Formula for Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation
Before you write anything, take a look at your contact’s LinkedIn profile. Align your Recommendation with the individual’s LinkedIn profile. Tie in what you write with their LinkedIn 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.
Some things to consider include:
- What are they goodat?
- What did they do better than anyoneelse?
- What impact did they have on me? (How did they make my lifebetter/easier?)
- What made them standout?
- Is there a specific result they delivered in thisposition?
- What surprised you about theindividual?
Choose the qualities you want to emphasize in the person you are recommending. 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. (See how that works?)
In general, you will want to showcase transferable skills, because these will be the most relevant for your contacts when they are using LinkedIn for a job search or business development.
The top 10 skills employers are looking for in employees are:
- Communication Skills (verbal andwritten)
- Integrity andHonesty
- Teamwork Skills (works well withothers)
- Interpersonal Skills (relates well toothers)
- Strong WorkEthic
- Flexibility andAdaptability
These are the types of attributes you can focus on in your Recommendation. Use the following formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation to write a great Recommendation.
Here is a simple formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation:
- 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 Amy for 10 years, ever since I joined XYZ Company. She was my lead project manager when I was an”)
- 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
- 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
- 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
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 anyoneelse.
Recommendations that you write should be:
- Descriptive (with detailedcharacteristics)
- Powerful (including specific achievements, whenpossible)
- Honest/Truthful (credibility is important; avoid puffery orexaggeration)
Length is an important consideration when writing LinkedIn Recommendations. Keep your Recommendations under 200 words whenever possible. Some of the most effective LinkedIn Recommendations are only 50-100 words.
You may find it useful to look at other Recommendations before writing yours. You can do a search on LinkedIn for others with that job title and check out the Recommendations on their profiles.
You can use LinkedIn’s search functionality to conduct a search. In the main menu bar, type in keywords or job titles to find profiles related to the type of Recommendation you are writing.
You can then browse the listings that come up as matches and check out the Recommendations on those profiles.
You can use the “Filter People By” section on the right side of the page to limit your search even further.
Consider drafting your Recommendation in Microsoft Word or a text editor. Because LinkedIn does not have a built-in spell check function, this will help ensure your text does not contain spelling errors. You can also check your grammar in Microsoft Word, and use the “Word Count” feature to determine the length of your Recommendation.