Recently LinkedIn rolled out a new feature called endorsements. You might have already noticed a big blue box that appears at the top of your connections’ profiles with a suggested list of qualities asking whether the person has these skills. You may then choose to endorse them for some of all of those particular skills in just a click or two, or type in other skills not already on the list, or skip it altogether. Your picture will appear on their profile next to the skill(s) you endorse, and vise versa for those who endorse you.
LinkedIn spokesperson says they created this type of recommendation “lite” for three reasons: 1) To give members an additional tool to increase branding and networking with peers 2) For people wanting to write recommendations for their contacts, but are lacking the time or inspiration to do so 3) As a conversation starter
In other words, LinkedIn endorsements are like Stove Top stuffing for your Thanksgiving dinner – quick, easy and effective, but with less time, effort and meatiness than Grandma’s homemade stuffing.
It’s all about what the occasion calls for. And sometimes there just isn’t time for “the works.”
With about 200 million endorsements during the first month, LinkedIn may be onto something. Some argue nothing will replace a personalized recommendation, but with about 10 million endorsements a day, this new feature has certainly caught on fast.
Providing endorsements is ideal if you genuinely want to give props, but are too lazy or pressed for time to write a full recommendation. An endorsement is much less involved and only takes a few seconds.
Being endorsed adds value to your profile by strengthening your credibility. Next to your list of skills are the faces of respectable (hopefully) people in your network who concur that you possess those skills. The more people endorse you for the same skill, the stronger your case will be for actually possessing that skill. You might also be endorsed for new skills, ones you never realized you had.
Many of my clients have expressed concern about being endorsed for a skill they do not have. It is important to note that when someone endorses you for a skill that does not appear on your profile, you will receive a notification to approve it. If you aren’t comfortable with any endorsement, simply hide it. Any endorsement you receive that you feel is not true or associates you with someone you prefer not to be associated with is also easy to hide. In other words, stop freaking out about endorsements – they will not ruin a fabulous LinkedIn profile.
In terms of search, no one really knows how this affects it yet because the feature is still too new. Skills are not currently searchable items on LinkedIn, but this may change. I can’t imagine endorsements hurting search. On the contrary, it is likely that the number of endorsements could one day influence search rankings.
So when it comes to recommendations on LinkedIn, do you prefer the “stove top” or the classic version? By the way, Happy Thanksgiving!