linkedin recommendation

5 Steps to a Great LinkedIn Recommendation (with Examples)

Goodwill isn’t enough, it turns out.

You gladly accepted when a former co-worker asked you to write them a LinkedIn recommendation. They were great to work with, after all. And how hard could it be?

Fast forward to the present, and you’re wondering why some genius bothered to create LinkedIn in the first place.

You’ve been staring at the blank screen for one hour, hoping that the words will magically appear out of thin air. And worst of all, it’s not that you don’t have anything to say — but you know that a generic endorsement could do more harm than good.

Yes, we all have been there.

But don’t worry: once you learn how an awesome LinkedIn recommendation looks like, writing will become so easy that you’ll feel as if you’re doing it in automatic mode. We promise you’ll be done with it in as little as five minutes.

Read on to find out all you need to know.

What is a LinkedIn recommendation?

A LinkedIn recommendation is the modern equivalent of a reference letter. It is meant to recognize someone’s work and improve the credibility of their profile.

For example, if you recommend an ex-colleague, their future employers will read what you wrote and decide whether to hire them or not.

LinkedIn, the most trusted social network, has grown rapidly during the last years, and now that it has more than 722 million users and 50 million companies around the world, it’s easy to see why organizations are moving their recruitment process online.

More than 14 million jobs are available in LinkedIn, and new career opportunities are just one recommendation away.

Why does a LinkedIn recommendation matter?

Imagine this scenario: you are a hiring manager, and your company has a vacant position. You have interviewed several applicants, and the pool has narrowed down to just two people, Tim and Emma. Both have similar education, experience and qualities.

To make a decision, you decide to check their LinkedIn profiles. Tim has a few recommendations, but they seem to be written by people who didn’t really care about his professional career. You also notice that Tim hasn’t put a lot of effort into his LinkedIn account.

Emma’s profile also has a few recommendations, but you can easily appreciate that there’s more work behind them. Her former employers write with passion and conviction, and you see at first glance that they think highly of her.

Who would you be more likely to hire? If the decision depended on LinkedIn as a tiebreaker, it’s clear that Emma deserves the job.

Having high-quality LinkedIn recommendations shows expertise and professionalism. If your connections are willing to vouch for you, that means they trust your skills and abilities.

How to write an effective LinkedIn recommendation

Step 1: Start with an attention-catching line

Your recommendation should begin with a knockout line to hook the reader and lure them into following through until the end.

“It’s not easy to find someone as talented as Mark.”

Write an unexpected statement to intrigue your audience and make them feel curious about what’s next. A polemic phrase would be ideal to cause a powerful impact, but keep it professional and don’t go over the top. If in doubt, just go down the conventional way.

“When I first met him, I didn’t like Chris a lot — he seemed painfully productive and a bit of a workaholic. I warmed up to him…”

However, watch out for overused expressions like “the best” or “greatest,” since they won’t add value to the text. As a rule of thumb, avoid superlatives and find stronger words instead.

Step 2: Explain your professional relationship

Tell the reader why you are qualified to write the recommendation. You can start with how you met your co-worker and for how long you’ve worked together.

“I have worked with Alexander for more than three years, and during that time, I have come to know his level of professionalism and competence.”

Remember to adapt your text according to the nature of the relationship you had with your colleague. Provide some context and clarify if they were your co-worker, a mentor, a manager or an employee.

If you can, give details on a project for which you worked together. Show how your colleague uses their skills in a practical setting, and highlight any difficulty that could have arisen and that your co-worker helped to solve.

Step 3: Share a distinguishing trait

This part will convey the central message of your recommendation. Explain what skills or behaviors make your colleague stand out from the crowd, and why the employer should consider hiring them.

“I was especially impressed by Sasha’s ability to come up with creative solutions in even the most stressful situation. She always keeps her cool…”

It could be more manageable to divide this part into three different sections:

  1. Soft skills: these refer to how your colleague manages work, interacts with other employees, and solves problems. If you need some ideas, you can write about the following:
    • Communication
    • Negotiation
    • Empathy
    • Public speaking
    • Writing
    • Adaptability
    • Desire to learn
    • Resourcefulness
    • Leadership
    • Decision making
  2. Hard skills: these are industry-specific and required for a job. Examples include cloud computing, artificial intelligence, business analysis, sales, video production, and more.
  3. General qualities: these are part of your co-worker’s personality. Some examples are punctuality, dedication, reliability, honesty and perseverance.

Don’t forget to write about specific situations when your colleague used their skill set to advance a project and overcome hurdles.

Step 4: Give it a personal touch

Don’t just talk about your colleague’s professional skills — employers are interested in working with a human being, and shedding some light into their personality will help to complete a well-rounded recommendation.

“Anne’s light sense of humor never failed to get rid of any tension in the office. Her energy was contagious in the office and helped to motivate the team for the work ahead.”

Be appropriate with this part of your recommendation. For example, don’t write that your colleague is a party beast, since that’s not the type of personality a company is looking for in a new employee.

Some workplaces are more laidback than others, so make sure you are not accidently taking away an opportunity with a misplaced anecdote.

Step 5: Close with a strong statement

This is the final section of your recommendation, and it should include a clear endorsement of your colleague.

“I would never hesitate to recommend Nathan for any work position he sets his eyes to.”

This line acts as a call to action, so make it short and snappy to get the message across with no problems.


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LinkedIn Recommendation Examples

Just as we promised, below you’ll find some examples that we wrote with the tips we’ve shared with you. We have organized them by professional relationship, so you can easily find the one you need.

For an employee

“Bella is an excellent teacher with an outstanding ability for getting kids to participate and speak up in class. I have been her administrator at our local pre-kindergarten for five years, which gave me the opportunity to oversee her work. She offers entertaining activities to help children learn in new and dynamic ways. Classes always go smoothly thanks to her talent as an educator.

Being a member of the school’s faculty, she’s always friendly when talking to parents. I’m glad with the work Bella did as a preschool teacher, and I highly recommend her for any educational positions she decides to apply for.”

For a peer

“Louis has worked with me as a marketing manager for several projects in our company for the past two years. I’ve observed him for a long time, and he has always strived to go above and beyond in researching collaboration opportunities with different companies over the course of all the years we have worked together. Due to his ever-learning mindset, he’s constantly on the lookout for new advertising methods, and that’s how our team came to the forefront in digital marketing.

Louis is an excellent professional and he would be a true asset to any company.”

For a freelancer

“As our company’s director, I’m always in contact with a variety of web developers. Lucien is, without any doubt, one of the best I’ve met in the area of e-commerce and mobile app design. We have worked together for many clients, which has allowed me to appreciate his exceptional skills. I have also come to realize how reliable he is. He always shows a friendly, helpful attitude to my clients, and at the same time, provides an amazing service adapted to their unique needs.

For those reasons and because of our long-standing professional relationship, I’m happy to endorse him here on LinkedIn.”

For a manager

“I was lucky to work with Alice, an excellent professional who was never only a boss, but also a friend. She was an outstanding mentor and I can’t thank her enough for all that I’ve learned from her advice and experience. She was genuinely interested in supporting my growth as a professional and helping me become acquainted with the industry. Her empathy made her especially likeable to all the members of our team. She always had words of encouragement to motivate us.”

I’m sure Alice will be an excellent worker for any company, and because of that, I’m glad to recommend her in this platform.”

For a former colleague

“Luke is a gifted analyst with a rare mix of abilities, including endless patience, curiosity, and research skills. When he and I were assigned a project with an overseas provider, we were thrilled about the prospect of working beyond our national borders. Nonetheless, a logistics problem threatened the contract, but Stephen’s admirable ability to deal with a crisis and think of innovative ways to achieve results paved the way for our success.

Luke’s talent as an analyst helped him to become a vital member of our company. He’ll surely be an asset to any other organization he joins.”

The bottom line

Writing a LinkedIn recommendation can seem daunting at first, but with the right structure, it doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. You can even make the process easier with our template.

If you have followed the steps above, you should be done writing in no time.


5 steps to a Great LinkedIn Recommendation

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