It is a rare occasion that we truly show appreciation or say something genuinely nice about our employees/coworkers. Throughout my years in the corporate world I have found that this is an unfortunate condition of our fast-paced, competitive work environments. Traditional “thank you’s” and email shout-outs are nice-to-haves, but if you want to really compliment a colleague, a professional recommendation is the way to go.
Be it on LinkedIn or elsewhere, a professional recommendation follows a person around for the rest of their career. It is something to hang their hat on, show to potential future employers and lets them know that you believe in them as a person. So without further ado, here are my 3 must-haves for any professional recommendation.
- Speak to the Person’s Character
If you’re confident enough to write a recommendation for someone, you should know them on a personal level. Paint a picture of who they are as an individual. Do they have a great sense of humor? Are they exceptionally empathetic? Whatever the case may be, let your audience know the kind of person they are dealing with.
- Highlight the Person’s Accomplishments
Where part 1 of your professional recommendation gives us the warm and fuzzies, folks want to know that this person can get the job done. You are in the position of vouching for someone else, so you should be able to speak to what they have done or can do. Make sure you do a thorough job of highlighting their specialties without going into too much detail.
- Set the Stage for Their Next Employer
Any good recommendation should leave the reader with a clear picture of how this person could fit into their organization. After speaking to the person’s character and professional accomplishments, wrap it up with some of the intangibles. Do they put in the extra effort or work off-hours to get the job done? Are they exposing the company to new ways of thinking or doing things? Think of what makes this person unique, and what inspired you to write them a recommendation.
Writing a professional recommendation is one of the most selfless and generous things a person can do in today’s corporate environment. Realize you are trying to make a brighter future for this person, and give them the opportunity to come back with edits for your approval. If you make the commitment to recommend someone, do it right by incorporating these tips; I’m sure your colleague will be more than grateful and happy to return the favor!