Your colleague, vendor, friend or boss has asked you to write him/her a recommendation on LinkedIn. You’re excited to help, and you want to make sure you do a good job. The problem is, you haven’t written many (or any!), so what’s the best way to write a great rec?
As a headhunter, I rely on my recommendations on LinkedIn to prove my legitimacy as a head-hunting professional, thus I’m very diligent to be very clear to my references what I’d like them to write for me. Again, what happens when your contact didn’t give you any instructions? What is the appropriate length of the recommendation on LinkedIn? What should you say?
Here is what you should do to write a great recommendation on LinkedIn:
#1. If you haven’t already, ask exactly what they want you to talk about!
The contact who wants a reference needs to give clear recommendation directions in the first place. How can you make them a great pizza without knowing what toppings to include?! Write an email like this:
#2. If you can’t (or want) to procure any additional information, the safest go-to recommendation talks about 2 main things: Personal and Professional traits, stories, experiences you’ve had with your contact.
Maybe for a realtor you worked with, your recommendation will lean heavily on their personal traits: their ethical behavior, their own family values, how much you felt cared for working with them. Maybe for a colleague who’s more of a work-friend, focus more on the professional side. Talk about their technical prowess, skills, and likability within the firm.
DG NOTE: Remember, especially with work colleagues, they’ll want more than “Mary is great at making powerpoint slides”. Your colleagues want you to write about their holistic job performance feedback, such as “Mary has a great attitude along with technical expertise with data analytics.” If she wants a management role at a new company, make sure to tout that about Mary too! “Mary will be a great leader as she’s consistently been an inspiration and motivation to many colleagues.”
3. In terms of length, the best would be to write something no more than 2-3 paragraphs. This is not a college essay nor a letter of recommendation for your MBA. Keep it nice and sweet. Save yourself unnecessary work and effort. LESS IS MORE.
4. Try to write something more specific than a generic “Mary is awesome” comment. Truly bring your emotions, feedback, and sincere opinion to the table. What is specifically so great about them? Give the example in a compelling way that is laudatory but not unbelievable. You want to give a credible recommendation, not sell Mary like the best toaster oven on clearance!
I hope this helps you write great recommendations for your well-deserving contact!
Dandan is a headhunter and career coach for go-getters eager for a career, financial, and life success. Meet her in NYC on April 19th, 2017!
For more, sign-up at Dandan Global for career coaching!