Even though it’s been over three years since LinkedIn launched the Skills feature – and allowed endorsements of those skills – it’s one of the most confusing and misunderstood LinkedIn profile sections.
To help end that confusion, here are seven facts and tips to help you maximize your use of the LinkedIn Endorsements section on your profile.
1. Only Receive Endorsements for Skills You Possess
If you receive a message from LinkedIn saying, “John Jones wants to endorse you for basket weaving,” don’t say yes if you aren’t a good basket weaver or don’t want basket weaving listed in your Skills section. Keep it relevant, or you’ll lose the trust of those you are trying hardest to impress: those viewing you profile.
2. Manage Your Skills Section
When you are in Edit Profile mode, you can scroll down to your Skills & Endorsements section. Here, you can delete or add a skill. You can reorder your skills as you prefer them to be shown (hint: put the skills most important to your career near the top). You can also reposition the entire section so it appears closer to the top of your profile or nearer the bottom. Finally, you can choose whether or not you want display your endorsements on your profile.
3. Use Up to 50 Skills Sets
These are essentially keywords, and LinkedIn and other search engines love keywords; so I would use all 50 slots if I were you. At the same time, monitor them closely as you don’t want to lose credibility by naming skills you don’t possess.
4. List Skills Consistent with Your Current Business Strategy
Because your skills that receive the most endorsements will be at the top of the list– and most people will probably only look at the first few skills – you want them to be your most important skills. If you list extraneous skills, you may get a lot of endorsements for them, and then no one will even notice your most important skills that are now further down on the list.
4. Endorsements Are Part of the LinkedIn Search Algorithm
LinkedIn doesn’t publicize its algorithm, but my guess is that skills are an important part of it, because LinkedIn doesn’t invest this much time and effort into something that isn’t going to help their stock price. They are making a lot of money on their Recruiting Solutions, and they obviously think this feature helps them deliver the “best” candidate for a certain skill (“best” meaning most endorsed).
5. You Might Get Someone’s Attention if You Endorse Them
Your face and name will appear on their profile, and they also get an email from LinkedIn telling them you just endorsed them. Be careful, however, as recruiters and other professionals are already aware that endorsements can be insincere and superficial. So only endorse someone if you are familiar enough with their work to mean it.
6. Endorsements May Be the Differentiator
Look at it from the recruiter’s point of view: If two profiles look similar in all respects but one has 120 endorsements for the skill you’re looking for and the other has only 20, you may be inclined to choose the person with 120. This is called social proof, and to recruiters it is a powerful draw.
7. LinkedIn Recommendations Are Still Important
Endorsements do not replace recommendations. Period.
I recommend you get at least two or three recommendations for every job entry on your profile. This is especially important if you’re a job seeker. Great recommendations will increase your credibility – and the more the better.
If you’d like more information about the topic of LinkedIn Endorsements, check out LinkedIn’s complete discussion in the Help Center by clicking here.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula!
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker and author who has shared his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with Wayne on Twitter.