5 Elements of a Great LinkedIn Recommendation

Hiring managers say a truly great LinkedIn recommendation might help tip the scales in your favor. Are your recs good enough?

portrait of Meg Embry
by Meg Embry

Published April 26, 2022

Edited by Jennifer Cuellar
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5 Elements of a Great LinkedIn Recommendation
Image Credit: We Are / DigtialVision / Getty Images


In case you didn't know, hiring managers are definitely reading your LinkedIn recommendations. And those recommendations could be making a bigger impact than you think.

"Think about peer recommendations on LinkedIn as a customer review for a product," said Adam Rossi, CEO of Total Shield. "Some aren't helpful, but reviews that pertain to what you are looking for can help seal the deal," he explained.

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Seal the deal? Really?

Yes, really, said Stephan Baldwin, who has founded three different companies. "In fact, I just brought someone on to help with our marketing efforts at Lead Agent — one reason I hired him was because of his very positive peer recommendations on LinkedIn."

So what does a seal-the-deal LinkedIn recommendation look like? Hiring managers, recruiters, and employers told us that these are the top five things they want to see.

1. A Catchy Opener

A well-written recommendation can do a lot to pique an employer's interest, said CEO and co-founder of WinIt, Ouriel Lemmel. He made the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Consumer Technology in 2020 with his app.

"A great opening remark can make the candidate stand out. If a recommendation catches my eye, I am more likely to read a candidate's entire profile instead of just scrolling through."

2. A Variety of Sources

It also matters who is writing your recommendations. You should have a variety of sources, including industry leaders, bosses, colleagues, and clients. New grads might include professors and university mentors.

"I want to see recommendations from executives or senior managers with some clout," said Mark Daoust, CEO and founder of Quiet Light. "I also like to see a mix of peers and managers. This shows me that the candidate is well-rounded and well thought of."

Recommendation writers should also explain how they know you and your work:

3. Examples of Value Added

Recommendations should highlight valuable skills, experience, or accomplishments that you bring to the table. The more specific, the better.

"Detailed recommendations of what the person has done or the skills and qualities that the person has, backed up with statistics and numbers, can make the person a very strong candidate," said Axon Optics co-founder Ben Rollins.

"I am looking for examples of strategic thinking, impactful projects, career milestones, or significant contributions to a business goal," said Kate Zimmer, senior corporate recruiter at Varian Medical Systems.

4. Character Insight

By the time an employer has gotten to the recommendations section of your profile, they should have a pretty good idea of your skill set. Now they want to know what you're like to work with.

"I want a LinkedIn recommendation to tell me who [a candidate] is, not what what they can do," said John Li, co-founder and technical lead of Fig Loans.

"I want to see the candidate's personality: how they made their teammates smile or offered support during a difficult time."

— John Li, CTO and co-founder, Fig Loans

"Comments on someone's commitment, knowledge, innovation and team ethos reveals their work ethic and personality. Feedback on management style, inclusiveness, and mentoring tell me about their leadership style. These are good clues about organizational fit," said James Parkinson, head of marketing content at Personnel Checks.

5. Sincerity

Finally, the key to an impactful recommendation is authenticity. If it reads like a recommendation generator wrote it, forget about it.

"A thoughtful and sincere endorsement from someone you've worked with can be important information," said Matthew Paxton, founder of Hypernia.

"The peer recommendations that I am most touched by are the ones that are thoughtful and genuine," noted Kyle MacDonald, director of operations, Force by Mojio.

LinkedIn Recommendation Mistakes to Avoid

The wrong kind of LinkedIn recommendations can actually hurt your prospects on the job market. Here are some major recommendation no-nos, according to employers:

If you're on the hunt for a new career or thinking about changing jobs, consider now who you should ask for LinkedIn recommendations — and how to make sure those people include at least one of these five important elements.

FAQ: LinkedIn Recommendations

How do I get more recommendations on LinkedIn?

The truth is, most people won't think to write you a recommendation unless you ask for one. Fortunately, we've also written a guide to asking for LinkedIn recommendations that walks you through the process.

It's a good idea to reach out for recommendations when:

  • You've just completed a big project.
  • You've reached a career milestone.
  • You've received specific praise at work.
  • You're leaving a role or company.

To ask for a recommendation through LinkedIn

  • Scroll down to the Recommendation section of your profile.
  • Select the + in the top right hand corner.
  • Select Ask for a Recommendation.
  • Use the drop-down window to find the person you'd like to ask for a recommendation.
  • Indicate your relationship to that person and the position you held at the time you worked together.
  • Type a personalized message to the recipient and Send.

How do I give someone a recommendation on LinkedIn?

To give someone a recommendation on LinkedIn

  • Scroll down to the Recommendation section of your profile.
  • Select the + in the top right hand corner.
  • Select Give a Recommendation.
  • Use the drop-down window to find the person you want to recommend.
  • Indicate your relationship to that person and the position you held at the time that you worked together.
  • Write your recommendation and Send.

Remember to include these the crucial elements when you write LinkedIn recommendations:

  1. Your working relationship with the person in question
  2. A catchy opener
  3. An example of a time that person added value to your organization
  4. Insight into the person's character and personality
  5. Sincerity and authenticity

How do I remove recommendations from my LinkedIn profile?

First, know that you don't have to accept less-than-stellar recommendations. LinkedIn gives you the options to dismiss recommendations or ask the writer for revisions. To do that:

  • Click the Messaging icon at the top of your LinkedIn profile.
  • Select Review Recommendations, and click the link to the recommendation.
  • Choose to Dismiss the recommendation or Ask for Revisions in the Pending Recommendations pop-up window.

If you already have recommendations on your page that don't meet your standards now, you have the option to hide those messages from public view:

  • Select the Edit icon.

Move the Visible to All LinkedIn Members toggle from on to off.


BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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