It’s hard to find anyone with a good word to say about Linkedin endorsements. I have been very critical of them myself. In this post I will summarise what the fuss is all about, share some related tips and then end by explaining what I like about the facility.
What is all the fuss about?
When anyone with whom you are connected looks at your profile they will be encouraged to endorse your skills in certain areas. You will also be encouraged to do this when you visit someone else’s profile. This only happens with level-one connections, so random strangers cannot endorse you nor vice-versa, (unless you have connected with a lot of random strangers).
The problem with endorsements is that it’s too easy to click and post them. It’s become a game and there is no facility to add any context or meaning – so endorsements have very little credibility. They are very different to ‘recommendations’ although many users confuse the two facilities.
Skills you don’t have
There seem to be two types of skills for which you can be endorsed. The first are those that you have chosen to add to your profile. The second are related skills that Linkedin thinks you might have based on the skills you have identified.
Don’t judge others
It’s important to remember that loads of people on Linkedin do not understand the facility. They see a question asking whether you “…have these skills or expertise?” and simply think that they are being helpful if they ‘agree’ that you do. They are unaware that some of the skills on the list were generated by Linkedin.
In my case for example, I used to have hundreds of endorsements for ‘tax’ (as when i was in practice I was a tax adviser). This resulted in Linkedin prompting people to endorse me for related skills such as income tax, CGT, VAT, IHT etc. I have been downplaying my tax expertise for some time – not least because i stopped being a tax adviser in 2006. So I don’t have skills in those areas any more – if I ever did. I haven’t asked anyone to endorse me for them. I doubt anyone thinks to do so unprompted by Linkedin. But still it was happening. This only stopped when i removed the suggestion I was skilled in ‘tax’ from my profile.
- Avoid accepting rogue endorsements for skills you do not possess.
- If your profile currently contains rogue endorsements, use the ‘edit profile’ facility to remove them. Leave only those real skills that you actually have so as to avoid confusing anyone who looks at your profile.
- I wouldn’t place any great store by a few endorsements on a Linkedin profile and I don’t think many other users would do so either. It’s a little different when you have many hundreds of them (as I do) but even I seem unable to ensure that my top endorsed skills are those I really want to highlight. Such as ‘public speaking’ for example.
- If you want to be endorsed for things you are good at do ensure you have listed them as skills on your profile. Linkedin will prompt you to expand on some of these so ‘tax’, for example, generates a sub-list of different taxes.
- Pick only those skills for which you have real expertise. The skills you show on your profile will help it to show up when users search for those qualities – although I tend to doubt how often anyone does that in isolation.
- When Linkedin prompts you to endorse someone, think carefully and choose only to do so by reference to those skills you genuinely believe they possess.
- If you want to help an old friend, colleague or service provider:
- scroll down their profile and click to endorse the sills and expertise that they have listed themselves and that you recognise as relevant and useful. Better yet –
- take a moment to add a genuine recommendation to their profile by following the link from the ‘send a message’ box on their profile.
So what DO I like about Linkedin endorsements?
Despite the widespread dislike and criticism they seem to be here to stay. So it’s a question of looking for the upsides. Here are mine:
- They provide an opportunity and a reason to get back in touch with people who endorse you – whether for skills you do have or for those you don’t!
- You may find that you are more skilled that you had realised. If lots of people endorse you for the same skill that is not on your profile, perhaps it should be. Perhaps. I have seen this suggested elsewhere by people who seem unaware that such skills may simply have been generated by Linkedin such that no one really thinks you have the skill in question. But it’s worth thinking about, just in case.
- They provide a reason to review your profile to ensure that it highlights your real skills and expertise – thus making it more informative for those people who don’t yet know you well.
If, despite everything I have said you would rather just remove all reference to endorsements from your profile, you can hide them from view. Use the ‘edit profile’ facility and scroll down to ‘Skills & Expertise’. Click on the pencil icon and then click on ‘Display your endorsements’ and select ‘No, don’t show my endorsements’.
Have I missed anything? What do YOU think about the endorsements facility on Linkedin?