Recommendations are critical on LinkedIn. Other than your headline, photo, and profile summary, recommendations are probably the next most important thing. Look at them like testimonials (real ones) for a service, business, or product. It’s called social proof in the online marketing world, it getting that social proof is often the key to success or failure. So, with all of that said, what makes the difference between a good, and a not so great recommendation?

The “ho hum” recommendation is generic. It lacks details as to what the person being recommended did or provided in a certain situation that made the difference. The reader is left with thinking, “So what?” Here’s a not so great recommendation.

George provided IT support to our company for a period of six months while we were changing locations. He was proficient, and we’ll definitely reach out to George again if the need arises.

Although not horrible, do you see how unspecific that recommendation is. Sure, it’s positive…sort of! But it really doesn’t tell you too much about what George did and why he was so great. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t tell you George was great at all! This isn’t “cringeworthy”, but it is a little lack luster.

Compare that with this…

George was the third freelance IT technician we hired in a two-month period. The first two were horrible, even leaving us offline for a period of over 24 hours. George was recommended by a friend. I was impressed with him from the beginning. When he arrived at our office, he had already done his homework on our system. He told us exactly what our main problem was and what would be required to fix it. Of course, we hired him on the spot. He even worked over the weekend to get us up and running as fast as possible. Not only did George fix our main problem, but he found a few other mistakes from our first two freelance IT guys. He fixed those too without even charging us extra. I’ve already recommended George to two other CTO’s that I know, and I’ll happily recommend him again!

Do you see the huge difference between these two? One’s like a limp, used dishrag. The other’s full of details and praise! That right there is how to write a killer recommendation for LinkedIn!

A lot of LinkedIn users that I see online have great profiles, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are often the following. They’re weak in endorsements, recommendations, and/or skills. Often all three. It’s like these three are the step children of the various fields that make up a complete LinkedIn profile. Here’s why you don’t want to ignore these all-important parts of your LinkedIn profile.
Look at it this way. When’s the last time you bought something that cost more than a few dollars (or pounds or yen, etc.)? Being an Internet savvy person, what did you do? If you’re like most folks, you Googled whatever it was and read about what other people thought, right? Well, people are doing essentially the same thing on LinkedIn. We call this social proof in the marketing business. People are highly influenced by what other people think. Being endorsed is one of the ways of providing this social proof to people who visit your profile on LinkedIn. Recommendations are another way of providing this proof.
Have you ever asked a colleague about the car they just bought, the new restaurant they tried, or their dentist or doctor? For important purchases, finding the right product or the right service provider is often done through recommendations. Recommendations carry a huge amount of influence, and you should be asking the people you’re connected with, at least the ones you know well, to recommend you.
Finally, listing your skills matters a lot! Seeing a large list of skills along with the number of people who’ve endorsed you for them is a great way to position yourself as a professional. Not only that, but the selection of skills helps viewers get to know you. Both recruiters and people who are potential clients are going to scan these skills to help them understand who you are and what you bring to the party!