Recently I have been asked my thoughts by a few clients about the endorsement feature on LinkedIn. Are they useful? Do people viewing your profile think they are genuine? Do people expect me to return the favor and endorse them?
While I have been the recipient of endorsements from people I know well and do business with regularly and am happy to return the favour or even initiate an endorsement without any expectation of reciprocation. I also have received them from people I have not spoken to in some time and those I have never done business with. Some people have even been endorsed on skills they do not have.
Since its launch on Sept. 24, 2012, more than 200 million endorsements have been issued with users making roughly 10 million endorsements a day. The goal of endorsements is to make it easy for people - your first-degree connections only - to recognize your skills and expertise without taking the time to compose a recommendation.
It is not possible to delete an endorsement but you can hide it from your public profile. Go to the pull-down menu at the top of the screen and under “profile,” click “edit profile.” When you scroll to the “skills and expertise” section, you will see a pencil icon. Click that and you will see an option to “manage endorsements.” From here you can choose which endorsements you would like to have hidden.
Take the time to list your own skills in order to make it easier for others to endorse you on the skills you would like featured. Back in February 2011, LinkedIn introduced the “skills and experience” feature although many still have not filled this part of their profile out. Pick at least 10 skills as endorsements will only appear on your profile for your top 10 skills. Under “More” at the top of your profile page, pull down the menu to “skills and experience” and type a skill into the box. You will then be presented with further suggestions, so pick the ones that suit you best.
You do not have to reciprocate, but it can be a good idea. While you do not need to respond to the distant connection you have not spoken to in 10 years, if you get an endorsement from a client or close colleague, it makes sense to reciprocate. The best way to do this is to go to your connection’s profile page and from the blue box appears at the top of their profile you can check any of the skills listed or add your own.
Do not be afraid to seek endorsements from people who know your work well. If you’re working on a project with someone or you have an ongoing relationship with a colleague or boss, ask them to endorse your work.
Don’t ignore endorsements. If the initial numbers are any indicator, the endorsement feature will only become more popular. Whether you are self-employed or looking for a job, those looking to hire you may not care about endorsements at this early stage, but it is easy to imagine a time when they will. If you’re applying for a job, for example, and your competitors all have 50-100 endorsements from clients and colleagues, while you have zero, that could hurt your chances. Though it may be tempting to ignore this feature, it is better to take advantage of it now rather than possibly find yourself left behind in the future.