How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation in 2023 [Quick Tip + Examples]

Writing a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague is a great and easy way to support their career development. But figuring out how to write one that is specific, honest, succinct, and impactful isn’t always easy. 

In this post, I’ll share the best writing tips I’ve picked up in my professional years to help you write stellar LinkedIn testimonials, along with templates and high-quality examples of LinkedIn recommendations you can use as inspiration.

1. Explain the nature of your professional relationship.

I know it seems serious, but it’s simply a helpful piece of context that helps you easily write an intro for your recommendation.Whether it’s a coworker you’ve worked closely with for years or a recent agency point of contact, it sets the stage for the reader to learn why you’re writing this recommendation.

For Example:

I’ve worked alongside Lisa for close to two years now.

2. Offer details about the position this person is working toward.

Are you recommending this person for their work in one position? Or are you writing about their work across multiple jobs they’ve held while you worked with them?

I’d recommend focusing on the notable parts of their job. It may feel strange — like you’re listing out their job description. But, it will help anyone reading the recommendation get a feel for what they did in their job. 

Similarly, I’d also caution against creating a laundry list of their job duties. If they’ve worn that many hats, you can contact them to see if they’d like you to emphasize a specific part of their role.

For Example:

In those two years, I’ve seen her excel at the core elements of her job — like copywriting and copyediting — also learn other tasks that extend well beyond the scope of her role. These include email marketing, event planning, and even championing our company’s internal communications.

3. Explain how they’ve grown at the company.

If you’re writing a recommendation for a direct or former direct report, this part of your recommendation can go a long way. Explaining how the person you’re recommending has grown — either in their role or from one role to another — can show an ability to adapt as the organization expands.

My advice is not to overstate any low points in the person’s career that can dilute the value of the growth you’re trying to highlight. 

For Example:

Lisa has grown as quickly as our business has, and her willingness to learn and take on these new responsibilities is something sought-after in any professional.

4. Show how their contribution helped grow the team or company.

This could be an explanation of how their performance helped hit hard metrics. You could also talk about contributions like leading their teammates or fostering new initiatives.

Whenever I’ve updated my resume and focused on my contributions or effectiveness in a role, I follow the “show don’t tell principle.” Instead of just telling a reader that the person I’m recommending is good at their job, I’m proving it by doing things like including a metric that shows their success. It’s much more impactful than simply saying “I’m good at doing this!”

For Example:

Lisa’s mastery of both her core role and extra projects have been critical to the company’s growth. In fact, her taking on internal company communication aligned with a sharp increase in employee happiness (+28 quarterly eNPS).

5. Explain what these achievements reveal about that person.

By now, you’ve included some specifics — so let’s explain what those specifics mean for the larger theme of your recommendation. Do the examples you’ve detailed reveal that person is hard-working? Ambitious? Great for team morale? Connect their accomplishments with their attributes.

For Example:

This rare mix of productivity and ambition sets a great example for the rest of the team. It also explains why everyone loves working with Lisa — no matter where they fall on the org chart.

6. End with a note about the personal aspect of working with them.

In this section, I’d suggest message home with a mention of how you felt working with the person, your hopes for their career, or a prediction about their future.

For Example:

Lisa’s work has continued to pay dividends long past her tenure here, and I still miss working with her every day. I can’t wait to see what she does with the next step in her career trajectory.

LinkedIn Recommendation Examples

Recommendation From an Employee

Acccording to a 2022 Gartner survey, 50% of employees have different employer expectations than they did before the pandemic.

Employee recommendations show that a stakeholder respects the opinions of the people they manage. It also shows how they lead from the bottom up.

In the recommendation below, a person discusses how their supervisor progressed at the company and how this person mentored them so they too could grow as an employee.

Example 1:

Why I like this LinkedIn recommendation:

This recommendation shows how the relationship between employee and manager evolved over time. Work relationships that shift from peer to manager can be tough. They can sometimes create power struggles, miscommunication, and more, but I think this recommender does an excellent job at highlighting the employees’ mutual respect, care, and professional growth.

Example 2:

Why I think this is a good LinkedIn recommendation:

Soft skills can be difficult for recruiters and employers to assess. I pulled the recommendation above as a valuable example because it talks about a manager/employee relationship essential to this employee’s development, giving readers a sense of how this manager might engage with and leave a lasting impact on their new team.  

Example 3:

Why I like this LinkedIn recommendation:

We can all agree that an authentic recommendation is much more helpful than a formulaic recommendation that you could reasonably adapt to anyone’s qualifications. The rec above shows how this manager is unique in balancing kindness, critique, and composure on his team.

Recommendation from an Employer

Employer recommendations may be a replacement or a complement to the job requirements for many positions, which can make an employer recommendation an important LinkedIn addition. Unlike a standard recommendation you’d include in a job application, those on LinkedIn are short and to the point. Instead of a full page, most are even short but dense paragraphs like the examples below.

For example, in this recommendation, an employer explains how an employee progressed and executed projects that made a big impact on their company.

Example 1:

Why I like this LinkedIn recommendation:

I appreciate that the recommendation jumps immediately into specific job functions, technical skills, and soft skills. A quick scan of this letter can show any employer what this person does best and how those skills can translate to other jobs or employers.

Example 2:

Why I think this is a good LinkedIn recommendation:

Connecting actions to outcomes can make it easier for prospective employers to understand the value an employee can bring to their team. I believe this rec does an excellent job at outlining what a new hire did, how she approached changes, and the results she brought to her team. 

Example 3:

Why I like this LinkedIn recommendation:

This recommendation letter uses industry-specific terms to show the activities and outcomes this employee was responsible for. This makes it easy for employers to understand how that performance could translate to their business and team.

Recommendation from a Coworker

Over 20% of LinkedIn users are 18-24 years old. This means that many LinkedIn users are recent graduates who might have limited job experience.

Employers are looking to LinkedIn for a sense of your commitment, engagement, and soft skills at work; coworkers are a great source to highlight these areas. Let’s look at some excellent coworker recommendations from LinkedIn.

Example 1:

Why I like this LinkedIn recommendation:

This letter quickly highlights how long they’ve worked together, what they did, and the candidate’s strongest soft skills. It stays positive but also showcases how this person responds to pressure.

Example 2:

Why this is a good LinkedIn recommendation:

I’d be elated to receive a review like this from a coworker. It’s full of job-specific details that emphasize abilities and shows off the recipient’s unique qualities that might not come out in a job interview. Outlining teaching skills and continuing education shows potential employers how the candidate is preparing for the future. 

LinkedIn Recommendation Sample (for a Manager)

Now, writing a LinkedIn recommendation can seem easy, but it’s not. What if the employee you’re recommending is your superior? This can make it more difficult to recommend the person — even if you’re saying stellar things about them.

Here’s a sample LinkedIn recommendation template — written in full — that a manager would be proud to receive.

I’ve worked for Lisa for two years. During that time I’ve seen her quickly take on new responsibilities while making time to teach these new skills to her employees.

By inheriting tasks like campaign analytics and email A/B testing — both of which extend beyond the scope of our team — she’s made our department much more agile and set me up for promotion last month. Lisa is a great person and manager, and her next employer will be lucky to have her.

Now proofread, and hit send. Remember, the person you’re writing your recommendation for can review and request changes. So, you’ll have a chance to make changes and submit a recommendation that they’ll appreciate.

Write a Recommendation on LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn isn’t just job hunting and your professional reputation—it’s about building relationships. The sooner you start writing recommendations with the steps above, the better your professional relationships can be.