LinkedIn recommendations are available for anyone to see, not just the recommendation’s recipient or the person requesting it. Like everything online, it will live on forever or as long as the social network is active, unlike traditional recommendation letters that get thrown or deleted. LinkedIn recommendations are also easily verified. Whoever reads the recommendations on your LinkedIn account can visit the profile of whoever gave it, and evaluate the source’s credibility. What many people don’t realize is that a recommendation says a lot about the person leaving it, not just the recipient. If you end up hiring a developer recommended by a friend, and that person turned out better than expected, wouldn’t your trust of that friend’s judgment increase? Recommending people you’ve worked with in different capacities gives you good karma and better relations with people from all walks of life. Because of this, your credibility increases with quantity and quality of the recommendations you write.
Here are some steps on how to write a recommendation for a manager from an employee on LinkedIn:
– Start with a Powerful Hook
A great recommendation is nothing if it’s not read until the end, so start your LinkedIn recommendation with a good hook. Lines like, “Bob is the best…” or “Susan is a valuable team member” are mediocre and commonplace in recommendations so don’t use these phrases. Write about how awesome the person you’re recommending is, and be specific about what makes that person unique. But don’t just write “the best programmer” or “most reliable video editor” on every recommendation you make. Your recommendations show on your profile page too, so it won’t be authentic if those phrases appear on multiple entries. Good news is there are tons of synonyms for the superlatives above, and there’s more than one way to describe a person’s talent. Compare the examples below:
“Rick is a gifted negotiator with a rare combination of patience, spunk, and research skills.”
“I’m lucky to have worked with Manuel, a manager who’s not only interested in the company’s bottom line, but also in his employees’ professional growth.”
The first example used adjectives and skill to describe the recommendation’s recipient, while the second example talks about the recipient’s treatment of his employees and to some extent, shows how that unexpected treatment made an impact to the writer.
– Provide Context for the LinkedIn Recommendation for your manager
Remember, LinkedIn recommendations aren’t limited to boss-employee relationships. LinkedIn also allows you to write one for your teammate, a manager in another department, or someone you’ve mentored. So, it’s essential to provide context to prevent others from getting confused, or guessing what your professional relationship is with the recipient. Examples:
“I hired Sam as a Freelance Website Designer to re-design my website portfolio in 1997.”
“Tony has worked with me as a Marketing Manager for several product launches in ABC Company for the past twelve years.”
“George was not only my boss at the department but a true leader.”
It’s also crucial for LinkedIn users to know if you’ve only worked with the person once or twice, so they being asked to write a LinkedIn recommendation is quite the honor, but can be surprisingly daunting. What do you say? What should you not say? How long, or short should it be? Fortunately there’s an easy template to get you started. For many HR executives a LinkedIn search is one of the first methods of checking out a candidate. Unlike old-fashioned letters of recommendation, recruiters can very quickly check out your referees, allowing them to establish your credibility with just a few clicks. So it’s important that your reference is succinct, honest (obviously) and helpful for the person you’re recommending. No pressure
– Your one line summary
If yours is the only recommendation for a particular position, LinkedIn will display the first 240 characters (approximately) of your recommendation on the profile page. That number goes down to 120 characters if there’s more than one recommendation for the same position. To read more the visitor has to click through. Add to this the fact that most people skim read, your opening line needs to be short, sweet and pack a lot of punch. Try to capture the essence of your recommendation, with a few specifics.
– Your working history with the manager
It’s a good idea to qualify your relationship with the individual a little. LinkedIn automatically does this by asking you to specify the nature of the relationship, but it’s tiny and a short description will put the rest of your statement into context.
– Their most powerful attribute
You don’t need to talk about what they’ve achieved for you or your company – that should be in their profile already. Instead focus on what makes them stand out. For instance, their ability to command a room, deliver under pressure or get the perfect event speakers. This should be something that’s not easy for the person to communicate in their bio (without seeming overly pretensions), but that is certainly a valuable attribute.
– Professional advantages
Whatever the specifics of the role are, it’s beneficial if you can communicate how their personal attributes make them excel in their specific
– The wrap up
Don’t feel obliged to write clichéd statements like “I would recommend him” or “You’d be lucky to have him on your team”. The fact that you’re providing a recommendation is proof enough of that. You want to keep your recommendation short enough to be digestible and detailed enough to be helpful. So after you’ve finished describing any distinct advantages they have, simply stop. Don’t Write Generic LinkedIn recommendation for your manager as their employee. Of course, they’re important for the person who receives one, but they also reflect on the people that write them. Recently, I received the following unsolicited recommendation
– Write Genuine, Earnest, Specific and Descriptive Recommendations
Recommendations should be genuine and earnest, specific and descriptive. Of course, you’ll never find that recommendation posted to my profile. I want recommendations from professionals that appreciate my work. (In fact, I usually respond to compliments by saying, “Hey thanks for the kind words! Would you be willing to write me a recommendation?”) I want recommendations that are genuine and earnest. I want recommendations that are specific and descriptive. Genuine, earnest, specific, and descriptive: that’s what we all should want. I think it’s also important to write recommendations that support a person’s personal brand (or professional brand if they’re an entrepreneur). So for business owners, it’s important to cover (at a minimum) what they do and what makes them different or the best. At times, if you may feel strongly enough, you can also include a call to action.
An Example LinkedIn recommendation for Manager from Employee
“Alex is a gifted instructor. Because he has many years of experience in sales, he knows a variety of creative methods, and he ensures you learn what you need to. His calming personality makes you feel completely comfortable, even when you’re making mistakes. He is always encouraging and positive. He is the best sales instructor I have ever met, and I have seen a dozen over the years. If you want to improve your team’s sales skills quickly, hire Alex!.”
Notice how it is very specific and descriptive about what he does. He’s not just an instructor, he a gifted instructor with many years of experience. Then I use the rule of threes to say what makes him stand out: he teaches sales, he’s creative with his methods, and he’s calming/encouraging. For this one, I also added in the significance of his accomplishments and a call to action. I said, ” If you want to improve your team’s sales skills quickly, hire Alex!.”
– Highlight Transferable Skills Using Details
When creating your recommendation think about including descriptive and specific statements that highlight transferable skills. Everyone wants to work with a professional who is a strong communicator; who is strong team builder and team member; who has strong interpersonal skills such as empathy, tact, and humor; who is intellectual and has strong analytical problem-solving skills; who is innovative, creative, or entrepreneurial; who takes personal responsibility (eg. good work habits, are flexible, and continually learn). Again, you’ll want to highlight three transferable skills because you can’t and shouldn’t write about all ALL of the person’s skills and abilities. Choose to highlight areas that you have seen the person demonstrate and that are in alignment with that person’s personal branding messages.
For example, John is a sports marketing professional and who promotes that he is “ a versatile, high-energy, professional with a multi-faceted background.” A memorable recommendation would provide support for those claims.
“James is Hilarious! He speaks multiple languages, does improv acting, and is an amazing skateboarder. He’s full of ideas and has as an eye for art and entertainment. He always has a creative, positive outlook and he’s good at organizing and bringing people together. He is usually the first one up even if he was the last to hit the sack. (And he’ll probably wake you with a coffee and a muffin). If there is a microphone around, put him on it and you’re sure to have a good time”.
Now that’s specific, descriptive, and memorable. (By the way, this is the recommendation I was talking to James about, the one that started this discussion.) He could have said, “James is a versatile, high-energy professional with a multi-faceted background.” But the words in the recommendation are so much stronger. Through the specific examples, we get a deeper understanding of his broader branding messages. The words help us to experience James’s personal brand.
– Use Descriptive Adjectives Following Rule of Threes
Try to keep your recommendations 50-100 words. If possible, follow the rule of threes. When you group together in groups of threes, it makes it inherently more effective, more satisfying. Oh, and try to choose adjectives that are specific, interesting and somewhat unusual such as pioneering, illuminating, vibrant, vivacious, amazing, etc.
So there you have it, some quick and dirty tips to help you write better LinkedIn recommendations. Don’t write generic recommendations. Make them genuine, earnest, specific, and descriptive.
Here’s what it might look like when you’ve put it together:
“Annabel is a social media guru, her strategies are incredible, and she expertly managed our marketing team for a year. Her ideas are exceedingly creative and thought-provoking, and her implementation is always impressive. She is very calm under pressure and is always able to manage unforeseen events smoothly. It was a pleasure to work with her.”
“Peter brings all of the skills and abilities of a driven, established Silicon Valley project manager to the unique organization of ABC Corp. As a manager, Peter already has the essential characteristics: smart and analytic, fast and responsive, intelligent risk-taking, and a real team player. He knows how to bring the best out of the members of his team, by inspiring and mentoring them.”