The easiest way to get more LinkedIn recommendations is to learn how to write a good LinkedIn recommendation, so you can start writing some for your current boss and co-workers. After they receive your glowing recommendation, they'll be more inclined to return the favor.
You can write a recommendation on LinkedIn for your first-degree connections, such as coworkers, friends, clients, or anyone you worked with in any capacity.
LinkedIn recommendations are an upgraded version of recommendation letters in many ways. Here are some of the upgrades:
- LinkedIn recommendations are available for anyone to see, not just the recommendation’s recipient or the person requesting it.
- Like everything online, it will live on forever or as long as the social network is active, unlike traditional recommendation letters that get thrown or deleted.
- LinkedIn recommendations are also easily verified. Whoever reads the recommendations on your LinkedIn account can visit the profile of whoever gave it, and evaluate the source’s credibility.
To learn about how to write a traditional letter of recommendation, study:
Otherwise, let's jump into today's tutorial.
How to Write a Great LinkedIn Recommendation in 2021
LinkedIn recommendations can be important in a job search. Have you been asked to write a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague? Learn how to do it right in this short video tutorial:
Or, study the complete written tutorial below for more detail.
A LinkedIn Recommendation Reveals a Lot About You
What many people don’t realize is that a recommendation says a lot about the person leaving it, not just the recipient.
If you end up hiring a developer recommended by a friend, and that person turned out better than expected, wouldn’t your trust of that friend’s judgment increase?
Recommending people you’ve worked with in different capacities gives you good karma and better relations with people from all walks of life. Because of this, your credibility increases with quantity and quality of the recommendations you write.
How to Write a Recommendation on LinkedIn
1. Start with a Powerful Hook
A great recommendation is nothing if it’s not read until the end, so start your LinkedIn recommendation with a good hook. Lines like, “Bob is the best…” or “Susan is a valuable team member” are mediocre and commonplace in recommendations so don’t use these phrases.
Write about how awesome the person you’re recommending is, and be specific about what makes that person unique. But don’t just write “the best programmer” or “most reliable video editor” on every recommendation you make. Your recommendations show on your profile page too, so it won’t be authentic if those phrases appear on multiple entries.
Good news is there are tons of synonyms for the superlatives above, and there’s more than one way to describe a person’s talent. Compare the examples below:
“Sam is a gifted negotiator with a rare combination of patience, spunk, and research skills.”
“I’m lucky to have worked with Edmund, a manager who’s not only interested in the company’s bottom line, but also in his employees' professional growth."
The first example used adjectives and skill to describe the recommendation’s recipient, while the second example talks about the recipient’s treatment of his employees and to some extent, shows how that unexpected treatment made an impact to the writer.
2. Provide Context for the LinkedIn Recommendation
Remember, LinkedIn recommendations aren’t limited to boss-employee relationships. LinkedIn also allows you to write one for your teammate, a manager in another department, and someone you've mentored. So, it’s essential to provide context to prevent others from getting confused, or guessing what your professional relationship is with the recipient.
Context also explains what makes you a credible source of the recommendation.
“I hired Gwenn as a Freelance Website Designer to re-design my website portfolio in 2016.”
“Timothy has worked with me as a Marketing Manager for several product launches in XYZ Company for the past three years.”
It’s also crucial for LinkedIn users to know if you’ve only worked with the person once or twice, so they’ll know your experience with that person’s work ethic and performance isn’t as in-depth as someone who spent years working with them.
3. Write About the Person’s Impact on You or Your Organization
This is where you can add details to explain your claims in the first sentence (hook). You can also use this to describe what the recipient did that was different from your previous boss or other co-workers. For service providers, write about what makes them better than other companies or professionals you’ve worked with previously.
Consider the following if you’re not sure what to write about:
For Subordinates and Coworkers
- What tasks were they responsible for? How did these contributions affect the organization?
- What skills or tasks are they best at and why?
- Is the person considered an expert or go-to resource on a specific topic or task at work?
- Can you share one significant challenge this person overcome and its impact on the company?
For Service Providers
- Why did you choose this person among other professionals in their industry?
- Have you worked with this person multiple times? Why?
- Would you recommend that person to your friends if they were looking for similar services?
- Did this person take the time to assist you after your transaction was over? Or did you have to ask someone else to have your questions answered? This question applies to realtors, sales agents, app developers, and anyone selling you a product or service that may need after-sales support.
Continuing With the Example Used Above
“I’ve seen Timothy go above and beyond in researching promotion and collaboration opportunities with different brands during the three years we worked together. Because of his ‘student for life’ mindset, he’s also eager to learn new marketing techniques, and that’s how our team became the forerunner in using Facebook ads and whiteboard videos in product launches for the company.”
The statement above describes the recipient’s task and a memorable accomplishment that had a major impact on their team.
4. Personal Insight
A LinkedIn recommendation wouldn’t be entirely authentic and personalized if you don’t mention what the recipient is like as a person. Write a short sentence to describe how the recipient made you feel while working together or certain aspects of their personality that you’ve observed.
“Sarah is a patient realtor who didn’t make me feel like my first real estate purchase was just another sale she had to close to earn her paycheck.”
5. End on a Powerful Statement
A LinkedIn recommendation is mainly used to help the recipient get a job or client for his or her business. With a strong call to action, you help the recipient get more clients or job offers, while helping LinkedIn users decide if the recipient is worth hiring.
“I’m happy with the work Robert did to renovate our kitchen, and I recommend him and his team to others looking for a kitchen upgrade.”
“Michael’s talent as a video editor made him a valuable member of our team. I’m sure he'll be an asset to the next organization he joins.”
Here’s an Easy LinkedIn Recommendation Template to Follow
(Name) is a/an
(descriptive phrase you associate with the
person). They have worked with me as the
(Job Title) at
(Company Name) for
(number of years), during which
(explain your working relationship, colleague, service
provider, etc.).They were the
(descriptive phrase) on our team when it comes to
(expertise or skill), and it’s thanks to them that
(specific challenge the
person overcame or a memorable achievement).
(colleague, team member, freelancer, etc.), they
(describe the person’s attitude at work). I’m happy with the work
(Name) did as
(job title), and I give them my full recommendation.
LinkedIn Recommendation Sample Based on the Template Above
“Kimberly is a creative teacher with a knack for getting kids to quiet down and listen. She has worked with me as a preschool teacher at Happy Tots Preschool for three years, during which I oversaw her work as the school’s administrator. She is the go-to resource for teachers looking for relaxing activities that help kids wind down before nap time, especially when it comes to fuzzy or hyperactive kids. It’s thanks to her that nap time, and even lessons after recess for older kids proceed smoothly.
As a member of the faculty, she’s always accommodating when talking to parents. I’m happy with the work Kimberly did as a preschool teacher, and I give her my full recommendation.”
Need more examples? Check out these examples of good recommendations on LinkedIn.
Below is the recommendation Taylor Jacobson gave the director of the intellectual property (IP) consulting firm he worked with for his company. It’s specific because Taylor detailed the kind of support and IP assistance he received from Beacon. He also included a strong conclusion that confirms he’s happy with the firm’s services.
"I went to Pallavi and her team at Beacon for support with the IP aspects of an early stage software app. I got exactly the hand-holding I needed to understand which forms of protection make the most sense and which details of my applications would be pivotal in my success. Will definitely return for future support"
In the example below, the recommendation clarifies that the recipient only worked with the recommendation writer, Edward Sturm, on a per project arrangement. He also specified the recipient’s expertise as a front-end web developer and cited a specific example of what makes him reliable.
“As an SEO, I come into contact with many front-end web developers- and Kobe, when it comes to e-commerce and mobile apps, is one of the best I've met. We've worked together for many clients and aside from his skill, what I appreciate most is how reliable and responsive he is. When it's 3 AM on a Saturday and I need a site wide meta robots tag update, Kobe will answer his phone and implement it. He's great to my clients in service, and always delivers an amazing product.
I happily recommend him here on LinkedIn, and do so in person to my clients whenever I have the opportunity.”
4 Easy Tips for Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation
1. Make it Genuine and Personal
You’ve worked with the recipient of the LinkedIn recommendation, and if you’ve known each other for a while, you know their personality as well. So, don’t write a generic recommendation that reads as if it were written by a stranger.
Write about a specific situation where the recipient went above and beyond their job or an event that highlighted the person’s attitude.
“I’m amazed by Anna’s ability to make friends with anyone, a skill she uses to full effect when presenting proposals to our clients.”
2. Consider the Recipient’s Goal
Is the recipient an employee, independent contractor, or business owner? Their employment status affects how they will use your LinkedIn recommendation.
3. Keep it Professional
If you don’t have anything nice to write, keep it to yourself. LinkedIn’s recommendation feature isn’t an avenue for people to share their negative reviews. There are other platforms where you can do that, such as Yelp.
4. Keep it Short
LinkedIn recommendations are limited to 3,000 characters, but that doesn’t mean you have to max it out. Keep your recommendation between two to three short paragraphs to avoid boring readers.
How to Post a Recommendation on LinkedIn
Now that you’ve written a compelling recommendation, it’s time to learn how to post this on LinkedIn.
1. Go to the profile of the person you want to recommend.
2. Click the ellipsis (More) icon beside the Message button located in the top section of their profile. Click Recommend.
3. Choose the right Relationship and Position at the time option on the pop-up window that appears, and then click Next.
As you can see from the screenshot below, there are many relationship options. So, pick the one that appropriately describes how you worked with the person you’re recommending.
The options you’ll see at Position at the time are from the recipient’s work history on LinkedIn.
4. Paste the LinkedIn recommendation you wrote in the message field. Read it out loud to check if there are any typos or grammar mistakes. Click Send.
Write a Great LinkedIn Recommendation Today
People who receive stellar recommendations are more likely to return the favor. So, if you’re looking to improve your LinkedIn profile, build a network, and boost your online credibility, start writing recommendations for your boss, colleagues, and anyone else you can confidently recommend right now.
Discover more Tuts+ tutorials to help you level up your career:
- How to Write an Excellent Letter of Recommendation (+Templates)Charley Mendoza21 Dec 2021
- How to Make Your Resume the Perfect Length (+To the Point)Charley Mendoza07 Sep 2020
- How to Answer the “What Do You Do for a Living?” QuestionCharley Mendoza09 Jun 2021
What tips do you have to write a great LinkedIn Recommendation? Let us know in the comments below.
Editors Note: This article was originally published in November of 2017. It's been updated to include a video by Sharon Hurley Hall.