How to write a brilliant LinkedIn recommendation

writing a LinkedIn recommendation
Screenshot of LinkedIn recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations make a profile more believable. (Click to enlarge.)

For some people, their LinkedIn profile is vital to their online presence. Your LinkedIn profile might be your first impression on recruiters, employers or potential clients. Your profile is almost certainly the first thing that comes up when someone googles your name.

The first impression could be made golden by a collection of excellent LinkedIn recommendations.

First impressions matter most in competitive marketplaces. A competitive marketplace is one where recruiters, employers or clients are spoiled for choice. In a market spoiled for choice, years of working experience and impeccable technical knowledge won’t be enough.

Having a stellar LinkedIn profile will stand you above the crowd of job-seekers and networkers.

LinkedIn recommendations show off and prove a person’s unique skills and expertise. Recommendations turn paper skills and qualities into stories that showcase how you help others succeed.

What we cover in this article

In this article, you’ll learn how to write a LinkedIn recommendation from a professional LinkedIn profile writer. We’ve also included some useful examples that you can use as starting points.

In this article:

  1. What is a LinkedIn recommendation
  2. What makes a great LinkedIn recommendation
  3. A 6-step guide to writing a LinkedIn recommendation
  4. The four qualities of a good LinkedIn recommendation
  5. Do LinkedIn recommendations make a difference?
  6. The best way to ask someone for a LinkedIn recommendation
  7. LinkedIn recommendation examples

What is a LinkedIn recommendation?

LinkedIn recommendations have two audiences
You’re writing a LinkedIn recommendation for two audiences: the recipient and the people they’d like to impress

A LinkedIn recommendation is a testimonial for a person. Recommendations are typically from managers, colleagues and clients.

Every LinkedIn profile has a section for recommendations. The person can send you a request on LinkedIn to add a recommendation to their profile. Also, you can visit anyone’s profile and add a recommendation. In either case, the profile owner must approve a recommendation. Only then will it appear on their profile.

A recommendation on LinkedIn can be an endorsement of your skills or experience. Or it could be a testimonial about your job performance. Most importantly, a recommendation should be social proof that you deliver. The better a recommendation proves your ability to deliver, the more valuable the recommendation.

LinkedIn recommendations are like the diamond necklace that finishes an outfit. They accentuate what’s already advertised in a well-written LinkedIn profile.

What makes a great LinkedIn recommendation?

The best recommendations on LinkedIn give context. Context takes a recommendation beyond, “I recommend him because he’s a great worker” or “because she knows her stuff”.

Tell the story of why you chose to write a recommendation. What did this person do for you and what difference did it make to you? How did they do it better or differently from how someone with identical skills or experience might have done it?

Probably, the recipient approaches their job in a way that makes them special. Be sure to include that. You’re not writing a certificate of accomplishment; you’re talking about one person to another person.

Your LinkedIn recommendation could be someone’s golden ticket to a career or business goal. People are highly influenced by what other people think, so readers will pay attention to what you write.

Writing recommendations for peers and colleagues likely comes with benefits for you, too. You might get more recommendations for yourself. That will not only boost your LinkedIn presence, but make it easier for you to network with other professionals.

How do I write a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn?

You write a recommendation to share your perspective on the person’s character, skills and experience. But anyone can say nice things, so the best recommendations are believable. You can make your recommendation most believable by including include specific examples of the person’s achievements. Also, include examples of the benefits those achievements delivered.

It’s important to write a recommendation that accurately reflects your feelings about the person. At the same time, your recommendation should also align with the way they want to be represented online. (If in doubt, ask.)

Tips for profile recommendations
Nailing your testimonial takes some thought.

A 6-step guide to writing a LinkedIn recommendation

Here are five tips that will help you when writing a LinkedIn recommendation…

  1. Clarify your working relationship with the person you’re recommending
  2. Provide details of the position for which you’re recommending the person
  3. Talk about their professional growth
  4. Describe the person’s achievements
  5. Connect these achievements to this person’s character
  6. Explain what it was like working with this person

1. Clarify your working relationship with the person you’re recommending

Providing background information is a good way to start your recommendations. Describe the nature of your working relationship. That will provide context as to why you’re writing this recommendation for this person.

Doing so will help potential employers or clients to understand the impact this person makes. It also shows potential employers and clients the value this person brings.

2. Provide details of the position for which you’re recommending the person

In your recommendation, explain the notable aspects of the person’s work. Did they spearhead a particular project? How did that turn out? What were its implications?

Did they hold multiple positions in your company? Talk about how each role developed them into an indispensable asset. You can do that by highlighting specific examples from their different jobs.

Focus on promoting skills and experience relevant to where this person wants to go, not where they’ve been. It might help to have a discussion with them about their career or business trajectory. That way, you’ll know what wins to highlight.

3. Talk about their professional growth

If this person reported to you, you were in the perfect position to watch their growth. Write about that growth, either in their position on your team or from one role to another.

Every employer and client wants someone adaptable. Stories of growth demonstrate adaptability to new challenges.

What you don’t want to do is call attention to pitfalls or setbacks that may have happened in their career. That could detract from the accomplishments you want to highlight for them.

4. Describe the person’s achievements

Specific achievements are the best way of showing how successful or helpful the person has been. Did this person contribute to improving revenue or decreasing operational costs? Or did they help advance measurable objectives? More sales? Bringing in better clients? Where did they move the needle?

Boosting team morale and cohesion is an achievement, too.

5. Connect these achievements to this person’s character

What do the person’s accomplishments say about their professional character? Their achievements might reveal that the person is ambitious, plays well with others or has a strong work ethic. Connect their accomplishments to a broader theme in your recommendation.

6. Explain what it was like working with this person

In your conclusion, mention how you felt working with this person or your hopes for their career. If you enjoyed working with someone, mention that. If the person had a positive impact on your life or career in any way, write about it.

The four qualities of a good LinkedIn recommendation

Have you recommended someone well?
Have you recommended someone well?

What separates a great LinkedIn recommendation from a mediocre one? For starters, the best LinkedIn recommendations are honest, detailed and personal.

  1. Be honest and sincere
  2. Consider the goal
  3. Be professional
  4. Keep it short

1. Be honest and sincere

Be genuine in your message. A generic recommendation could come off as insincere. To rise above the generic, bring up specific examples of what you appreciated.

2. Consider the goal

Why is the person asking for a recommendation? Are they applying for a new position? Are they looking for a certain type of client? These are all questions you should ask yourself before making a statement.

Considering the answers, what aspects of your contact’s attitude and skills should be highlighted to demonstrate their qualifications?

3. Be professional

Be careful with observations that might stray into the personal. A good recommendation will bring up personal qualities — loyal, committed, smart, etc. However, you should only steer into the completely informal or details of someone’s personal life if you’re sure that will be appreciate by:

The subject
The subject’s target audience
We’ve all enjoyed a big night out, but we don’t write about it on our CV.

4. Keep it short

LinkedIn only allows for 3000 characters for their recommendations. So there’s no need to outline pages of content that wax lyrical about the person. Keep it brief and meaningful. Three or four paragraphs should suffice.

Do LinkedIn recommendations make a difference?

Absolutely. A quality LinkedIn recommendation is a great way to boost an online presence. The right social proof can also lead to more referrals and new business opportunities. In short, to recommend someone could be to do them an enormous favour.

However, the value hinges on how well-written your testimonial is.

Also, the authority of the recommender matters too. So it’s important that you come across as credible, someone who can definitely vouch for someone.

What’s the best way to ask someone for a LinkedIn recommendation?

LinkedIn’s messaging system allows you to request recommendations for your connections. But you want them to write nice things about you. Sending an automated message might not be the best way to go about it.

A personalised message will go further towards getting you a favourable response. Remind them of your connection and nudge them into saying what matters. In your request, touch on shared projects or experiences as a hint that you’d like those mentioned. You could also offer to write them a recommendation before asking for one back.

If you’ve received a reference from someone in the past, send them a link to your LinkedIn profile. Ask if they might be kind enough to upload their recommendation on LinkedIn.

A few options for asking for a recommendation include:

  1. Go through your LinkedIn connections
  2. Write someone a recommendation first
  3. Be straightforward

1. Go through your LinkedIn connections

First, you need to find people who could help you. Give LinkedIn a sweep for colleagues (past and present). Look for clients and other people you know in a professional capacity. It’s also worth searching for people you met during networking events, seminars or organisations.

2. Write someone a recommendation first

Take initiative. A great way to build your network is by recommending for contacts whom you might want to endorse you. They’ll want to return the favour.

Mention that you’ve become aware how important LinkedIn recommendations are. Explain why you felt they deserved a recommendation. Follow up by asking them to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you because it’s important.

3. Be straightforward

Sometimes the best way is just to ask. But do give the recipient a graceful out. Some companies prohibit employees from endorsing anyone. Your recipient will feel less awkward about refusing if you mention you know they might not be allowed.

Also, some LinkedIn connections might not feel they know enough about you. Be explicit that you won’t take offence.

LinkedIn recommendation examples

We’ve written some basic examples of LinkedIn recommendations. You can use these examples as templates to write your own.

LinkedIn recommendation for an accountant

I have had the pleasure of working with Karen for over three years. Efficient, analytical and knowledgeable are just a few of the words that come to mind.

Throughout our interactions, Karen has proven herself as professional and personable. She is dedicated to providing accurate financial information in strict confidence. Her ability to create rapport within her team makes working together so enjoyable.

LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague

I have had the privilege of working with John on several corporate assignments. It is rare to find someone so committed and meticulous about their work, as I found in John.

He is always willing to go that extra mile to ensure that everything was perfect. Our team has greatly benefited from his skills and strong work ethic.

John is thoroughly committed to his team and company’s success. He will do anything necessary to help create a cohesive, productive work environment. Anyone would be lucky to have him on their team

LinkedIn recommendation for a business analyst

David is an analytical whiz and a valued team member with expert problem-solving skills. He has over a decade of experience supporting business solution software and analysing business operations in our company.

This has given David a unique insight of the challenges our organisation faces when implementing solutions. He’s always approachable for advice on how we can overcome these obstacles.

David has successfully analysed processes and implemented solutions to achieve organisational goals, such as improving customer service efficiency or maximising staff productivity.

He is adept at communicating complex ideas in simple terms while ensuring deadlines are met without sacrificing quality. He trained teams on new procedures and he empowered others to take leadership roles.

LinkedIn recommendation for a HR manager

Margaret has spent the last 12 years spearheading comprehensive HR functions at our company. Margaret has a friendly, approachable demeanour and is always eager to help others. She excels in verbal communication and written communication skills.

In her role as an HR leader, she increased employee retention by maintaining a positive work environment. She also developed targeted outreach recruitment programs to recruit the best talent for the company.

Margaret also had success in resolving labour disputes collaboratively with legal counsel and arbitration proceedings when necessary. This is all while ensuring compliance with applicable laws.

LinkedIn recommendation for a sales manager

Amanda’s successful 5-year track record of consistently exceeding quotas speaks for itself. Her optimism and high energy level is the key ingredient that gets her and her team through the day. Her extensive background in sales management is what allowed her to successfully train her team to become motivated representatives of the company.

Amanda’s enthusiasm and work ethic have made her a motivating force for those around her. Her success shows not only through her exceptional ability to generate sales. It also shines through her sales team’s successful track record. It takes an incredible mind like Amanda’s to make that happen!

LinkedIn recommendation for a web developer

Arthur is a web developer with strong technical skills and an unwavering passion for his work. He loves what he does and strives to be a better team member every day.

Arthur has revamped applications for our company’s website security twice, which reduced hacker attacks by 50%. Last year, he redesigned the entire site himself. Our website saw an increase in traffic by 28%, as well as a 15% increase in customer purchases. Arthur also trained over 50 staff members throughout our company in internal functions such as understanding our CMS.

When Arthur isn’t hard at work, he can be found working on side projects that help improve himself as a developer. Either that, or he’ll be learning more about website software through online courses.

LinkedIn recommendation for a teacher

Stacy has been a wonderful educator for our school. She’s been able to connect with students in a way that few teachers are capable of doing. This is evidenced by the countless feedback she received from grateful parents.

Stacy’s positive impact extends well beyond her own classroom. She’s given other teachers invaluable advice on incorporating technology into their lessons. She also paved the way to revamping our secondary school curriculum. She added new books that reflected our goal for more learning.

Explode your network with expertly written LinkedIn recommendations

Writing a LinkedIn recommendation is an important part of your personal brand and professional development. It’s also one way to show appreciation for the work that others do with you on projects, in meetings, or through other interactions.

The last piece of advice for writing a LinkedIn recommendation is to always remember that it’s about the person you’re recommending. You want your recommendation recipient to feel comfortable and proud when they read what you’ve written. So, make sure to keep in mind their personality type, strengths, accomplishments, and goals as you write your message.

How’s your LinkedIn profile?

You’ve been asked to write about someone else because they know it’s important how they look to the world on LinkedIn. But what about how you look?

Are you putting your best foot forward on the world’s biggest business network? Or are you making these simple LinkedIn mistakes?