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December 11, 2023
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How To Write the Perfect LinkedIn Recommendation (5 Steps, 6 Examples)

How To Write the Perfect LinkedIn Recommendation (5 Steps, 6 Examples)

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When I wrote my first LinkedIn recommendation, I stared at the screen for what felt like hours.

I didn’t know what to include or what kind of language to use. I’d make a little headway, then delete it. And when I’d finished, it took me ages to hit that Send button. I just wasn’t sure what a LinkedIn recommendation should look like. 

Now, as an operations and editorial director at a writing company, I’ve written dozens of recommendations for writers, editors, account managers, and customers. 

It turns out, there’s a simple, fool-proof formula for LinkedIn recommendations that works every time. With it, each of your LinkedIn recommendations will be unique and only take a few minutes to write. 

In this article, I’ll share that five-step formula, and we’ll use the power of AI to make it even quicker and easier. Plus, I’ll share some basic writing tips to help your recommendations stand out, and plenty of examples to draw from.

How to write a LinkedIn recommendation in 5 simple steps

Follow these five steps to write a great LinkedIn recommendation every time. I recommend starting with a bullet point for each, and then you can use a tool like Wordtune to bring it all together. 

  1. Start with a strong declaration that includes their job title. 
  2. Explain your professional relationship. How long you worked together and in what capacity.
  3. Share one professional trait. How did they excel at their job?
  4. Share one personal trait. What about them did you like most? 
  5. End with a call to action that encourages others to reach out. 

Let’s look at each step in detail. You’ll find more tips and examples below, too. 

1. Start with a strong declaration (description + job title)

We’ll start with a strong, simple declaration that includes the person’s job title and what kind of employee they are. 

You can follow the basic format of their name, one or two adjectives, and their job title:

  • Michael is an outstanding customer service representative.
  • Aditi is a resourceful and passionate product designer. 

Or you can get more creative:

  • Muhammed was a charismatic leader and a highly creative product designer.

Hint: Check out the list of adjectives in the tips below for inspiration.

2. Explain your professional relationship (social proof)

Next, explain your professional relationship. Who was this person to you: a colleague, your boss, an employee? Include how long you worked together, too. 

This offers “social proof”: it tells the reader why they should trust your recommendation. 

You can keep it very simple:

  • I reported to him for two years while working at Acme. 
  • She and I worked together on a large and complex project for two years.
  • They worked on my team for three years.

Or you can spice it up by describing what they did and how they did it (use those descriptive adjectives!):

  • During the two years we worked together, she oversaw our team’s day-to-day operations with diligence and compassion.
  • After joining our team four years ago, they proved to be a passionate and energetic salesperson, who never backed down from a challenge. 

3. Share a professional trait (why to hire them)

Now, we’ll describe how good the recommendee is at their job and what makes them worth hiring. 

There are a few ways to approach this. One popular option is to explain how your colleague dealt with adversity or obstacles. For example:

  • Sanjay approached every obstacle we encountered with composure and a can-do attitude. He was often the voice of reason and optimism when we hit a big roadblock. 

You can also share a specific success. This works well because it gives the reader something concrete to think about: 

  • When we had trouble consistently meeting one of our client’s expectations, Alyssa collaborated with all the stakeholders involved to get everybody aligned. She turned things around, and now that client is one of our most outspoken advocates.

Finally, describe what makes them really excel at their job. Note a quality or skill and what it allowed them to do.

  • Benjamin's attention to detail and innovative thinking consistently lead to improvements in workflow, driving efficiency and productivity throughout the team.
  • Alice’s deep industry knowledge and proactive mindset make her a go-to resource, constantly elevating the quality of work produced by the entire department.

4. Share a personality trait (why to keep them)

This helps future employers understand what your colleague can bring to a team and how they’ll fit with company culture. 

Plus, it’s one of the best ways to add a personal touch to your recommendation. You can speak to whatever personality trait you appreciate most about them. It could be their sense of humor, their easy-going nature, their choice in music — whatever helped you connect on a personal level. 

Here are some examples:

  • Plus, nobody could beat Naomi as team DJ on Fridays. Her playlists? Absolute fire!
  • We’ll definitely miss Jack’s curve ball on the company baseball team. 
  • Robin was our unofficial referee. They always knew how to keep heads cool and find a way forward.

5. End with a recommendation (call to action)

Finally, wrap up with a declaration or call to action. For example: 

  • Sofia would be an excellent addition to any team. 
  • I look forward to working with Jun again and would highly recommend hiring him. 
  • Workplaces need more people like Raj, who consistently went above and beyond.
  • If you have the opportunity to work with Priya, don’t pass it up. 

5 quick tips for writing stand-out LinkedIn recommendations

These tips will help your recommendation sound eloquent, thoughtful, genuine, and knowledgeable. 

1. Ask the recommendee what they’d like mentioned.

Most people will have one or two things they’d like you to focus on.

2. Use descriptive adjectives and adverbs.

These add variety, impact, and emotion. For example:

Work ethic:
meticulous, passionate, thorough, consistent, proactive, effective.
Leadership:
inspirational, motivational, charismatic, trusting, compelling, patient.
Teamwork:
dependable, adaptable, inclusive, tactful, responsive, unifying.
Personality:
composed, energetic, enthusiastic, animated, steady, centered.

Most of these can be turned into adverbs by adding ‘–ly’ (e.g., meticulously, passionately).

3. Use AI to collect your thoughts — then make it your own.

Just like with writing your own LinkedIn bio, you can use AI to make writing a LinkedIn recommendation easier and quicker. Use a tool like Wordune to organize your thoughts by first putting them down in bullet-points. Then, collaborate with the AI to adjust the tone and turn them into a coherent paragraph. With Wordtune, for example, simply hit the Create button, enter in your bullet points from the five steps above, and hit the purple arrow button to generate a paragraph. If it’s too long to start with, don’t worry — you can use the Shorten feature to develop a more concise recommendation.

A screenshot of Wordtune with bullet-point text to be turned into a recommendation.

4. Keep your writing concise.  

Just like a good LinkedIn post, a good LinkedIn recommendation is short and to the point. Aim for about 60-80 words or six to eight sentences.

Stick to simple sentence structures and use active voice.

Use strong verbs, like “pioneer” instead of “start a new initiative” or “champion” instead of “lend support to.”

Finally, be confident in your writing. Rather than, “I personally feel that Jennifer is one of the best managers I could have met,” state assertively: “Jennifer is an excellent manager.”

Pro tip: If you have trouble writing concisely, use an AI writing assistant like Wordtune. Write as you normally would, then select the text and hit “Shorten.”

Use Wordtune to keep your writing concise by quickly shortening sentences or whole paragraphs.

5. Avoid jargon and technical language.

Unless the tools or methods your colleague used are indispensable to describing your shared experience, leave them out. You don’t want to confuse readers who aren’t familiar with certain acronyms or industry jargon.

Focus on your personal experience of working with them — not on their job description.

Examples for colleagues, employees, clients, and more

Below are some LinkedIn recommendation examples you can use as inspiration.

LinkedIn recommendation for an employee

Jennifer is a standout Marketing Specialist. I had the pleasure of being Jennifer's manager for three years at XYZ Corp. Professionally, Jennifer consistently demonstrated deep product knowledge and an ability to translate complex ideas into actionable marketing strategies. On a personal level, I always appreciated her enthusiasm and positive energy, which was contagious within the team. Anyone looking for an astute and passionate marketer should not miss out on the chance to work with Jennifer.

LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague

Rajiv is an incredibly talented Data Scientist. He and I collaborated on numerous projects over a span of four years at Acme. His analytical acumen and penchant for drawing actionable insights from vast data sets were nothing short of remarkable. But beyond the raw numbers, Rajiv's candid feedback and wit made brainstorming with him always very productive and enjoyable.I would jump at any opportunity to collaborate with Rajiv again and I urge others to do the same.

LinkedIn recommendation for a manager

Lucia is a passionate leader and astute Sales Director. As a Sales Associate, I reported directly to Lucia for over five years. She has an innate ability to see the bigger picture and always guided us, her team, toward long-term goals with clarity. What I most admired about Lucia was her genuine care for her team's professional growth and well-being. Any organization would be fortunate to have Lucia at the helm; I can't recommend her leadership enough.

LinkedIn recommendation for a client or partner

Alejandro was everything we look for in a partner. My firm worked closely with Alejandro on a strategic partnership that lasted two years. Professionally, Alejandro's clear vision and openness to innovation allowed us to bring the very best to our collaboration. His integrity and straightforward communication were refreshing and made our working relationship seamless — not something every vendor can say about their clients. I look forward to future projects with Alejandro and encourage others to seek partnership opportunities with him.

LinkedIn recommendation for a mentor or professor

Dr. Suleiman is an outstanding friend and mentor. I had the honor of working under Amina's mentorship during my postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto. Her deep knowledge of the field and methodical approach to research were instrumental in shaping my academic journey. Beyond academia, Amina's wisdom, patience, and guidance have had a lasting impact on both my personal and professional life. Her future students are in very good hands.

Conclusion

You can use a simple, five-step formula to write unique, interesting LinkedIn recommendations in just a few minutes. Keep things short and simple and use descriptive adjectives to bring your recommendation to life. AI tools like Wordtune can help you connect the dots and turn bullet-points into prose. 

Looking for more help with LinkedIn? Check out these articles from the Wordtune blog:

Frequently asked questions

Are LinkedIn recommendations important?

Definitely, yes! Recommendations from employers and coworkers are one of the strongest testimonials you can ask for when looking for new work. If you don’t have any on your LinkedIn profile, ask people you’ve worked with if they wouldn’t mind providing one — and you can write one in return. Share this article with them to make it quick and easy for them. 

How do you write a LinkedIn recommendation?

To compose a new LinkedIn recommendation, visit the profile of somebody you’re connected with, scroll down to the Recommendations section, and click the “Recommend X” button. Select your relationship, the recommendee’s position at the time, and use the step-by-step instructions above to write your recommendation. 

What should I say in a LinkedIn recommendation?

Start with a strong declaration of what kind of [job title] they are (e.g. “passionate salesperson”). Describe your relationship (“I worked with X during…”). Add a professional trait (“attention to detail led to improvements in workflow”), a personal trait (“could always brighten us up on a gloomy day”), and close with a call-to-action (“highly recommend working with”).