Help a Friend | 4 Tips for Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation

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How to write a linkedin recommendation for a friend looking for a job

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Lots of folks are looking for a job right now, and I’m betting you know a number of people who are submitting resumes. Knowing how to support friends (and old work friends) during this time can be tough. Short of hiring them yourself, what can you do for them that is actually, you know, useful?

Write a LinkedIn Recommendation!

We know that headhunters, recruiting agencies and hiring managers all use LinkedIn to check out candidates. And something that can help your friend IMMENSELY is to have thoughtful recommendations from people (like you!) on their LinkedIn.

In this post, I’m going to share how to easily write a LinkedIn recommendation, but first, I’m also going to share whether you should write a rec!

<< Related Post: “How to Plan Your Career: Actionable Advice“>>

how to write a linkedin recommendation for a colleague

Should You Write a LinkedIn Recommendation?

In my early career, I learned the hard way that recommending someone for a position puts my professional reputation on the line. You may REALLY love your friend, but if you can’t ethically vouch for their work – don’t write a recommendation.

You can choose to write a strategic rec if you must (focusing on their good traits), but, overall, I would avoid recommending someone who doesn’t qualify.

Before Writing a Recommendation

So, before writing a recommendation on LinkedIn, be sure you can say “YES!” to all of these questions:

  1. Have you worked with them in a professional capacity (freelance or consulting works!)?
  2. Did they do great work when you worked together?
  3. Do you believe that they’d be an asset to a future company or employer?
  4. Do you believe in their professional integrity and quality of work?
How to write a linkedin recommendation for a boss

Great! Let’s Write that Recommendation!

A good recommendation will have a few keywords in your field. Don’t generally say “operations” or “engineering.” Be specific about the type of operations work/engineering sysems/etc you used.

Ask yourself, “If I was looking for someone with my skillset, what words would I type into the search box?”

THOSE are the words to use.

LinkedIn Recommendation Structure

Below, I’ve shared the sentences to include in your rec.

  • Sentence 1: Explain how you know the candidate, where you worked with them, and for how long.
  • Sentence 2: Share something specific about their work that impressed you, and use metrics if you can. DON’T talk about how they’re “passionate” or “driven.”
  • Sentence 3″ Share a specific difference they made in the org. What did they do well?
  • Sentence 4: Share what kind of organization or industry you think they’d do well within!
How to write a linkedin recommendation for a friend

3 LinkedIn Recommendations – Sample Scripts

Below, I’ve shared a few scripts for you to use. Don’t use these verbatim (it’ll be pretty obvious if you do), but the overall structure is good.

UI/UX or Graphic Design

I worked with Ana Gonzalez for 3 years at ACME Wonder Corporation. I have always been so impressed by how she is able to clearly communicate product features and how to use them, with very little copy. Ana’s work was instrumental on the Pogostick Project, and her contributions led to the product being one of the most successful in ACME Wonder Corporation history. Ana does really well in fast-paced creative environments, and I can see her doing well in a variety of industries, especially consumer electronics and mobile app companies.

Sales

I worked with Josh Chen for 2 years at Super Tall Trees. One of the many things that impress me about Josh is his ability to really connect with our clients and potential customers. Josh is an excellent listener, and clients love that he pairs solutions to their real needs. Josh is one of the leading sales staff at our org, exceeding his sales quotas for Q3 and Q4 of 2019! I can see Josh killing it in a variety of industries, especially within a company with demanding business clients. Especially within home goods vendors, home construction companies and banking.

How to write a linkedin recommendation for a friend

Old Boss LinkedIn Recommendation Script

I was a direct report to Sydney for a little over a year at Starfish Enterprises. Sydney is one of the best managers I have, and their mentorship and training led to measurable success in my own role as a Starfish Gardener. Jeremy is able to easily work within departments, getting buy-in from key stakeholders at all levels to make things happen. I can see Jeremy working in just about any industry, and his knowledge of consumer behavior in the aquarium industry will be applicable to a variety of fields.

Bonus: Ask THEM What They Need in a Recommendation

If you want to go one step further, you can reach out to your friend and ask them, “Hey! What keywords or professional attributes of your should I be sure to include in a LinkedIn recommendation?”

Your friend knows what qualities and skillsets they need to communicate, and they’ll be able to share a few things to include.

Boom! Winning!

How to write a linkedin recommendation for a former colleague

BONUS: Asking for a Recommendation?

Reading through this, you may be thinking, “Hey! This is pretty easy! How can I ask someone to write me a rec on LinkedIn?”

Great question! Don’t ask immediately before or after writing a rec for a friend. You can decide to “trade” recs with your friend, which you shouldn’t do with everone – too obvious!

Asking for a rec is tough, because you don’t want to make things awkward if the other person secretly thinks you’re kind of terrible. For this reason, I recommend asking for a LinkedIn rec if someone has asked you to be a reference for them on a job interview, or they’ve written you a note saying how much they appreciate your work.

You can send a simple message to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation – it doesn’t need to be a formal missive!

Something like:

  • “Hey (name)! Thank you for your kind words! Would you mind leaving me a recommendation on LinkedIn? This post has some easy scripts to use! No worries if you don’t have bandwidth right now.”
  • “Hey (name)! Stoked the project/initiative/launch went so well. If you have a few minutes, could you write me a quick rec on LinkedIn? I’m trying to be more present on the platform. No worries if that’s not something you do! ( This post has some easy scripts to use!)”

I always like to give folks a “graceful out” if they don’t want to do it. It may have nothing to do with you, or everything to do with you. Regardless, you don’t want to strain a great working relationship over a LinkedIn recommendation.

Generally, I find that those who give will receive.

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