One of the great features of LinkedIn is the recommendation system. You can ask people that you’ve worked with to provide you with a recommendation and when they do, you get to display it on your profile. Nothing helps sales like positive testimonials! While it’s great to receive recommendations, and we’ve even talked about some of the things you need to do to be recommendable, it’s also nice to give recommendations. If you’ve never written a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn before though, there are a few things you need to know.
Why Recommend Others?
Before we cover the technical details, we should cover why you’d even want to bother. It takes time to write a nice recommendation, so what are you getting in return?
First and foremost, you’re doing a really nice thing for someone else, and that has value in and of itself. If you’re writing a recommendation for someone that did some outstanding work for you, this is an opportunity for you to formally and publicly thank them and praise them for a job well done. A well-written recommendation can often provide a much-needed boost to someone’s morale! Frankly, in most businesses today, the most common feedback received is negative. Most people don’t bother to provide much feedback if they’ve had a positive experience. By breaking that cycle and posting a positive recommendation for someone, you may just be providing that bit of positive feedback that they needed to get through whatever else is going on in their business that day.
Second, whenever you provide a recommendation to someone on LinkedIn, not only does it get displayed on their profile (if they approve it), it also shows up on yours! Think about that for a moment. If I’m thinking about working with you and I happen to look at your LinkedIn profile and see that you have a nice collection of recommendations that you’ve offered other people, that may affect how I view you and your professionalism, just as all the other information you wrote on your profile influences me. There’s a reason why LinkedIn will tell you that your profile is not yet complete if you haven’t recommended anyone else yet. Recommending other people, and writing great recommendations, reflects well on you! (And that’s a big part of optimizing your LinkedIn profile to make it the best possible. For more tips, check out The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.)
How to Recommend Others
There are two basic ways that you’d get started. If someone asks you for a recommendation, you’ll receive an email from LinkedIn and can proceed from there. Or, you can log into LinkedIn and choose to recommend someone else without them asking.
If someone asks you to recommend them, you’ll get an email that looks something like this:
When you click on the link, it will open up your Inbox in LinkedIn and show you the message, along with a status bar that tells you that this person is requesting a recommendation from a specific position. When they decided to send you the request, they had to choose one of their “jobs” that they’ve listed on LinkedIn, so it should be from a position where they actually worked with you. Now, the first key here is, do not reply to the message. If you simply reply, you will certainly send that person a nice recommendation, but it will not be displayed on LinkedIn. For that, you must click the Write Recommendation button. Once you do, you’ll see a new window that tells you that you’re recommending this person for their work while at the job they selected, and then LinkedIn asks you if you’re recommending them as a Colleague, Service Provider or Business Partner.
- Colleague: You’ve worked with at the same company
- Service Provider: You’ve hired to provide a service for you or your company
- Business Partner: You’ve worked with , but not as a client or colleague
Choose whichever one is most appropriate, and then you’ll see the Recommendation form. Choose a category for the service received and a date (approximate is fine). Then choose up to three attributes that you think apply to this person:
- Great Results: Superlative work, from concept to final output
- Personable: Works well with colleagues and clients
- Expert: Deep and detailed knowledge of the subject
- Good Value: Excellent work at a reasonable cost
- On Time: Punctual at each step of the process
- High Integrity: Trustworthy, consistent, and reliable
- Creative: Inventive, out-of-the-box ideas and implementation
Finally, write your recommendation in the recommendation field, and then send it. That person will receive a nice email with the text of your recommendation and an option to approve it for display on their profile.
At any time, you can see all of the recommendations that you’ve given other people and choose whether or not they’re displayed on your profile. Go to Profile and then Recommendations and click on Given and you’ll see every recommendation you’ve ever written.
Below that is a form that will allow you to initiate a recommendation for someone else if they haven’t asked for it. You can type in their name and email addresses or, even easier, just click on the link to search your contacts and find them there. That will fill in their information and allow you to proceed with the same recommendation form as above.
Writing LinkedIn Recommendations
Perhaps it should go without saying, but never write a recommendation for someone for whom you do not have first-hand knowledge of their work. By the same token, never ask for recommendations from people you’ve never worked for. Either way, you’re harming your professional reputation.
For the actual recommendation text, it’s best to be brief. There’s no need to go into extensive details about services performed. Simply summarize the work they did and why you would recommend them to someone else looking for similar work.
Try to use strong language in your recommendation – not profanity – strong adjectives like, “Scott is THE GUY you can count on when your clients need a response and turnaround fast.” That’s far more interesting and compelling than, “Scott does good design work.” Start with a great statement about that person, and then follow up with just a couple of details, and you’re done.
Take the time now and then to write recommendations for the people you’ve worked with, and see what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results. Is there anything else I can help you understand about LinkedIn Recommendations?