You can’t write you own, you can’t edit one that someone has submitted to you (you can only choose whether or not to display it on your profile), and recommendations are on display for anyone and everyone in the LinkedIn Community to see. Because of this, LinkedIn Recommendations carry some serious weight.
They exist so that a third party can obtain a better perspective on you and your business expertise and abilities. To a potential employer, a LinkedIn recommendation is a reference in advance and can help you secure an interview. To a potential customer, a LinkedIn recommendation is social proof to base buying decision on.
Recommendations on LinkedIn are miniature letters of professional endorsement that you write for coworkers, employees, employers, clients, and colleagues. These are not the same as “Facebook Likes” “atta boys”, or “happy birthdays”. Recommendations are how you “vouch” for someone on LinkedIn and it is the social proof that customers are looking for to make their purchasing decision.
This article will help you learn how to write recommendations that are powerful, memorable, and provide value to the person you are writing it for.
You’ll also learn when and how to properly request recommendations from others and avoid that awkward feeling of imposition as well as make sure that you get the kind of recommendation that is going to be valuable to you.
How To Write Amazing LinkedIn Recommendations
To make sure that the recommendation you are writing provides value to the person you are writing it for be specific, descriptive and memorable.
When creating your recommendation think about including specific language or statements that highlight areas that you have seen the person demonstrate.
Highlight transferable skills, what they do and what makes them different or the best. We expect to see positive things about you in recommendations, so anything specific about you creates far more impact.
It is possible to describe someone as “totally awesome”, however, that doesn’t give any specific insight into what they actually are awesome at, what they’ve achieved or why you would recommend them.
If you can’t be specific as to why a person is outstanding, then you may want to rethink writing them a recommendation.
Adjectives are “describing” words. Words like “gifted, brilliant, etc.” Including these types of words in your recommendation will make it much more powerful and valuable.
Choose adjectives that are specific, interesting and somewhat unusual or unique such as brilliant, illuminating, vibrant, vivacious, amazing, etc.
Use The Rule of Threes! The rule of threes states that concepts or ideas presented in threes are inherently more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable.
When you group together in groups of threes, it makes it inherently more effective, more satisfying and more useful. It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it works!
For example, Brian is an internet marketing professional and who promotes that he is “a versatile, high-energy, professional with a multi-faceted background.” A memorable recommendation would provide supports for those claims.
Notice how we were very descriptive and specific in the example. He’s not just a presenter, he’s a brilliant internet marketing presenter with years of experience. Then we used the rule of threes to illustrate what makes Brian stand out.
The example recommendation is much more powerful than something unspecific like this:The descriptive words in the recommendation are so much stronger, and through the specific examples, we get a clearer picture of who he is and an understanding of the experience we would have if we hired him. Then by using the rule of three’s we bolster the already strong language and make it much more memorable.
Not only does the recommended person benefit from receiving your recommendation, but it also reflects positively on you for taking the time to participate and recommend.
How to Ask for Recommendations
Asking others to write nice things about you may seem awkward, at first. Learning who and how to properly ask for LinkedIn Recommendations will maximize the the chance that people will not only agree to write recommendations, but also increase the quality of their recommendations about you.
Only Ask People Who Know You Well Enough To Recommend You
Just because we’re connected on LinkedIn, met once or twice, or because you’ve commented on my blog doesn’t mean that I know you or your body of work well enough to recommend you. Asking someone who doesn’t know you very well for a recommendation is inviting an awkward moment at best, and a horribly misrepresented recommendation at best.
Explain to your recommendation writer why he or she might have good insight into your skills and personality.
Use The Recommendation System Within LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn’s system for recommendations so that the submitted recommendation shows up on your LinkedIn profile and links back to the recommendation writer’s profile. It is perfectly acceptable to send your initial recommendation request in an email, with a note that you will also send a request through LinkedIn’s system. Just make sure the person you are requesting the recommendation from knows that ultimately their recommendation will be displayed on LinkedIn for the world to see.
Request What You Want
If you’ve ever written a recommendation for some one else, you know it makes your job much easier if they tell you what their goals are for the recommendation they are about to write. Are they trying to get hired? Are they making career change? Are they starting a new business? Knowing the desired end result makes the job of writing a recommendation so much easier. Of course, the easier it is to write a recommendation, the more likely it is to get written!
Give the writer insight in to what you would want them to say. This will make it easier for them to write it, and help you get the kind of recommendations that you are looking for faster.
You are much more likely to get a good recommendation from someone if you provide the tools necessary for them to actually write a good recommendation: Why they are qualified to write a recommendation for you, where and how their recommendation will ultimately be used, and what you would like them to write about.
When To Ask For A Recommendation?
After You’ve Been Amazing
Generally the sooner the better, if you were recently promoted, got a raise, did a really great or outstanding job on a project or presentation, or after closing a deal or completing a project. The warmer the relationship the better. It will be harder for you to get a recommendation out of somebody that you worked with years ago, than it would be to get a recommendation from a person that you are actually working with now.
After a Compliment
If you’re still not sure, a good rule of thumb is to ask when somebody pays you a compliment. It is natural for us to say “thank you” when some one says something nice about us, all you have to do is add on the following sentence:
When the compliment giver agrees, let them know you’ll send a recommendation request from LinkedIn.
Anytime Is A Good Time To Send A Recommendation
The best way to receive recommendations is not to ask. Seems kind of backwards, right? I always encourage my clients to offer recommendations for others instead of asking for recommendations for themselves.
Some of my best recommendations come when I write a good recommendation for someone I can endorse. When folks see that you’ve written a wonderful piece of praise for their professional talents, they’re inclined to help out in response.
Getting Started Tips
To write a good recommendation So how do you write a recommendations, if you are just staring out it can be kind of challenging until you get the hang of expressing positive traits for other people.
Use this online tool to create kind of a “first draft”. You just type in the person’s name, position, and whether they are male or female, and it spits out a generic little recommendation that you can use as a starting point and fill in more specific and descriptive details.
The Man With The Most Recommendations
Sometimes looking at other great recommendations will help inspire you, and jog your memory. Steven Burda has more LinkedIn recommendations than anybody else. Check out his LinkedIn Profile, or you can see all his recommendations in this pdf
Role Specific Recommendations
If, for example, you are writing a recommendation for your Regional Sales Manager, you can do a LinkedIn search to find other LinkedIn Users that are Software Regional Sales Managers. Reading the recommendations that other people have written about them may give you some great ideas about key points specific to the role and even jog your memory and remind you of some traits that you may want to include in the recommendation you are writing.
Not Sure Who To Recommend?
A good rule of thumb is to only recommend those people that you can say something good about. Often times on LinkedIn, you’ll receive a request for a recommendation from somebody you don’t even know at all. Don’t worry, you are not obligated to submit a recommendation to them.
Start Recommending To Get Recommendations
Now you know how to write powerful LinkedIn recommendations: Be specific, descriptive and memorable. You also just learned how to properly ask for recommendations, by making sure you ask someone you know, use the LinkedIn recommendations system, and be clear about what you are asking for.
Finally, since you received some tips on how to get started writing recommendations for others, I’d like to encourage you write a recommendation for somebody in your network today!
Any questions about LinkedIn and recommendations? What else do you want to know about the process? Have you seen recommendation techniques or tips that you want to share?