May 21, 2014

One of the most efficient ways to support someone professionally is to give them a recommendation on LinkedIn. These recommendations are often well revered by hiring managers or potential clients. They essentially translate to a referral or reference to the person recommended. They are much more powerful and intentional than endorsements on LinkedIn because they actually take time to write and speak directly to the person and their strengths.

If you really want to give someone credit, write them a kick-ass recommendation on LinkedIn! I promise you they'll appreciate it.

But, what makes a great recommendation?

This was actually a question posed to me by one of my friends and regular reader. She wanted some advice on how to write an effective LinkedIn recommendation.

So, I've put together my best tips to help you write better LinkedIn recommendations!

Make It Stand Out

Another boring "so and so is really good a "x" and is reliable to work with" is not an effective recommendation. It sounds almost forced and like it came from a template. Instead, write directly to the unique strengths of the person.

Say something like:

  • So and so is the bomb!
  • I have never had the opportunity to work with someone as amazingly efficient as so and so.
  • If you want to work with someone who will exceed every expectation and leave you with ultimate satisfaction in a job well done....

Make it stand out from the rest. I also recommend you put this statement as the first sentence (or early in the recommendation) to really pull in those reading it.

Avoid Clichés and Buzzwords

As much as you want your recommendation to stand out, you don't want it to be laced with clichés and buzzwords. Instead, speak to the true feelings and opinions you have. Fill your recommendation with information and relevant details, not buzzwords. Or, if you feel like a buzzword is relevant to use, make sure you qualify it. Simply saying someone is "responsible" or "the most talented person" doesn't say much these days. Instead, explain how and why they are "responsible" or justifiably talented.

Make It Personal

Apparently you know something about this person and have had a working relationship of some sort with them. If this is true (and if it's not, why are you writing a recommendation?) then you should have personal input to share. This should include details about a specific project or incident that defines the person's skills or attributes. Maybe they came in ahead of schedule or recognized an issue and suggested a resolution.

You can also define your relationship. How long have you known or worked with the person? How many projects have you worked on together? Do you report to them or do they report to you - and how does this relationship define their skills (communication, leadership, teamwork, etc.)?

What Makes The Person Unique?

There are thousands of people who do what this person does. I don't care what their job or skill set is. There are plenty of other people who do the same thing. And yet you're recommending this person. Why? What makes them unique? What makes them better than the competition? Make sure you mention this in your recommendation!

End It On a Powerful Statement

Don't leave the reader hanging at the end of your recommendation. Instead, give them a strong concluding statement - almost like a call-to-action. Put it in the context of the person reading the recommendation - not in terms or you nor the person you're recommending. Try something like:

  • So and so has received my highest respect and they'll earn yours too.
  • So and so will be a definitive asset to your team.
  • This is the person you need to hire to complete your project!

So, now you know what to put in your recommendation. But how do you format it?

Keep it as simple as possible. If you can say the same thing in 200 words as you can in 300, keep it to 200. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional network and people appreciate directness and simplicity.

Use paragraphs! You don't have to write one long run-on paragraph with three different thoughts. If you have that much to say, split it up and make it easy to read.

Beginning. Middle. End. You remember elementary school writing class, right? Yes, it's that basic. Have an introduction that is powerful and draws them in. This can be as simple as one sentence. Then have your "body" - the "meat" of your recommendation based on the information I listed above. Then a powerful conclusion. Again this can be as simple as one (strong) sentence.

You don't need to write a novel. But you should write more than 3 sentences.

If you're taking the time to recommend someone, do it well. Allow them to shine for all the qualities you know they have! If you write recommendations for people using these methods, I promise you they will not only appreciate it, but they'll get very positive results from it too.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Wonderful Jenn! I especially like your suggestion that simply saying someone is responsible or reliable is not enough. Sharing concrete examples is definitely the way to go. I also agree that keeping it just long enough to include what is important but avoiding being “wordy” is important.

    1. Thanks Martin! Maybe someday. Although you could always write a recommendation based on my blogs 😉

Comments are closed.

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