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.
LinkedIn is jealous of Facebook. There, I said it. If they weren’t, they would never have created LinkedIn Endorsements. Click LIKE if you agree.
Since its introduction last fall, LinkedIn Endorsements has been nothing if not controversial. This feature makes it convenient for any of your connections to recommend you for skills and expertise not only that you have selected in your profile, but that are suggested by LinkedIn – even if the person who endorsed you has never worked with you or knows how strongly your skill/expertise is – or if you possess it at all. And all they need to do is click a button.
Is this good or bad? The debate rages on, and most likely will continue. Two things to be concerned about:
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 – which would you rather have: 100 skill endorsements or 10 thoughtfully worded and detailed Recommendations from people you actually served?
Recommendations carry more weight; 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 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 the 15 minutes (at most) to write one for you. If they ask you to write a Recommendation and post it from them, don’t. If you do this once for a client, you will most likely do it again. Soon several of your Recommendations will start to sound the same, and sophisticated readers will know you wrote them – and there goes your credibility.
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 insignificant, and even worse, detrimental.
No one knows whether LinkedIn will continue with the Endorsements feature or eliminate it, obviously there are opinions on both sides. Typically, controversey only serves to build longevity. For your LinkedIn profile, it’s better to minimize Endorsements – or maybe euthanize them altogether.