Note: If you have given me a LinkedIn Endorsement, I sincerely appreciate your intention. This article is in no way an indictment of your actions.
Since its introduction in 2012, LinkedIn Endorsements has been seen as useful by some, meaningless to others, even controversial to a few. With one click, this feature allows any of your connections to highlight your skills and expertise, all of which show up on your profile. What’s troublesome is that the skills and expertise for which you are endorsed are suggested by LinkedIn, meaning the person who endorsed you didn’t necessarily do so based on firsthand knowledge.
Whether you think Endorsements are good or bad, the debate started early on, and continues to this day. Two concerns that stand out:
1) Being endorsed for skills/expertise you don’t have and thus cannot perform for anyone. What happens when you’re contacted by someone simply because they believe you can serve them in this capacity – awkward!
2) The ease with which someone can give an endorsement. LinkedIn Endorsements are akin to Facebook Likes, people often give them because they only require a click to do, and some days that’s all time will allow. However, as with Likes, Endorsements are not a testament of the professionalism or quality of you or your skills.
It’s true that the feeling behind an Endorsement is genuine, people make them with the best of intentions and are sincerely trying to be helpful. After all, an Endorsement is a compliment, which can only enhance your reputation, right? Yes, in the sense that it’s impressive to see all those little head shots lined up on your profile like merit badges on your scout uniform. Realistically, no, because Endorsements are not LinkedIn Recommendations – a feature that is far more powerful.
Endorsements are more like recognition than testimonial, not that recognition isn’t nice! But, all things considered, which would you rather have: 100 skill endorsements or 10 thoughtfully worded and detailed Recommendations from people you actually served?
Recommendations carry more weight because they require more thought, are earnest and often reflect the emotions of the person writing it. When someone is considering hiring you or using your services, Endorsements are intended as statements of your skills/expertise (or not; perhaps, just a shout out from someone who has met you!), whereas Recommendations are testaments as to why you should be hired or utilized.
Bottom line: Minimize Endorsements, and build your list of Recommendations:
1) Go through your list of Endorsements, and hide (you cannot delete) the ones from people you haven’t served or don’t apply to you. Here’s how.
2) Write a list of your best customers or best bosses, then contact them and ask for a Recommendation. If they feel the same way about you, they won’t mind spending a few minutes to write one for you. If they ask you to write a Recommendation for yourself from them, don’t. Not only is doing so unethical, your credibility would be irreparably damaged if someone were to find out.
3) Endorsements should be placed just above Recommendations on your profile – strangely, LinkedIn will not allow them to be placed below – but at least having both together will bring attention to your Recommendations.
4) Take the best Recommendations and move them to the most recent experience in your profile. Instructions here.
LinkedIn Endorsements may have seemed like a good idea at first, but their ease of provision have made them so ubiquitous as to become overrated.
Considering there are well over two billion Endorsements posted on LinkedIn, it appears certain that the Endorsements feature is here to stay. But for your manage Endorsements at the very least – or maybe euthanize them altogether., you should