LinkedIn Recommendation Tips

LinkedIn is a great business social network. The crown jewel of its services is the great reputation engine, fueled by LinkedIn recommendations you write for others. As much as your own recommendations matter, it’s just as important that you recommend others. Here are some tips to what makes a great LinkedIn recommendation.

Only Recommend People Whose Work You Can Vouch For

I’ll say this once: if you recommend someone and can’t really vouch for their work, you’re just setting your own reputation up for a blow. Don’t do it. LinkedIn and I disagree in the area that I’ll link to anyone (are you and I LinkedIn? Connect with me and use linkedin @ chrisbrogan . com as my email address). But I’ll never recommend someone whose work I don’t know enough about.

Lead With Strong Language

No, not cussing. Lead with the strongest thing you can say about the person. “Gerry is a clutch player in the world or project management.” When I said that, I wanted people to know that you had a real anchor player in Gerry. Not just “a sufficiently skilled project manager,” but a “clutch player.”

Start with the best possible thing you can say about the person. If you can’t say anything particularly strong, you might reconsider whether you’d recommend them.

Be Brief, But Be Useful

People don’t want to read Moby Dick. They want to know what others say about their prospective new hire, or their potential new customer. Be brief and pack it full of value.

What’s useful? Using Gerry as my example, I’d say about Gerry: “Gerry is a strong communicator, and gets his point across simply. He knows how to pad a schedule, but keep the project tight. Gerry gets disparate teams together to execute with great success.” All of these things, said of a project manager, will improve Gerry’s potential hiring, and will tell his manager what you think.

If You Want to Convey a Negative

Of another person’s recommendation, I added the following gently-couched negative statement, “_____ isn’t always clear in what she needs. She sometimes needs encouragement to draw out details that might be useful to the execution of the project.” I did my best to make this sentiment clearly an issue, but didn’t crush the person. I didn’t say, “____ is too shy and mumbly to successfully convince people to follow her lead.” The first would be a bit kind to her; the second a bit harsh.

And again, if there’s a reason you wouldn’t recommend the person, don’t.

Turning Down a Recommendation

Sadly, I’ve had lots of experience doing this. If I follow you on Twitter and have commented on your blog here and there, I still don’t really know just what kind of marketer you are. I just can’t tell someone to work with you, if I don’t have much experience with you as a colleague.

Here’s how I word those rejections of a recommendation:

“Hi _____ –

I’m honored you asked for a recommendation. Thanks for thinking of me. Because I haven’t worked enough with you professionally, I fear my recommendation wouldn’t be useful. I simply can’t vouch for your work experience beyond our casual interactions online. Best of luck in getting some stellar recommendations.

–Chris…”

You can use a variation on that, if you’d like.

Recommendations Work Two Ways

I can’t tell you the number of times that my recommendation of someone else got either me or that person a new hit for a potential project moments after it got posted. Recommendations show up in the network updates, so people connected to either of us see them. That in mind, it makes for a great potential success builder.

They work in two ways because it shows what you value in others, and it also obviously works for the person you’ve recommended.

Questions?

What else can I tell you about recommendations on LinkedIn? Do you have a few you can leave to others? Swing by LinkedIn and leave some recommendations for people who can use them.

ChrisBrogan.com runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

Become a StudioPress Affiliate

  • http://www.gucci-outlet-store.com gucci outlet

    The post of content is very interesting and exciting. I learned a lot from here.The content from simple to complex, so all of you can come in . No matter you want to see what can be found.By the way ,there are some websites is also very wonderful,you can go and see.such as ajf 3

  • Michelle Sloan

    I am new to LinkedIn and just recently found the Recommendation feature. At first I thought it was such an amazing idea. Then I started to think what if people start asking me for recommendations and I don't want to. How would I handle that? But thanks to your great blurb of how you handle it, I think I am now prepared in case that situation should arise for me. Also, you have some other great points, such as being brief and leaing off with the best you've got. Great blog, Chris!!

  • http://standubin.com Stan Dubin

    I agree with Chris and disagree with LinkedIn. I'll connect up with folks on LinkedIn even if I only know them through another connection. I mean, that's what we're supposed to be doing there, right? Connecting up with new folks.

    • John Barleycord

      Why not just have everyone connected to everyone else by default then?

  • RoxanneRives79

    I have never given someone a recommendation that I didn't know for the sake of. I think that would be a risky piece as you said, to place your name out there and have it backfire.
    As far as adding people to my network in the same field as myself, a good idea to build new contacts and open up doors of opportunity..doing a personal action such as writing a reference, should be treated the same on LinkedIn as if I was actually writing a letter to a prospective employer that the said employee candidate is great. I wouldn't ever do that for a stranger, so why would I do it on ??LinkedIn for a stranger. Thanks for the post

  • RoxanneRives79

    I have never given someone a recommendation that I didn't know for the sake of. I think that would be a risky piece as you said, to place your name out there and have it backfire.
    As far as adding people to my network in the same field as myself, a good idea to build new contacts and open up doors of opportunity..doing a personal action such as writing a reference, should be treated the same on LinkedIn as if I was actually writing a letter to a prospective employer that the said employee candidate is great. I wouldn't ever do that for a stranger, so why would I do it on ??LinkedIn for a stranger. Thanks for the post

  • Pingback: How to Get the Best LinkedIn Recommendations | Career Management Alliance Blog

  • http://wordwork-play.com Abram

    I agree with much of what you say, especially your approach to recommendations. As to your idea of linking to anyone, regardless of whether you know or have worked with the person or not, I'd like to know more. I can see it in the same way that people, before the social networking age, would go to conventions or other events where people of related interests congregate and make their rounds talking to various people and handing out their business cards. Is that the general idea?

    What benefit do you think you could derive from being linked to me? Or I from being linked to you? We do not know one another and have never worked together. Like Carmen above, I have requested to add you to my network to test your idea, so to speak. Would love to continue this conversation.

  • Pingback: Previously on LinkedIn: An acquisition, 75M users and 3 useful tips « Marketing Nirvana

  • http://twitter.com/chrisgomedia Chris Tompkins

    So glad that someone is talking about Linkedin recommendations again as, when used ethically and correctly, can truly enhance a profile and credibility.

    Since I am on Linkedin every day (for hours) I have seen a growing trend of people that I have never met (and some who aren't even in my network) asking for recommendations. This is also growing rapidly in my client accounts. With that said, it looks like we are heading for something that I find irritating and hilarious at the same time: “Recommendation Spam”.

    Anyone else getting irritated by this?

    • http://www.imprintedoriginals.com/ #D_Elms

       LIterally the next day after meeting the man who became our accountant, I was asked to recommend him on LinkedIn.  It was true that looking through the gazillion recommendations before meeting him, had influenced our setting an appointment with him.

      Two years later and we have not had stunning success with him, and when there became an issue, he became incredibly and vociferously unprofessional.  Except for the fact that of course I don’t want to become equally unprofessional, I do wish for a chance to let people know that they’re asking for trouble with this ego-maniac!

      I now will be on the lookout for “too many” recommendations for a person as a possible red flag.

  • http://twitter.com/mariosundar Mario Sundar

    Couldn't agree more, Chris. In particular, I think the concept of a balanced recommendation is not well understand. Your post is a good primer on trying to address that.

    That said, a lot can be lost in translation with the written word, esp. given social etiquette and professionals need to be super careful how they approach a public recommendation. I think @adamnash said it best in his post here – http://blog.linkedin.com/2009/07/23/adam-nash-r

    Food for thought.

  • Pingback: Best Practices for LinkedIn Profile and Participation

  • http://www.thecatherinekeenan.com Catherine Keenan

    Great artical ! It helps me to write a recommendation that will truly benefit the person I write about.

  • http://www.thecatherinekeenan.com Catherine Keenan

    Great artical ! It helps me to write a recommendation that will truly benefit the person I write about.

  • Pingback: Chris Brogan talks about giving LinkedIN Recommendations

  • Pingback: 5 Steps to Success on LinkedInSocial Media Orange County

  • Pingback: 4 Things You Can Do to Help a Colleague Who Lost Their Job | MarketingInProgress.com by Brett Duncan

  • Pingback: 50 Intelligent LinkedIn Tips That Could Change Your Life | Accounting Degree.com

  • Pingback: The Importance of LinkedIn Recommendations « A New Marketing Commentator

  • http://transcriptionplace.com Transcription Services

    My favorite recommendations are those which talk about the person both professionally and personally. I don’t only want to know that she is the best in her field, but it is also important that she is great to work with as a person.

  • Pingback: 50 Intelligent LinkedIn Tips That Could Change Your Life « MESA POST *មេសា*

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ cheap bras

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • Jenkins Mon

    I would advise against using sporting metaphors such as “X is a clutch player…” to describe someone.  These metaphors can easily be misunderstood internationally; as a UK national I had to look up “clutch player” on google then make an assumption (possibly incorrect) on how this relates to the recommendees work.
    Otherwise very good article.

    • John Barleycorn

      Yes, if you praise someone’s flexibility by saying they “swing both ways” it could be misunderstood!

  • http://www.key-logger.ws/ keylogger

    it’s very nice is actually a good post………

  • Pingback: The New Networking: Ultimate LinkedIn Guide for 2012 Grads

  • Pingback: Ultimate LinkedIn Guide | TOPYX Social LMS

  • Pingback: The New Networking: Ultimate LinkedIn Guide For 2012 Grads | Young Upstarts

  • Pingback: Ultimate LinkedIn Guide for 2012 Grads | CareerEnlightenment.com

  • Pingback: The New Networking: Ultimate LinkedIn Guide for 2012 Grads « U in the USA

  • disqus_xNYjxJKUtL

    sorry if my question is a simple techy request… maybe I can find this in a “how to” section??!… but I just can’t see it…. I need to upload a friends recommendation on to my recommendation section… Anyone able to help?… Thanks… Bob

  • Pingback: LinkedIn in 2010 - The Top 20 Most Useful Blog Posts on LinkedIn