How to Get (and give) Recommendations on LinkedIn

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The power of LinkedIn is in its ability to connect you with people and engage with them. One fantastic way of engaging with your network is through recommending them on LinkedIn.

In this article I'm going to show you exactly how to recommend someone on LinkedIn, why you should do it, and what to avoid in the process.

What's the Difference between Recommendations and Endorsements on LinkedIn?

Recommendations are a powerful LinkedIn tool, but let's make sure that's actually what you want to do.

Recommending someone on LinkedIn is where you actually type out something nice about them, send it to them, and the words and your name and photo (assuming you've got one) end up on that person's profile, should they choose to do put it there.

Endorsements are where you just click a button saying “John Smith is good at… dispute resolution” and it goes into a massive list of things.  If you're interested in endorsements then that's a topic for another day.

In my view recommendations on LinkedIn are quite valuable.  Endorsements are… less so.

See the two compared below so we're sure about which one you're doing.

these are recommendations.

Why Recommend Someone on LinkedIn?

Good question.  It would be easy to become cynical about the whole thing if you decide to fling out recommendations willy nilly.

Recommending someone on LinkedIn is a lot like giving them a reference.  If you do it wrong, it could come back to bite you later.

However, there are a few sound reasons why you might like to recommend someone on LinkedIn, which I'm going to discuss:

Genuine Thanks

The first and most obvious reason to give a recommendation is because you genuinely appreciate their service or their business relationship and you want to express your thanks in a public way.  Obviously this is a recommendation so it comes with implicit (or potentially express) statement that you believe this person does good work in their field. This is by far the best reason to start thinking about giving someone a recommendation, and ideally should exist no matter what.

Reciprocity of Recommendations

Of course, if you're going to ask people to give you recommendations, one way to open the door to them doing so is by you going first.  Giving someone a recommendation in LinkedIn is a good way to then move into asking them.  That said, you shouldn't give someone a recommendation ONLY for this reason – it's just a nice bonus if you think they will do it.

They have a Frequently Viewed Profile

If your recommendation ends up on the profile of someone who is frequently viewed on LinkedIn, then there is a good chance that you might also get a bit of attention from the reasons of that person's profile.  It's not going to be a high percentage, so don't get all excited here.  But it could be reasonable depending on the volume of eyeballs that person is pulling around the place.

Front of Mind

Although you should only give a genuine recommendation, it doesn't mean that it's limited to your best friends.  LinkedIn recommendations can also be a way of getting you “front of mind” with a potential referrer. If they know you appreciate them enough to write a recommendation, then at the very least they'll remember you exist should you then later touch base with them for business reasons.  Because recommendations are so rare, don't underestimate how much you'll stand out if you do one for someone.

How to Give a Recommendation on LinkedIn

The process itself is pretty simple:

  1. Go to that person's profile
  2. On the down arrow next to your primary action buttons near their profile picture will be the word “recommend” – click it
How to recommend someone on LinkedIn
Start by Recommending Me if you like 🙂
  1. Write your recommendation in the top box
  2. Write a personalised message in the next box (do this! – don't leave it with the default text).  This is also a good opportunity to politely ask for a recommendation in return.
  3. Fill out your relationship details so LinkedIn knows how you actually have come in contact with them.
  4. And click Send.
recommend someone on linkedin
This is what the recommendation page looks like

What to Write in your LinkedIn Recommendation

As I mentioned this is a lot like writing a reference, and so it can be hard to think what to say when you recommend someone on LinkedIn.

If you want to give it a go but are struggling, try something like this:

I worked with [person] in [description of relationship].  During that time they demonstrated [good qualities].  They are an [effective/brilliant/fantastic/inspiring] individual that I am happy to recommend.

What Happens After you Recommend Someone on LinkedIn?

So, after you click send the recipient will get a notification with a message on it saying you've recommended them.

They'll then have the option to:

  1. request changes;
  2. accept it;
  3. add it to their profile.

If you've done a good job of your recommendation then hopefully these all go according to plan.

Now, if you've gone and asked them to recommend you in return, and they don't (pretty common), then after a few weeks feel free to follow them up with a polite reminder that they haven't recommended you yet.  Some people don't know how to do it, so if they are colleagues in your office you might need to show them this article to teach them how 🙂

Things to Avoid with Giving Recommendations on LinkedIn

There are obviously some dumb things you could do here that you should avoid.  Most of them are obvious, but just in case:

  • Don't recommend people that you can't personally vouch for or haven't done work with – you're basically just lying to people;
  • Don't make things up – give genuine opinions based on your actual experiences.  If you're not prepared to say something nice about them without lying, then don't say anything at all;
  • Don't do it ONLY because you want a recommendation in return.  In fact, it's ideal to assume that you won't get one.  This will keep you from getting all huffy if the other person decides not to recommend you for some reason, or simply forgets for 5 years to get back to you.  Remember that you are not the top of everyone else's priority list.

And That's All there Is to Recommending Someone on LinkedIn

It's not hard.

It's a powerful tool.

Do it for the right reasons.

Happy Lawyering!



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