LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals. My favourite thing about it is the Recommendations feature. It allows your connections to leave endorsements of your work on your profile for others to read. They are mini reference letters that answer the question for readers, “Why should I network or do business with this individual?”
Writing recommendations for other professionals is one way to show your appreciation or whom you are connected to. The most common reason to write a recommendation is that it leads to receiving recommendations. LinkedIn prompts recommendation receivers to reciprocate with writing a recommendation for the person who recommended them. The reason you want to write and receive well-written LinkedIn recommendations is because they are evidence that you are who you and your network are who say you are; they endorse your personal brand.
Personally, I enjoy writing recommendations, unfortunately, not every professional has the gift of writing. With that comes dread that leads to writers block. I’m presenting a simple process for composing a LinkedIn recommendation that you will be proud to give.
Step 1. Brainstorm
Most LinkedIn recommendations hold similar information. You will need to brainstorm responses to these common questions for each recommendation you write:
- How long have I known this person?
- How do I know this person?
- What key projects or work have we collaborated on and the result (think numbers)?
- What outstanding skills (know how), attributes (characteristics and attitude), and expertise (knowledge) does this person possess?
- How did working with this person make me feel?
- How did/does their work benefit the project, company, or field we work in?
- Would I work with this person again?
- Why do I recommend them and for what?
If writing comes naturally to you then this is all the information you need to compose your recommendation. If you are still struggling then read on.
Step 2. Fill In The Blanks
With the answers to the above questions on hand, writing a LinkedIn recommendation is as easy as filling in the blanks. There are many common sentences found within LinkedIn recommendations. You can take almost any recommendation you read and break it down into its essential elements that you can then replicate in your own words.
Here’s an example of a generic recommendation:
“I have known Joe Smith for 5 years. We worked together at ABC Company. One of our key projects was developing an employee engagement strategy that resulted in increased employee retention by 80%. Joe is extremely confident, determined, and outcome-oriented. His expertise in human resources and employee engagement strategies far surpasses others in the field. I welcome the opportunity to work with Joe again in the future.”
When broken down into its essential elements it looks like this:
“I have known name for # years. We worked together at company name. One of our key projects was project name that resulted in project result. Name is attribute 1, attribute 2, and attribute 3. His/her expertise in outstanding knowledge and outstanding skill far surpasses others in the field. I welcome the opportunity to work with name again in the future.”
Some other common fill in the blank statements you could use are:
- In the # years that I’ve known name I’ve been continually impressed with skill, characteristic, and expertise.
- Name is has a reputation for being attribute 1, attribute 2, and attribute 3.
- Name is known for his/her skills in outstanding skill 1 and outstanding skills 2.
- Name was the driving force behind name of project that resulted in…
- I highly recommend name if you are looking for someone who is knowledgeable about outstanding expertise, skilled in outstanding skill, and name an attribute.
Pick the above statements that fit your needs best and use them as a starting point for writing your recommendation. Once you fill in the blanks, I encourage you to edit what you’ve written to be more personal to your experience with the person you are recommending. When you think you are done your recommendation, read it out loud to yourself. If it flows well, then you may have a winner. Get someone else to proofread it for grammar and punctuation; it’s hard to see these mistake yourself. Finding those types of mistakes in a recommendation discredits the author and looks bad for the person you are recommending. When you’re ready send it to the person you are recommending with a personalized message.
With this three-step approach writing a LinkedIn recommendation does not have to be a daunting task. Simply answer the questions above to give you the content you need to write a recommendation worth reciprocating. Happy writing!