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!