Understanding LinkedIn Endorsements

endorsed fella

Understanding Endorsements

Endorsements are a feature that LinkedIn rolled out in October 2012. They are essentially, social proof that validates the skills on your profile. Your 10 most endorsed skills will show up automatically; the other skills are listed below them.

Typically, the higher the number of people that say you’re good at something, the more the number of people that will believe what you say.

According to LinkedIn:

Skill endorsements are a great way to recognize your 1st-degree connections’ skills and expertise with one click. They also let your connections validate the strengths found on your own profile. Skill endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network.

How to Endorse a User

To endorse a fellow member’s skills, simply navigate to the user’s profile and scroll down to his Skills & Expertise section. Look at his or her list of skills. When you hover your mouse over a skill, the text will change to Endorse. Click on that skill and the text will change to Endorsed. Your profile picture will then appear as an endorser on the user’s profile.

The benefit of endorsing another user is that you help them gain social proof by endorsing their skills. However, you also gain branding and exposure by having your photo on their profile. In addition, when someone clicks on your photo, a window will pop up with your name, headline, and two hyperlinks that say View Profile and Invite to connect. This make it easy for more users to visit your profile and see what you are all about and possibly invite you to become a connection.

The Problem with LinkedIn Endorsements

LinkedIn allows any of your 1st degree connections to easily endorse you for virtually any skill. Skills are listed in the order they are entered the first time you add skills to your profile. Once you start getting endorsed, those skills you’ve been endorsed for will appear at the top of the list. This has met with some frustration because you can be endorsed for skills that are not relevant to your LinkedIn or networking goals.

Even worse, getting endorsed for these irrelevant skills could ultimately lead to your actual skills being overlooked.

For example, if you used to work in software testing and are now switching careers to project management, if more people endorse you for software testing rather than project management, you will rank more highly in LinkedIn search results for software testing than project management (because you have a greater number of endorsements for it). When those skills you’ve been endorsed for are combined with recommendations that validate those endorsements, your profile can really shine and stand out for software testing.

When you have been endorsed, you receive notification in email and on LinkedIn, and these endorsements will show up in your own Skills & Expertise section.

Maintaining Control over Endorsements

LinkedIn allows you to retain complete control over what skills are displayed on your profile, and even which skills you can receive endorsements on. When you have been endorsed, you will be notified by LinkedIn and you’ll be given the option to add that endorsement to your profile.

When you add the endorsement to your profile, you’ll see a list of all of skills you can add. Skills without endorsements are displayed according to when they were added. Note that there’s no way to make a skill without an endorsement appear higher than skills with endorsements.

This is where you can take control over your endorsements: if you get endorsed for irrelevant skills, you can simply reject the endorsements by using the skip button.

You can also do a quick clean-up of your profile from time to time. In the Edit Profile view, go to the Skills & Endorsements section. Here, you can simply remove any skills that are not relevant to you by clicking the “X” next to its name. You can also add new skills you’re relevant for.

How to Manage Your Endorsements

If you keep getting endorsed for irrelevant skills, you can stop them from happening in the first place. In Edit Profile ->Skills & Expertise, click Edit ->Manage Endorsements.

Click on the specific skill you want to manage. You now have the option to show or hide either an individual endorsements or all of them. Unchecking any box in the Show/Hide list will reduce the number of endorsements counted for that skill by what you have unchecked.

Getting Endorsements

One of the best ways to get endorsements on LinkedIn is to endorse others, particularly contacts who have had exposure to your skills. If you want to endorse anyone on LinkedIn, simply click a box and that’s it. There’s nothing to think about.

When you endorse someone, you may also send a simple message, asking them to reciprocate:

Hi Dave, you might have noticed that I recently included endorsements to your profile. I am building up that component of my profile and would appreciate any endorsements which you might feel comfortable adding given our past working relationship.

When you endorse others, there’s every likelihood that they will reciprocate by endorsing you for the skills that are listed in your profile.

Proactively Asking for Endorsements

If you are not getting enough endorsements for skills you know you have, the quickest way to get endorsements is to simply ask for them. Send a short note to people in your network and ask them to endorse you.

For example, let’s say you are a content writer and have syndicated content on quality blogs across the web. If you want to get more endorsements, you can approach people in your network and ask for endorsements. Send them a short email briefly introducing yourself and what you do. Invite them to visit sites that have published your articles and to endorse you if they like what they see. Be sure to make it easy for them by sending a link to your profile and listing the skills you want to be endorsed for.

Whenever you choose to accept an endorsement from an individual, LinkedIn gives you the option to endorse up to four more people. If anyone endorses you, reciprocate by endorsing them as well. However, find out what skills they want to be endorsed for. What you’ll find is that most people will be only too glad to help.