I will be the first to admit I’ve not done an admirable job of curating my LinkedIn recommendations (LI) lately, both given and received. That said, I’m going to rehabilitate my lax ways. I implore you to start generating some meaningful, awe-inspiring LI recommendations for those business peeps you admire and trust best.
Don’t Wait to Be Asked – Give and You’ll Receive: Guilty reveal – I’m about to dispense advice I’m not following as well as I should. My bad, shame on me, and a series of “tsk-tsk” sounds emanating from my prim, schoolmarm lips.
Scroll through your LI connections list; identify at least 10 valued business buddies who would take a crowded networking happy hour bullet for you. Start writing a LI recommendation for one of these people. Do it!
Select the Right Connection/Relationship Between You and Your Compadre: Before you start crafting your perfect LI recommendation, you need to select the category that best identifies the connection between you and your “recommendee.”
The choices are: Colleague, Service Provider, Business Partner, and Student. Choose well. Then make clear your relationship with this wonderful professional regarding your basis for the recommendation and respective business titles.
Make Your Friend Shine in 3,000 Characters or Less: Now comes the fun part – the actual writing. If you know your friend is conducting a job search, write the recommendation as a glowing testimony of concrete capabilities. Here’s a recent recommendation I wrote for Debra Arthur, an experienced event and meeting planner:
When I visualize the ideal special event and meeting planner, the first person I “see” is Debra Arthur. I had the (remarkable, volunteer) opportunity to work with Debra on planning committees for the Marlton Business Association’s 2010 and 2011 Business Expos. In 2011, Debra was the MBA Expo’s lead Chairperson; she ran the tightest of ships, resulting in outstanding foot traffic and impressive vendor participation. Any company in need of an event/meeting planner should consider Debra Arthur the most desirable of candidates!
If you’re recommending a business owner’s merchandise or professional services, write one robust paragraph regarding how such shiny objects or services will benefit others. If necessary, have a brief conversation with your friend regarding what you should highlight in the testimonial. Avoid trite/cliche expressions, boring repetition at the beginning of sentences, and too many exclamation points.
It’s okay to go a little long if the sentences hum with verve and style. Don’t max out the 3,000 character limit. Most of all, be sincere, and don’t use vague, general language when writing about your amigo. This indicates the possibility that you don’t know the person well at all (and perhaps you’re on a fishing expedition for a reciprocal recommendation)…
Proofread That Glowing Testimonial Before Sending It for Your Friend’s Approval: Y’all know how I feel about spell check tools, so do your friend a favor – manually proofread your sparkling copy before clicking the pretty Send button. If your lucky recipient has no idea you’re about to praise them within the LI universe, personalize the message that accompanies your recommendation.
Now that I’ve written this blog post, I have one fresh, recently written recommendation for a valued business friend done, and many more to go. How about you – what guidelines do you follow when crafting LinkedIn recommendations? Do you find that the more you gift these online testimonials, the more you receive? Please donate generously…
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no-obligation project quote today!