Whether you do it to sincerely help people you like, or in order to grow your own network, writing an enviable LinkedIn recommendation is an important job-seeking skill.
But I don’t know anyone whose definition of a fun afternoon is putting together interesting testimonials for every co-worker, friend, boss, client, classmate, and family member on LinkedIn. Take heart. There are ways to streamline the task and still deliver the goods.
When you write an effective recommendation, it makes you look good! Every intelligent, accurate, and positive reference you write increases the likelihood that your contact will reciprocate. And anyone reading your well-done recommendations will know what a stellar individual you are.
Don’t write recommendations for people you don’t know well. It dilutes your credibility and theirs.
Don’t fudge on the facts. Be honest, correct, and sincere.
Don’t be too casual, or use slang, or attempt to be humorous. Keep it professional.
Don’t include irrelevant information such as comments about the person’s politics, religion, ethnicity, marital status, age or health. Stick to the facts that would help advance anyone’s career.
Don’t let any sloppiness creep in. Triple check your writing for typos, misspellings, and incorrect grammar.
A Template for You
Start your recommendation by introducing yourself, but stay away from boilerplate. Instead, think of your first sentence as linking your biographies and at the same time, enticing the reader to continue.
“Ever since I met Henry in the fifth grade, I’ve wondered what made him tick. Now I know.”
“Shirley doesn’t know it but she’s been my role model since we worked together planning special events at ABC Productions four years ago.”
Then, go on to list the outstanding qualities and skills you know about. The more specifics – within reason – you can give, the better.
“Fran quadrupled the sales in our department during her first year at XYZ Company because she was so diligent about following-up any lead.” It helps if you have seen Fran’s resume and profile to know what she’s aspiring to and what she’s emphasizing.
Your next paragraph (and paragraphing is an excellent way to make the writing more reader-friendly) should highlight some unique quality in your contact. Ideally, you’ll have a success story to share about a special skill or trait your friend has.
“I’ll never forget the efficient organization skills Joe demonstrated when he managed all the details of our start-up company’s overwhelmingly successful convention trip, including designing our booth displays, scheduling transportation and lodging, getting our team on the speaker panels, and hosting a productive de-briefing after we returned home.”
Now add a paragraph that leaves the reader with a warm, fuzzy feeling about the person. With all the attention given to new employees fitting in to the particular workplace culture, endorsing the person as a pleasure to work with can carry lots of weight to a recruiter or future employer. Keep your remarks businesslike, but personal.
“Bruce’s good humor and enthusiasm was so contagious that no one objected to working overtime when he was part of the project!”
Wrap up your little essay with a solid endorsement. To be as helpful as possible, think about what the reader would most like to learn about this individual’s assets.
“Because of her artistic talents, knowledge of the industry, and disciplined work ethic, any media company would be lucky to have Meagan on board.”
Try these tips. I think you’ll find it easy to write recommendations that help your contacts, help yourself, and help the people reading those often-boring LinkedIn profiles.