Endorsements – Do You Want Them?

When it comes to social and business there’s only one platform to be on. So here’s our weekly top tip on how to get the best from LinkedIn.

Sometimes it takes a while to learn the ins and outs of any one social platform. To understand what the best-known and most beneficial features actually are. So each week I’m going to help you through the mindfield with top tips every week about LinkedIn.

This week I’m wondering what all the hype about endorsements is all about.

It’s not been long since LinkedIn introduced Endorsements. If you haven’t been bombarded with them already and you really want to know you can find them under Skills & Expertise section of your profile. Put simply, it allows your connections to vote up the talents and proficiencies you’ve listed within your profile, as well as recommend new ones they think should be included. Your skills are then ranked and re-ranked based on the number of people who have voted on them.

So here’s what it allows you to do:

  • Add some skills in order of importance.
  • Endorse and be endorsed
  • Get more endorsements
  • Hide endorsements

And as each endorsement is added, the figure on the left increases, giving anyone looking at your profile an apparently very clear picture of your skills.

Only it’s not really very truthful is it. While endorsements have become a popular point of focus on profiles, they aren’t as useful as people think. In fact they are quite irritating as social tools go. And here’s why.

Because endorsements presume that they come from close colleagues and professional peers who are happy to recommend your business or services. Only in reality people are happy to accept LinkedIn invitations to connect with people they don’t even know that well. Which makes a bit of a farce of the whole thing if we’re being truthful.

This suspicion was corroborated when I recently found a Tumblr blog called  Endorsement Bombing that shows how users voting up skills such as “roundhouse kicks” and “comedic timing” abuse endorsements on profiles.

Once you’ve received an endorsement from someone you hardly know or can’t remember you get an email. Annoying! So I’d suggest you just opt out of these to start with at the very least. Simply navigate to your Privacy and Settings page, click the Communications side tab and click Set The Frequency Of Emails.

It won’t be long before they become part of a search algorithm. It’s a lot of time and effort for nothing otherwise.

On the positive side Endorsements can only be made from first level connections and are really easy to edit, whether removing skills and expertise or endorsements themselves. Which could be useful if you want to limit endorsements to those you know and trust.

If you are going to use them then use it wisely:

  • Manage your skills.
  • Reorder your skills.
  • Don’t endorse everyone you know.
  • Try to get two recommendations on your profile to increase credibility.

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