Recommendations is a pretty powerful thing within LinkedIn. You
can’t write your own, and you can’t edit what someone has submitted for
you. You can just decided whether you want to show a recommendation or
not. Because of this, each recommendation carries some weight.

Issues surrounding Recommendations are too complex for one blog
post, so in this post I’ll just focus on writing an excellent
recommendation. I’m not covering who to write one for, what to do if
you don’t like the recommendation someone submits for you, how to
solicit recommendation, etc. Just what makes an excellent one.

Two things come to mind:

First, make sure your recommendation is going to
add business or professional value to the recipient. This is not the
Facebook Wall, or the MySpace comment area. Recommendations are not
“atta boys,” kudos or “happy birthdays.” They are meant to show a
professional endorsement for that person.

Second, make sure your recommendation has specific
information (and, is not too vague). You can say “Jason is an excellent
project manager,” or you can say “Jason showed excellent project
management skills by (example a, example b, example c).” The first one
is just too vague… becoming cliche. The second one is more credible.

Now, I’ll probably be accused of wanting to flatter myself for
posting this, but I just received it and I think it’s an excellent
example of how to do a strong recommendation. This is from Patreece Thompson, who participated in a LinkedIn webinar that I did this morning:

conducted a webinar on LinkedIn that I found extremely valuable. He
demonstrated a high degree of expertise and his presentation was clear
and immediately actionable. He was sensitive to others that did not
have the on-line visual. In addition, his style was open and inviting
to questions (and expressed appreciation for them) and willingly gave
his time to responding to questions thoroughly. Jason is extremely
enthusiastic about his work which is infectious. I certainly would
recommend him for any training on this topic.

Notice how powerful this recommendation is… it is much more specific than something like this:

Jason is a great presenter, I really enjoyed what he talked about. I would recommend Jason anytime.

Of course, my example is still positive and flattering, but
Patreece’s recommendation has teeth… it has the kind of information and
authority that means something.

I expect to see positive things about you in recommendations. Any specific stuff just seals the deal.

Be specific!

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