recommendations are only 50 to 100 words and pack a lot of punch in a only a few well thought-out sentences. Think quality of content versus quantity.
Review the recommendations of others before writing your own.
You can do a search on LinkedIn for other people with a similar job title and check out recommendations on their profiles for ideas, related skills, and styles. Just don’t copy what you read; keep your recommendation completely authentic.
Don’t ignore requests for recommendations.
But don’t feel like you have to accept all requests to make a recommendation, either. You can respond back that you don’t feel you know the person well enough to write a recommendation. Or you can put them off — saying something like, “Once we’ve worked together for a while, I’d be happy to write a recommendation for you.”
Keep it professional, at all costs.
Your mom was right: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Similarly, don’t write anything goofy, cutesy, or inappropriate.
Ask for help if you need it.
Finally, if you are asked to provide a recommendation and you are struggling with what to say it’s fine to ask the person to draft their recommendation for you to work from. Still struggling to put ‘pen to paper’? Not sure how to write a recommendation with purpose and clarity? Read my supporting post: “Step-by-Step Formula for LinkedIn Recommendations“.