Tuesday, February 5, 2013

LinkedIn Endorsements – Decide how to use them

by Mark Lewis 

There has been a lot of talk about the new LinkedIn Endorsements.  Most of the discussions have included some healthy skepticism about the new feature that started to appear in Beta around September of 2012.  Certainly there is room for the skepticism; I have heard of plenty of examples of people getting endorsements from connections that have no idea about their expertise in that particular skill.  In addition, there is an presumption of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  Personally I think that is a self-imposed perception; people generally want to be helpful so they feel compelled to endorse their endorser, if you do that - do it right.

Endorsements are the social media version of recommendations.  We have all trained ourselves to have short attention spans in the way we read and the way we interact with each other.  LinkedIn has just made it easy to support people for the work that they have done.  And let’s face it, endorsements drive a lot of traffic back to LinkedIn and that is good for…LinkedIn.

We all have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of endorsements.  You can choose not to show an endorsement from someone that you don’t feel really knows you possess those skills.  Don’t let your endorsements section get bloated with these endorsements.  You can in turn only endorse people for skills that you can legitimately say they have.  Look at it this way, if a hiring manager were to call you for a reference based on the skills you endorsed for someone, could you give them examples of how that person demonstrated those skills?
I have a statement in the summary of my profile that addresses endorsements.  It is as follows:

I appreciate the genuine endorsements I have received from my close connections who know and value my work. In turn I endorse others whose work I can personally recommend. I view endorsements as a quicker and easier way to recommend someone but I treat them with the same integrity as a recommendation

You can see how I incorporated it into my profile on my LinkedIn page here:  linkedin.com/in/markelewis/

Of course a full recommendation of someone is always better and you should eagerly write those recommendations when asked.

Endorsements are not going away so you should decide now how you want to treat them.  I recommend taking the high road and maintaining the value of this feature for everyone.


Mark Lewis is a marketing executive with hands-on experience across the marketing mix.  He can be found at linkedin.com/in/markelewis/ and he is always interested in connecting with new people.

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