Making The Best Of LinkedIn Endorsements

LinkedIn expert Viveka Von Rosen explains more about LinkedIn's endorsement process, and how to get the most out of it.

by Viveka von Rosen, known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and is author of “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day” (Wiley, 2012) and has been listed on two of Forbes Most influential People lists. She is the host of the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter: #LinkedInChat (Recently quoted by Mashable as one of the top 10 business chats) and co-moderator of LinkedStrategies, the largest LinkedIn strategy group on LinkedIn. For more information, visit Viveka’s website at www.linkedintobusiness.com or reach her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/linkedinexpert.


So do you wake up in the morning with an inbox full of emails from LinkedIn about people endorsing you? And then you delete it and go to your profile and there are more people endorsing you? And then you delete that and go to a member’s profile and there are those danged endorsements again?

LinkedIn Endorsements were a great idea – but the roll-out and execution has been abysmal! Nonetheless – they are like Brussel Sprouts or time at the gym, a necessary evil!

When LinkedIn brought in Skills to replace Specialties (in the summary section), I was a little skeptical. You can say you’re skilled in just about anything you want. Where’s the verification? Who’s to say if we are or are not? And that’s where Endorsements come in. When LinkedIn brought in Endorsements, the concept made sense to me. Anyone can say they are the best virtual office, have the best disaster relief program or are a start-up officing solution – but if no one is going to endorse those skills, are they really?

Unfortunately, rather than allowing people to organically find and endorse their connections on LinkedIn, LinkedIn pretty much shoved Endorsements down our throats!

Add to that the people who have connections that they don’t really know (like me and anyone else who realizes LinkedIn is only as useable as the size of your network). People who don’t know you endorsing you for skills you don’t have renders Endorsements virtually meaningless. Add to that the fact that LinkedIn has some wacky algorithm that chooses the skills to be endorsed for people that they might not have or be strong in, and you really get a disconnect.

First of all, make sure that you have the right skills listed in your profile so you can get the right endorsements for those skills. You can add and find new skills at http://LinkedIn.com/skills. Or just go to the skills section in edit mode and remove or add new skills – up to 50.

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Fortunately, it’s also easy enough to remove any skill you think is not relevant to your profile. In edit mode, scroll down in your profile to skills and simply click on the blue pen and delete.

If people are endorsing you for things you’re not great at, then thank them for the endorsement, and perhaps ask them if they’d be willing to endorse you for skills that you feel more confident in.

“Dear John, thank you so much for endorsing my basket weaving skills. I’m really feeling better about my service and hospitality skills, and would appreciate it if you could endorse those skills as well. And of course please let me know if you have any skills you would like me to endorse in return.”

LinkedIn has made it easy to send a quick message to the people who have endorsed you. So make it a practice every day to go into your Endorsements, scroll over the pictures of the people who’ve endorsed you, and send them a quick thank you.

And you can always endorse other people with the hopes that they’ll endorse you too. But don’t make it a “tit for tat” game. The whole new rash of “open endorsers” (people who will endorse you if you endorse them) is doing nothing to help the Endorsements feature. Endorsements are already weighted towards the side of non-legitimacy.

I don’t recommend being the person who doesn’t accept endorsements because you think they’re stupid. I think they’re stupid too. I also know they’re necessary.

It is what it is. And like Klout, you kind of have to play the Endorsements game. If someone goes to your profile and you have no skills listed and no Endorsements for those skills, there might be an assumption that you’re not very good at what you do. So knowing that we have to play the endorsements game – how do we make the best of it?

We can only hope that LinkedIn begins to figure out that the way endorsements are being fed to its membership is not a relevant reflection of its memberships’ skillsets. But until then, just hit accept and keep on moving!

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