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LinkedIn Endorsements: What Are They and Do They Matter?

If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, you probably noticed its endorsements feature. Actually, even if you haven’t been on LinkedIn, you may have noticed the change, through email notifications that someone has endorsed you for this or that skill. Since launching, hundreds of millions of endorsements have been given on the platform, according to data posted late last year on the LinkedIn Blog. So what are these endorsements all about? Do they mean anything? Do they matter? To help answer those questions, here is a look at the network’s new feature—what it is, how to use it, and if it matters at all.

What Are LinkedIn Endorsements?

Think of LinkedIn endorsements as Facebook likes, but for career skills. First-degree connections click a simple “endorse” next to one of your listed professional skills, and your profile displays tallies of the responses. Visitors who come to your profile see how many endorsements you have for each skill, adding some measure of validity to your profile. According to LinkedIn’s Help section, having lots of endorsements “adds credibility to your profile and shows that your professional network recognizes you have that skill.”

How Should You Use Endorsements?

As LinkedIn recommends, there are essentially two ways to use endorsements—getting them and giving them.

  • Getting Endorsements: As you may have already noticed, you don’t have to ask for endorsements to receive them. You may already have some, or you may wonder how to drum some up, but in either case, know that any of your first-degree connections may endorse you.
  • Giving Endorsements: Giving colleagues endorsements on LinkedIn is an easy, simple way to recognize them for work well done. It only takes a moment. Yet, by endorsing a person’s skills, you add credibility to his or her professional profile, and you create stronger connections in the process.

Endorsements Versus Recommendations

LinkedIn has long allowed public recommendations, which are written testimonials provided colleague-to-colleague on the network. Users may request recommendations within the LinkedIn platform, and reciprocal recommendations are not uncommon. A profile with several recommendations looks more credible and trustworthy than one without them.

Like recommendations, endorsements are designed to add credibility to LinkedIn profiles. What’s more, they encourage interaction and mutual support on the network. But endorsements are different from recommendations in that they can’t be automatically requested and they require no write-ups. A recommendation is a statement of support; an endorsement is a one-way click.

What Are the Benefits?

Like it or not, the endorsements feature isn’t going anywhere. So what are the benefits? What might you gain from using this social tool? Here’s a look.

  • Fast and Convenient Affirmation: LinkedIn endorsements make it easy to tell your team members and colleagues you appreciate them. Simply by taking a few seconds to click endorsements on their skills, you give them bits of support and encouragement.
  • Stronger Connections: As a type of interaction, endorsements are one more way to strengthen connections with colleagues.
  • Enhanced Profile Credibility: Endorsements enhance profiles and make users appear more credible.
  • Total Control: Only first-level connections are able to endorse your profile. But even more than that, LinkedIn gives you the ability to approve or deny endorsements. This gives you control over which endorsements show on your page.

Your Thoughts

Are you using LinkedIn endorsements yet? What are your thoughts? Is this tool worth trying or just a waste of time?

 

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.

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