I searched the stack for similar questions but was unable to find any that addressed this particular usage.
We use the word recommend in the sense of advise, in which case the verb may take a direct object or introduce a command (I recommend this course of action. I recommend that you do X. I recommend you to do X). We also use recommend in the sense of endorse (I recommend him for this position). In the overwhelming majority of cases, the subject of the verb recommend is a person or something acting like a person.
I've come across a number of instances, however, where the subject of recommend is not an agent but the qualities that make someone worth recommending. In such instances, recommend seems to provide a more compelling alternative to the verb 'make.'
My experience and skills recommend me as a fine candidate for this position.
My experience and skills make me a fine candidate for this position.
Interestingly, all of the usage examples provided by Webster's and the online OED are sentences in which the subject of recommend is an agent, so the dictionaries do not provide much clarification. However, searching Google or Google books does turn up frequent enough examples of the above usage; I have also found this construction in cover letters.
I am still somewhat skeptical, because we never use the synonym 'endorse' in quite the same way, and endorse always seems to require a subject that is a person. If we don't say traits and qualities endorse, is it in fact correct to say that they recommend?