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It’s an unfortunate fact that most recommendations on LinkedIn are instantly forgettable and don’t tend to add much value to the LinkedIn experience.

But occasionally the trend of mediocre testimonials is bucked. A few days ago I discovered a LinkedIn recommendation that really stood out. It was short, punchy and clever. It neatly encapsulated the best of a working relationship and mixed sincere praise with humor, not always easy to do. So, as is my wont, I wrote a short post about it.

The recommendation I found was written by Dan Hill for Chiara Sambonet, here it is:

I’m so glad I shared Dan’s recommendation of Chiara via a LinkedIn post, because Ron Gerlach happened to see it and shared a recommendation provided to him by Daniel Lilly as one of the comments. This longer recommendation is also superb, cleverly written, interspersed with witty asides, it’s clear that Daniel and Ron had an exceptionally strong working relationship. I probably won’t see a better example of a colleague showing admiration and respect for a cherished co-worker.

Clearly Daniel hit it out of the park, as one of the commenters to my post said “ this recommendation does nearly as much to recommend the author as it does the recipient ”.

That’s the main takeaway – when you write a recommendation for someone, you don’t just bear the responsibility to do right by your former colleague, you also have an opportunity to express yourself. It doesn’t matter if you write 85 or 285 words, just make every single word matter.

For folks reading this who worry that they could never write something as engaging, authentic and witty as the two Dans, I say give it a try. My advice – just write as you speak, don’t worry too much about the words (but worry about spelling and grammar because that shit matters), focus on the message and be yourself, be real.

But if you need a second opinion or prefer to outsource to people who write testimonials and craft fabulous resumes for a living, these are some of the best people I know:

Donna Svei /
Hannah Morgan /
Sarah Johnston /

I’ve collaborated with smart and busy senior professionals all over the world, providing them with much needed customized LinkedIn coaching. I can write your Summary/Headline and improve your entire Profile. I can help you build a powerful LinkedIn presence and advise you on how to implement and execute a strategy aligned with your career goals.

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