LinkedIn is a great platform to showcase your abilities and talents, and positive recommendations are an important part of that.
Unlike the rest of your LinkedIn profile, recommendations are a form of social proof written by others in your network. They offer a glimpse into who you are and what you’re capable of from someone else’s perspective.
On the flip side, giving recommendations increases your social footprint, strengthens connections within your network, and sends a positive message to potential employers and recruiters.
LinkedIn Recommendations vs Skill Endorsements
Recommendations and skill endorsements give people an idea of what you’re like to work with, but they aren’t the same.
Skill endorsements are a one-click way for your connections to endorse your skills:
They’re really just binary confirmation of a specific skill or trait, not all that technically different from a Facebook-like.
Recommendations, however, are a written statement of those endorsements:
These are far more personal and descriptive, often based on past experiences between two people. They’re also much harder to acquire because the time investment is much higher.
While both serve a purpose on LinkedIn, there’s no doubt a recommendation holds more weight than an endorsement, at least from the perspective of a recruiter or potential employer.
How to Ask Your Network for LinkedIn Recommendations
While having recommendations is important, blasting your entire network with recommendation requests is the wrong way to go about it.
In particular, asking people to testify on your behalf when they don’t even really know you is going to harm your credibility in the long term.
And this works both ways.
Making false recommendations is a public black mark against your integrity, and this will be evident to anyone in your network who knows the person you’ve recommended is not up to par.
As with everything branding, authenticity is key.
Instead, ask for recommendations from people who can speak from experience, including employers (both past and present), colleagues, clients, and customers.
If you really want them to agree, start by writing a recommendation for them before reaching out for the ask. In fact, some people will reciprocate without you even having to ask.
Here are some sample requests you can use:
Request #1: The Straight Ask
I hope all is well. I’m in the market for a new job and I’m developing my LinkedIn presence.
Would you be willing to write a recommendation for my profile?
Request #2: The Conditional Ask
“Good morning [Name],
I hope you’re well. I’m trying to update my LinkedIn profile and I was wondering if you’d be willing to write me a recommendation based on our work at ABC?
I’d be willing to write one in return.
Thanks in advance!
Request #3: The Reciprocal Ask
How’s it going?
I just left a recommendation on your profile, please let me know if you’d like me to change anything.
I’d really appreciate one back if you have the time, no pressure though.
All the best,
How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation that Adds Value
LinkedIn is a professional means of marketing yourself, and successful marketing is about adding value above anything else.
Here’s how to do that with a well-written recommendation:
1. Keep it Short. Don’t try to fill the recommendation up with excess information. Your aim is to write a credible and relevant recommendation, so keep it short and to the point.
2. Make it Personal. You’re writing a recommendation for one person, not describing the efforts of an entire team. Feel free to highlight their ability to work within a team, but otherwise, your focus should be on their personal skills and value.
3. Keep it Professional. LinkedIn is above all a professional networking platform. Keep your recommendations positive and describe the person’s abilities and skills in a professional manner.
4. Consider the Goal. Read through the recipient’s summary, as this will give you insight into what they deem important about themselves and their skills. It will enable you to craft a relevant recommendation in line with their expectations.
5. End Well. Complete the recommendation on a positive and reassuring note, even if it means reiterating what’s already been said.
LinkedIn Recommendation Examples for Colleagues
Try adapting our best LinkedIn recommendation examples for colleagues and previous coworkers:
Recommendation Example #1
“Only one word that comes to mind when I think of [Name], and that’s AWESOME. I worked with [Name] at [Company] and [he/she] was a consummate professional at all times.
[He/She] explained the inner workings of the company perfectly and was instrumental in helping me to find my feet.
[Name]‘s work ethic was impeccable, and [he/she] was always the first person to offer help and support.
Thanks, [Name]! You made my time at [Company] a pleasure.”
Recommendation Example #2
“I’ve worked with many [Job Title] but [Name] was one of the best.
[He/She] consistently gave 100% of herself to our team, and was critical in ensuring the completion of our projects by the deadline.
[Name] was always reliable and professional, and at stressful times [he/she] was a positive influence on all of us.
Overall, [Name] was a pleasure to work with and I have qualms recommending [him/her] to anybody looking for an excellent [Job Title].
Why These Work
Both samples open with a glowing but direct statement about the individual that communicates how valuable this person is on a professional level.
When recommending both past and present colleagues, it’s important to emphasize what it was like to work with them as it offers insight into their personalities. This sets them up as team players, and by extension, it does the same for you.
As important as the opening line, both samples also close with a positive and authoritative summary to round off the recommendation.
LinkedIn Recommendation Examples for a Boss or Client
Let’s move on to some LinkedIn recommendation samples and templates for previous bosses and/or clients:
Recommendation Template #3
“[Number] years ago, [Name] took a chance and hired me.
While I knew I’d have to work hard, I never anticipated how hard [Name] would work alongside me. [He/she] never expected anything done that [he/she] wasn’t prepared to do [himself/herself].
We all grew and improved under [Name]’s guidance, who was a genuine and constant source of motivation that enabled us to outdo ourselves week after week.
[Name] didn’t just manage expectations, [he/she] managed our goals and aspirations. Working under [Name] was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.”
Recommendation Template #4
“[Name] is the best [boss/client] I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
[Name] has a knack for analyzing the requirements of a role and finding the right person to fill it, which often resulted in increased efficiency and improved team dynamics.
What’s more, [Name]‘s positive attitude towards work helped encourage and support all of us, which made for a very enjoyable but productive work environment.
I witnessed [Name]‘s commitment to [his/her] role firsthand, and I recommend [him/her] without hesitation.”
Why These Work
Both samples highlight the individual’s ability to inspire and encourage those around them. They also mentioned key phrases (traits) that are relevant and respected in their positions.
People want to work with those who make the experience positive, and this is often as valuable as hard skills.
LinkedIn Recommendation Examples for a Manager
Writing recommendations for managers requires a slightly different tone to the previous examples. Here are some LinkedIn recommendation templates you can use to get you started:
“For [number] years, I had the pleasure of working with [Name] as my direct superior.
During that time, [he/she] became both my mentor and friend. [Name] has the unique ability to keep everyone grounded through difficult challenges.
As a manager, [he/she] has all the essential characteristics: responsive, positive, analytical, and inspiring. [Name]‘s facilitation skills are second to none. [He/she] doesn’t just direct, [he/she] guides, coaches, and encourages.
I consider myself lucky to have learned from [Name]. If you’re looking for an exceptional manager who can help your team achieve their full potential, look no further.”
“While some managers dictate, [Name] inspires by example.
I had the pleasure of being managed by [Name] for the six years I worked at [Company], and I was constantly amazed by [his/her] ability to set goals and coach us towards reaching them.
Under [Name]’s tutelage, I was able to grow as an employee and improve my capacity to work within a team. Leading by example, [Name] was always able to work with conflicting personalities in high-pressure situations.
I’m grateful to have worked with [him/her].”
Why These Work
Both of these samples emphasize the managers’ ability to guide and motivate their subordinates, which are essential characteristics for a managerial role.
In recommending them, you also illustrate your own growth in the years you worked under them, which reflects well on both parties.
LinkedIn Recommendation Examples for a Mentor or Coach
Finally, let’s cover a LinkedIn recommendation sample for mentors or coaches that have had a positive impact on your professional life.
“If you’re looking for a coach to guide you through your transformation journey, then [Name] is it.
[Name] focussed on outlining my core role, and [his/her] guidance was critical to my role as a [Job Title]. With her direction, my career trajectory has altered and improved, and my confidence and capability have sored.
[Name] didn’t instruct me, she supported me, and she taught me to evaluate my options and skills, and my response to outside influence. [His/her] business savvy is complemented by a deep understanding of human nature.
I’m a better person for having worked with [Name], and I recommend [him/her] to anyone who wants to improve their performance. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions about [Name] and [his/her] coaching.”
Why This Works
This example describes how the coach made them feel, and how their contribution helped grow their career. What more could you ask for in a coach?
Describing relevant information and key skills is far more valuable than filling the recommendation with fluff.
LinkedIn Recommendation Mistakes To Avoid
You’ll need to get into the habit of making and receiving recommendations if you want to get ahead on LinkedIn, but you also need to be aware of common pitfalls.
Here are the three most common mistakes people make:
Mistake #1. Using LinkedIn Recommendation Generators
No recommendation generator knows the candidate as you do, and using the output from one will produce a generic recommendation that lacks feeling.
A recommendation should explain how you know the candidate, why the relationship was meaningful, and praise specific professional qualities. This is not something a generator can produce.
Even worse, it may replicate a recommendation you’ve used with another person, even partially, which will just make you look shady.
Mistake #2. Using the Default Request
While it may be efficient to use the default text for a recommendation request, we strongly recommend customizing it.
You can’t expect someone else to take the time to personalize a recommendation if you don’t personalize the request.
Mistake #3. Asking for Recommendations from Strangers
Never ask for recommendations from people who don’t know you, or haven’t worked with you, just for the sake of having more recommendations on your profile.
Even if they agree, these people can’t offer authentic and meaningful comments about your professional life, and this will almost always show through.
That’s a Wrap!
LinkedIn recommendations aren’t easy to acquire, but that’s what gives them such a high value on a platform like this.
Using and adopting these LinkedIn recommendation examples should take most of the sting of this process, whether you’re writing recommendations or requesting them for your own profile.