LinkedIn Endorsements: Getting the Most from You Skills Section

linkedin endorsementsNo doubt: LinkedIn Endorsements have been rather confusing from its inception. But they have been improving it over the years… and they are worth a fresh look.

With the latest feature changes, you now have complete control over the endorsements section, which could have a significant impact on your career.

LinkedIn has made at least four revisions to Skills and Endorsements over the seven years of its existence. So we can assume this section is fairly important in the overall scheme of how LinkedIn works. Most important, it seems to be important to the way the critical search ranking algorithm works. I can’t prove it, but I don’t think LinkedIn would spend this much time and effort unless it really matters.

To help you make the most of your LinkedIn endorsements section, I will give you some overall strategies for capitalizing on it in addition to discussing the exciting new features. Implementing these strategies will help the viewers of your profile better understand how you can help them. The result? Great new relationships that should lead to improved business and career success.

Receiving LinkedIn Endorsements

You can only receive endorsements from 1st level connections and for skills you have acknowledged you possess. If you receive a pending endorsement notification 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 as a skill in your Skills & Endorsements section.

Managing Your LinkedIn Endorsements

Scroll down to the Skills & Endorsements section of your profile, and then you can:

Add | If your job duties include sales, add keywords that relate to the products and services you sell. After you click Add a new skill, type a skill in the box. LinkedIn will then suggest other skills based on the words you put in the box. If those skills are part of your skill set, be sure to add them to your list of skills.

Delete | Click the pencil icon in the top right corner. Then click the new trash can icon to the right of the skill you want to delete, and it’s gone—along with any endorsements of that skill, of course.

Pin and reorder | Because you can now put your best skills at the top of these new lists, your connections will be more likely to endorse you for those skills—and soon they’ll be the most endorsed skills on your profile. This will help you get closer to the top of the search results when people search for those skills.

Choose | Want to be endorsed? Want LinkedIn to suggest endorsements to your connections? Want suggestions for endorsing your connections? Click the words Adjust endorsement settings on the bottom of the page to revise your settings. (I suggest choosing Yes for all three settings.)

Leveraging the Algorithm

I’m pretty sure endorsements and the skills they attach to are part of the LinkedIn search algorithm. LinkedIn doesn’t publicize its algorithm, but, as I mentioned previously, 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 top-line revenue. They are making a lot of money on their Recruiting Solutions product, and they obviously think this feature helps them deliver the “best” candidate for a certain skill (“best” meaning most endorsed).

What Skills Should You List for Endorsement

List skills that are important and consistent with your current or future business strategy. The skills you include, especially the ones you pin and move to the top of the other categories, should be important for you on a moving forward basis. And these may not be the same skills that have been historically important for you.

Also, don’t worry about putting new skills in the pinned section or near the top of a category. You may not have any endorsements for them yet, but you’ll get them over time.

Reciprocity

You might get someone’s attention if you endorse him/her. Your face and name may appear on the person’s profile. Better yet, LinkedIn will also send the person a message saying you just endorsed him or her.

Stand Out!

Endorsements may be the differentiator. Let’s say two profiles look similar in all respects but one has 120 endorsements for the skill you’re looking for. The other has only 20. You will probably be inclined to choose the person with 120, right?

Don’t Forget Recommendations

Endorsements are great, of course. But LinkedIn recommendations are still important. I recommend you get at least two recommendations. After all, LinkedIn now displays them very prominently and in full on your profile. This is especially important if you’re a job seeker. Great recommendations will increase your credibility—and the more the better.

You are now ready to impress readers of your profile with affirmation of your specific skills by LinkedIn members. This credibility is sure to lead to a greater visibility and perhaps a great new job!

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For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.

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Wayne Breitbarth AuthorAbout the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. An experienced businessman, speaker, and author, Wayne shares his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine and also the American Marketing Association, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with him on Twitter.

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