How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Knowing how to write a LinkedIn recommendation is a helpful skill. Recommendations are endorsements of a LinkedIn connection’s traits, skills, or characteristics and can help to improve the professionalism of their profile.

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A recommendation is a commendation written by one LinkedIn member to recognize the work of another. Think of it as an endorsement of sorts. Having these recommendations on your profile can be a way to enhance your credibility and qualifications. 

When you write a LinkedIn recommendation for someone in your network on LinkedIn, open with an engaging hook, followed by details on how you know this person. Then add some of their top traits, skills, and accomplishments along with any of their work-related contributions. Close on a personal note, and keep it concise and easy to read. You may be asked to write recommendations for your connections on LinkedIn for a variety of reasons.

Why LinkedIn recommendations are important  

Recommendations act as proof for competency, qualifications, achievements, and more. You may receive a message on LinkedIn from someone you’ve worked with requesting a recommendation. If you’re wondering why it matters, consider these benefits of having recommendations published to a LinkedIn profile. 

Enhance credibility 

Another professional in your field recognizes your achievements and gives you a little digital “pat on the back”, your credibility within that industry or profession gets a boost. You can list skills, qualifications, and achievements for days, but when you have written proof of your proficiency from a respected coworker, that speaks volumes. 

Credibility is a big deal, particularly online and on social media channels. When people are looking to build a more professional LinkedIn profile, recommendations add first-hand accounts of their interactions with other coworkers, supervisors, teachers, and so on.

For example, if you apply for a job and complete an interview, your potential employer could search for your LinkedIn profile and read what others have to say about their experiences working with you. In this way, recommendations help employers and improve network connections with added credibility. 

Support qualifications 

Listing skills, abilities, and traits are key parts of a professional LinkedIn page, but recommendations add proof to those qualifications. Being qualified for a position goes beyond education. Work experience and real-world applications are quite impactful as well. What LinkedIn recommendations can do is support that this person is proficient in a particular skill. 

Recommendations are also helpful in adding some validation to not-so-quantifiable abilities like those considered workplace skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, communication. These workplace or interpersonal skills matter immensely to employers. With a list of valid and credible recommendations, you’re showing proof of your abilities in a way that a resume or even interview simply cannot.  

Improve hiring chances

If someone asks for a recommendation in hopes of acquiring a new job, your words have a big impact. Recommendations speak to the qualifications of an individual but also their work ethic. You can paint a bigger picture of the individual as an employee with a well-written recommendation.

Employers may also enjoy the fact that recommendations serve as an extension of a resume or interview session, filling in the blanks with some additional information about a person. Recommendations add a layer of trust and validity to a LinkedIn profile that may be helpful in the hiring process for certain industries. 

How to structure your LinkedIn recommendation 

To write a LinkedIn recommendation for a coworker or someone you’ve worked with, structure your recommendation so that it is clear and informative, yet personal and enjoyable to read.

Start strong

Your first sentence carries the most weight since it’s the very first thing people will see. Like a good book, the beginning is what keeps you reading. Treat your opening sentence as a hook.

Instead of saying “John Smith is a great guy,” use specific adjectives and tangible traits. Try this instead: 

“Jack of all trades doesn’t even begin to explain the competency of John Smith.”

Here, you’ve essentially conveyed the same idea; John Smith is a really great guy; but you’ve painted a picture of this person that’s a bit more descriptive (in other words, he is a proficient multi-tasker). 

After your opening sentence, move quickly into the details. Keep it concise and informative. Explain how you know this person, why you’re recommending them, along with some of their contributions and a personal note to close it out. 

Explain your relationship

This is where you should give some context. You’ve said John Smith is a great guy, now let’s find out how you know that. Did you work together? Were you his boss? Mentor? 

Clearly let the reader know what authority you have in recommending this person. A one- or two-sentence explanation should work. For example, you might say something like:

“I worked with John Smith at ABC Office for five years. We worked together on several projects during this time.”

Noting how long you’ve known the person is also a helpful detail. It’s appropriate to be informative at this stage in the recommendation. 

Note contributions 

Take the opportunity to point out some positive contributions they’ve made. This will depend on your working relationship but think about ways this person stands out and makes an impact. Maybe they acquired more new clients than anyone in the office, or maybe they closed the most deals one quarter.

Tossing in a few tidbits like this can help paint the picture of who this person is as a teammate. Our actions can say a lot more about who we are as people than what we say, so show that here. Focus on their actions as an employee or coworker.

Highlight achievements and valuable traits 

Take time to add a person’s specific traits and achievements. An achievement is something that this person has accomplished. Try to be specific about their accomplishments in a way that shows who they are as an employee. Did they identify a problem and create a solution? Implement a new system? Briefly talk about it. 

Traits would be more like their characteristics as a person and employee. Consider ways that this person shows professionalism, integrity, or dependability. If you need help, ask yourself, how would you describe this person in five words or less? 

End on a personal note 

This is your chance to be a little more informal. Avoid ending on a sudden or “robotic” note. Instead, give a little insight into something unique, fun, or memorable about the person.

Were they the one who always brought bagels to brighten every Monday? Were they the employee who always organized the office parties? These little nuances paint a more personal picture of this person for someone who doesn’t know them.

Publish your recommendation 

Once you’ve planned out how you’re going to write your recommendation, go to the person’s profile to submit the recommendation for publication. You can only write recommendations for first-degree connections. If they have requested a recommendation, you’ll see the request via a message which you can find by clicking the messaging icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. 

How to submit a recommendation for a connection on LinkedIn: 

1. Go to their profile. 

2. Tap “More” in the intro section. 

3. Tap “Recommend.”

4. Select relationship and position at the time from the dropdown menu and tap “Next.”

5. Write your recommendation in the message field. 

6. Tap “Send” when you’re finished.

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You can edit or delete recommendations you've sent at any time. After you’ve sent the recommendation, the other person can see it by clicking the “Received” link in the “Recommendations” section of their profile. Click on the given link in the Recommendation section of your profile to view it. You can choose to hide the recommendation, as can the other person. 

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