One of the newest features of LinkedIn is also one of the most interesting updates on that network that we’ve seen in a long time. The feature is the recent addition of Endorsements. At first, they can feel a little disingenuous for this network – a bit like a Facebook “Like” which is quick and easy to give. But digging a little deeper, we think you’ll find this new feature pretty meaningful. So let’s break it down a bit. (And if you’re new to LinkedIn, or not sure how to use it, you may want to first download our “LinkedIn Quickstart White Paper” – a FREE eBook with nearly 20 pages of tips and strategies for maximizing LinkedIn.)
What is a LinkedIn Endorsement? The Endorsement feature gives LinkedIn users an opportunity to “verify” that someone has certain skills. When you view someone’s profile, you’ll see an image like this one:
With one click, you can endorse someone for all of the skills featured in blue box. Typically, the selected skills will be a combination of the most frequently endorsed skills for that person and the ones they’ve recently added themselves. (Note – if you don’t see this auto-generated Endorsement option, you can scroll through their profile to the Skills section if you want to give them an endorsement!)
How is this different from Recommendations? The major difference between Endorsements and Recommendations is ease for the endorser and validation for the LinkedIn member. Recommendations are more detailed to give and usually carry more weight because someone has gone out on a limb to recommend you as an individual to their connections. The recommendation shows on their LinkedIn profile and on yours, so it’s a more valuable addition to your LinkedIn profile. However, several Endorsements for the skills you possess can validate all of your Recommendations and open the door for new ones, too.
The key reason is this. Recommendations are for you, professionally and personally, but Endorsements are for your skills and expertise. They complement each other, and are a nice addition we think, largely because it is much easier to have your LinkedIn contacts endorse the skills you have shown than to ask each of them for a Recommendation. Over time, your Endorsements will add up to a nice assessment of your strengths. That brings us to the next question.
Why do I need Endorsements at all if I have plenty of Recommendations? As you receive Endorsements, the most frequently endorsed skills will rise to the top of your profile. That will confirm the skills that others think you possess in light of how you see yourself. This matters because when you complete your LinkedIn Profile, you’re given the opportunity to add as many Skills and areas of Expertise as you wish to add. However, not everyone will endorse all of those skills. They will choose the ones that seem the most fitting for the ways in which they have interacted with you. This can help you identify strengths and build up any areas of perceived weakness.
But if I’ve listed it on my profile, don’t they automatically endorse that skill when they click the Endorse button? No, they don’t have to. By clicking on the “X” in any of the Skills boxes, the Endorser can remove that Skill, and by typing in a new Skill in the blank field, LinkedIn members can add Skills for you. You can remove any Endorsements you receive for Skills that you don’t want to emphasize, but it’s a fascinating assessment to watch if you are paying attention to how others would rate your strengths.
You should receive an email from LinkedIn when you receive Endorsements, but we’ve found that they don’t always catch everyone who gives you an endorsement. We recommend that you check your profile, and of course the LinkedIn news, on a daily basis. It’s always a good idea to thank others when they Endorse you – either by way of a message to them, an Endorsement for them, or something that lets them know you appreciate their “vote of confidence” in your Skills.
Click Here to See Our Updated Perspective (July 2013)