Write a LinkedIn recommendation in 5 minutes

Write a LinkedIn recommendation in 5 minutes

Giving you LinkedIn recommendation examples and tips is great if you’re looking to get inspired. But it’s quite another when you want a formula to write all your recommendations. The expression goes “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” and the goal of this post is to give you a simple outline to write a brief and honest recommendation on Linkedin.

Why an outline?

Outlines go a long way. I remember a while back SocialMediaExaminer.com wrote a post which outlined how they wrote their blog posts. I’ve used that outline to a certain degree ever since. Hopefully this post will do the same for you.

Planning your recommendation

This is how I try to write a recommendation. This outline has allowed me to write a recommendation in 5 to 10 minutes.

  1. How do you know this person (1 sentence)? Start your recommendation by stating, in one sentence, how you know this person. Is it a colleague, someone you’ve worked with in the past, an acquaintance, a friend? “I had the pleasure of working with…”; “ We’ve been working together for the past 6 years as…”; “I’ve known […] for over 10 years now…”; “In college we were part of the same group in the Intro to Marketing Research class…”
  2. Who is this person (1 sentence)? Some people wear multiple hats so let us know who you’re recommending them as. “[…] is our business development person at…”; “[…] is the founder of”
  3. What is the main reason you’re recommending this person (1 sentence)? No need to go into a full dissertation. Just tell us what is the number one or two reasons you think this person is great. “She is a dedicated worker”; “He is a great educator”; “He is one of the most patient people I know”; “She is passionate about her field”
  4. Elaborate a little more on that (those) reason (1-3 sentences). Tell us a little more about what is great about this person that will tie in to why you are recommending them. “I don’t get to work with him as much as I would like”; “Her dedication to educating her colleagues is motivating and contagious”.
  5. Finally, end off with a punch – a call to action (1 sentence). What would you encourage the readers of this recommendation to do? “I would urge you to get to know her”; “If you want to learn more about […], get in touch with him”. Just try not to be too salesy.

What you’re left with his a short (4-6 sentences) recommendation that his honest and easy to read. I’m not sure how much people read recommendations, but I know they have an impact. So be honest, be brief and be punchy.

What’s your take?

(Photo credit: Lali Masriera)

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  • JoeIllingworth

    Thanks! Very helpful. The outline helps you stay focused. Pick out the one or two important strengths (for the direction they are going) and nail them. Perhaps an unstated part of 3. Why you are recommending them is thinking about their direction and selecting which of their assets you should highlight. I know, you were trying to be brief and that didn’t make the cut. :)

    • Glad I could help. You can definitely elaborate on part 3 if you feel you need to. I prefer brief, but I do catch myself writing more at times :)

  • Freddy Torres

    Really helpful… Thank you for sharing!

  • Very helpful, and to the point. I have too lazy on recommending people on linkedin, but would start doing that, and will keep these points in mind while writing one, infact I have already started writing one.


    • Hi Zafar,
      Getting lazy is something we all do, but a recommendations can only take a few minutes — and you help someone.
      Thanks for stopping by…

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  • Simmering

    Thank you. You wrote this post nearly 3 years ago, and it is still proving to be effective. It was a huge help because I was facing a little writers block.