LinkedIn recommendations: You want me to write something about you?!
By Maureen McCann
Last week I wrote about the topic of asking and receiving LinkedIn recommendations. So what happens when you’re the recipient of a request? If you’re like me, it’s not that you don’t want to write a recommendation, rather – that it is a time consuming exercise.
Finding the right words can be tough – even for a writer, so below you’ll find my thought process and writing process to help you create a meaningful Linkedin recommendation for your friend, colleague, client or customers.
One of the first things I do is focus my thinking on the individual. This can be challenging because most of us like to talk about ourselves, so often you’ll see phrases like: “When John worked for me….” or “I managed John…” written in recommendations. Rather than talk about yourself try reflecting on your personal or professional experience with the individual. The key to writing a great recommendation is spending time reflecting on the individual needs, talents, and characteristics of the individual.
- How did this person make me feel?
- How did they work with the team?
- What value or contribution did they make to the organization?
- How did they make the organization better, by being part of it?
- What were they particularly good at doing?
- What made them stand out in their role?
- What was memorable about them?
This will be a good start point to begin constructing a thoughtful recommendation and will help develop the piece into a well-balanced recommendation.
Active Language – Keep it Simple.
When you write about this person, you’ll want to use active language (verbs) that describe the abilities and skills of the individual. Identify what s/he did. If this is the first time you’re writing a recommendation, keep it simple! You can use words like
- Established, Built, Created
- Managed, Directed, Led
- Enhanced, Bolstered, Boosted, Grew
- Identified, Instigated, Initiated
Remember, this is supposed to help the individual feature his/her best qualities, so do your very best to remain focused on the person. In fact, according to Linkedin, a recommendation can
- “help you hire and get hired
- help you find customers and partners
- build your brand and reputation
- make your network more valuable”
Once you’ve written your recommendation, re-read it. Does it answer the following questions?
- What do you feel are the individual’s top strengths that have most benefitted you?
- In what way did the individual add value to you and/or the organization?
- What things surprised you about the individual’s performance and ability to assist you? Example: I was thinking I would get X, but s/he provided X+Y+Z. S/He was impressive
- In what ways the individual helped you work towards or accomplish your end goal?
If you are knowledgeable about this person’s profession and/or industry, do your very best to include key words, and appropriate terminology specific to their work.
Avoid use of fancy words, or attempting to sound smarter than you are. Your job is to get a clear, concise message to the reader.
The individual you are recommending has tremendous value to offer. You’re simply helping to solidify that message and lend credibility to their profile. Write confidently, and you are sure to impress the readers of this profile.
Maureen McCann is an award winning master resume writer and Canadian Career Strategist who provides tailored career advice to C-level executives, managers, and professionals by providing leading edge services to improve your writing, online and interview presence. She has been interviewed as a career expert for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun and Chris Lawrence’s syndicated myFM radio show.
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