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LinkedIn Endorsements - Are You Using Them Properly?

Written by Simply Zesty on

For better or for worse, the introduction of LinkedIn's endorsements

has had an effect on how users approach the site. In their Q3 earnings report released at the beginning of November, the company revealed that more than 200 million endorsements have been given out by members since the feature was released back in late September and that the number of members editing their profiles has more than doubled when compared to last year. If it means that users are improving and optimising their profiles because of endorsements, then you could argue that it's having a positive effect.

However, there has been much debate about whether LinkedIn's endorsement feature is valuable or not. The theory behind it makes a lot of sense - for those who mightn't have the time to write a recommendation, a single click is much easier and less time-consuming - but at the same time, some have argued that it cheapens recommendations and is an effort to recreate the Facebook 'Like' button. While both sides have valid points, it's better to see endorsements as a way of complementing your profile instead of being a deal breaker for employers.

What The Difference?

Endorsements allow users to quickly recommend a particular skill or quality of a person's profile. As you're supposed to say what your skills and expertise are, you will already have a number of them on display and chances are you would have had a few people recommend you for certain skills. Anyone that you're connected with can endorse you for any skill you have and doing so is as simple as liking a page. There is no limit to the number of people who can recommend you for a particular skill or how many skills a person endorses.

For employers, it gives them a quick snapshot of what your main skills are and the type of people who are recommending you. While they're useful to reference to, endorsements shouldn't be seen as a deal breaker, instead, they help show where your main areas of expertise lies and helps shape an employer's first impression of you. The number of recommendations you receive beside each skill will give those viewing your profile an idea of your abilities and reputation.

Recommendations, on the other hand, are the equivalent of written references and allow a specific connection to go into detail about your abilities and what you can bring to the table. These are obviously more time-consuming for the person recommending, but a personal recommendation provides more value as it paints a better picture of you as a professional and gives you credibility. Also, a lot more thought and effort goes into creating recommendations so they would naturally make it more valuable.

What you should avoid is the idea that endorsements are a replacement for recommendations or that it will be the only thing that people will focus on when they visit your profile. Endorsements give you another opportunity to showcase your abilities and is there to complement your overall profile. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses so see them for what they're worth instead of pitting them against each other.

Building Up Endorsements

Whether you're for or against them, it's always a good idea to build up the number of endorsements on your profile and give yourself the best possible chance. Here are a few ways you can increase this total.

Choose Your Skill Set Wisely

While you can't control who endorses which skill, you can control what type of skills are endorsed in the first place, you can decide what type of skills are available for your connections to recommend. Before endorsements, you just entered in a number of keywords and skills without much thought as it didn't play a major part in your profile. Now you're required to put more thought into what skills you want to feature on your profile and showcase the skills that are relevant to your position.

If you already added skills, which you should have, just review them to see which ones are relevant to your position and prioritise them. Arrange your most important skills in order of preference as only the first ten (non-ranked) skills will be displayed, while the rest will go into the "more skills" category underneath. When you start getting endorsements, your skills will be prioritised from most endorsements to least so have your house in order before you start looking for them.

If you're unsure about what you should include, LinkedIn has a page dedicated to uncovering new skills

. You should also use it to gain a few ideas about what other skills you could include on your profile. 

Endorse Others & Provide Value

The quickest way to get endorsements for yourself is to offer them to others. When somebody is endorsed, they receive an email notifying them about it. The 'continue' link here brings you to your main page where you can return the favour or endorse other connections on the site. This will bring up a number of connections and suggested skills for you to recommend. You can heed this or view their profile to see what other skills you can endorse.

What you don't want to do is endorse every skill you see. Limit your endorsements down to two or three skills at most, any more and your endorsements will be reduced in value.

Keep Your Endorsements Varied

As mentioned earlier, the power of endorsements is that it only takes a few seconds to complete, making it a valuable tool. However, these endorsements tend to lose some value if you see the same profile pictures appearing beside each skill. For your own profile, you can hide specific endorsements by scrolling down to the skills section and clicking on the right arrow icon. This will display a list of all the people who endorsed you, where the option to hide a specific endorsement is available.

Add In Your Own Skills

Just because you're given a selection of skills to endorse doesn't mean you can't add your own in. If there's a specific skill or quality that isn't there that you think people should know about, add it in. The person receiving the endorsement mightn't have even thought of it as a possible skill and might even be flattered that you included it, meaning more good karma for you.

Bear in mind that the person has the choice about whether they want to include these new skills on their profile or not, so you don't have to fear whether they will like it or not, just add it and see whether they want to include it or not.

Just Ask

If you're starting out and you want to build up the number of endorsements you're getting, there's certainly no harm in asking your colleagues or friends asking if they could endorse one or two of your skills. You should only do this with your closest friends and a small number of colleagues though, emailing or messaging everyone you know isn't a good strategy as you will only come across as desperate.

Move Endorsements To The Top Of Your Profile.

If you want to make it easier for people to endorse you, you can make it the first thing people see by moving it to the top of your profile. Simply go into 'edit profile,' scroll down to your skills and expertise section, and drag the box up to the top by using the arrow icon located at the right hand corner. Simple and effective.


Friend icon by Megan Sheehan via The Noun Project.

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