How to Give — and Get — LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn Recommendations are a natural evolution of references and letters of recommendation. However, they often are more credible than these traditional documents, because it is harder to fake a Recommendation on LinkedIn than it is to forge a letter.

Since many companies restrict reference checks to verification of title and dates of employment, a LinkedIn Recommendation from a supervisor — and/or a coworker — carries weight.

Someone looking at your Recommendations wants to know two things:

  • What are you like?
  • Are you good at what you do?

Recommendations can also increase your visibility on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn no longer requires you to have a minimum number of Recommendations in order for your profile to be considered, “complete,” Recommendations are still important.

According to LinkedIn, “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn.” Why?  Because LinkedIn is where the people are.

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 analyst.”)
  • 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 qualifications.
  • 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 story.
  • 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.



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A big dreamer as well as a big do-er, Madelyn draws on her experience of successfully navigating three high-profile careers to provide the expert advice, encouragement, and step-by-step action plans you need to activate your career dreams.

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