Better to Give than Receive – Giving Recommendations Strategically on LinkedIn

  • Wouldn’t anyone be grateful for a recommendation on LinkedIn? Not necessarily.
  • Why should you take the time to give someone a recommendation? You’d be surprised at the benefits you can receive from giving a recommendation (besides the goodwill and gratitude from the recipient of your recommendation.)
  • Who reads them anyway? Lots of people read them and they pay attention. Recruiters and hiring managers read them.  Potential clients should be reading them – I certainly do!

Who to write a recommendation for:

  • Someone who asks for one but only if you believe in the quality of their work or services.
  • Someone you want to reach out to in order to thank or to build on your relationship. Perhaps there’s a vendor or a client you had an awesome experience with. This is a great way to ensure you keep having great experiences with them.
  • Current or former employees, co-workers, vendors or even your managers. Your working relationship with people will last throughout your professional life, even when you leave a particular company.  It’s a good thing to have positive feelings around – good karma and all that. And it does you no harm for current and future employers to see you as a positive person to work with.

It’s important to realize that recommendations appear on both the profile of the receiver of the recommendation as well as the author’s profile.  This has a few implications, both good and not so good:

  • If you write something just to be nice/to help someone get a job but you don’t really think that highly of them, it’s your brand you’re potentially damaging. Don’t do it!
  • You have an opportunity to help someone out and promote their brand. Perhaps you wrote a glowing review of a client or vendor. Your referral will appear to everyone who looks at their profile. That’s an awesome gift to give!
  • If you write a recommendation for someone and they accept it you will receive even more views as people go to look you up to see who the person is who’s given a referral.   It’s a win-win.

Ask first:

  • Sometimes it’s nice to just do a recommendation without asking if the person wants it.
  • Generally, it’s a better idea to send an email to the person you’d like to recommend and ask them what they would like you to emphasize – what keywords or attributes they might want to be mentioned.

Things to be aware of:

  • Make sure you let the person know (phone or email) that you’ve written a recommendation for them.  People often miss the notification from LinkedIn.
  • Whether you send it unsolicited or after your email offer is accepted, the recipient will have the opportunity to accept your recommendation or request a change before it shows on their page.

Note: You can withdraw a recommendation at any time – the receiver will not be sent a notification – you’ll just find that it’s disappeared if you remember to look for it. Don’t be petty but if there’s a good reason to remove it, just quietly do so.

Here are a couple of additional resources:


I would love to talk with you about the benefits to you of having a great profile on LinkedIn, how to use it without it taking up more time than you can afford, what’s appropriate for you to share on LinkedIn, and how I could help you with your professional goals. Please schedule a free 20-minute strategy consultation to see how I might be able to assist you.