Q: What are some best practices around LinkedIn endorsements? Are there ways to hide endorsements if you don’t think they’re meaningful?
A: I recently asked my network if there was anything they wanted to learn about LinkedIn. One question that stood out involved LinkedIn endorsements. So in all honesty, I have to start out by saying I hate them.
Okay, hate is a strong word. Let’s just say I am not much of a fan.
Before I go further, I should probably explain a little bit about what LinkedIn endorsements are. Basically, LinkedIn endorsements are skill referrals from your network. What could I possibly have to say against that?
Well, LinkedIn already had a referral system in place called recommendations. Recommendations are exactly what you would expect: they are written recommendations from a coworker. Similar to a letter of recommendation one would get when leaving a position, LinkedIn recommendations allow you to ask for and receive recommendations. The recommendations are then associated with your profile. Anyone looking at your profile can see the recommendation, who it’s from, what job it’s associated with, and what the person said about you.
Recommendations are a great way to offer written testimonials about accomplishments—and unlike a traditional letter of recommendation, it’s easy to see who actually wrote the letter. LinkedIn recommendations have really brought tradition into the social age. The only problem? They take work on the part of the writer, which means they’re easy to procrastinate doing and sometimes outright impossible to get.
Enter the endorsement. To solve the problem of people not writing recommendations, because of the time and effort, LinkedIn introduced endorsements. When you’ve logged in to LinkedIn you probably have seen a blue box pop up asking you to endorse the skills of your contacts. One click of a button and you’ve endorsed the skill set of four different people. Super easy, right? Right.
Since LinkedIn makes it so easy to endorse skills, it’s easy to endorse someone’s skills that you have no knowledge of. You may have received endorsements from someone who has no idea about your skills. So then what do you? Two options.
Option one is as easy as the endorsement process itself: don’t worry about it. Someone endorsed your skills; don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Option two is a little more complex, and is the method I prefer to use. While you are editing your LinkedIn profile, you can choose to edit your skills. Once that window has opened, select manage endorsements. This allows you to hide individual endorsements—or even hide all of them.
So back to the original question: “What’s the deal with LinkedIn endorsements?”
While some people try to game the system—because someone always does—almost every one of your endorsements was offered with good intent. Be gracious when you receive them and be willing to offer endorsements to people whose skills you can honestly endorse. While I may not be a fan of endorsements, the truth is they can help a profile look more engaging. Since LinkedIn displays skills with the faces of the people who have endorsed them, they show that you are active and engaged with your network. There also are a few other things you can do with LinkedIn endorsements to help your profile…but that’s the subject of a future post.
Learn more about how to use LinkedIn at Marcos Lopez-Carlson’s classes on September 28 at Hayden Heights Library and on October 12 at Chanhassen Library. This, and all our other upcoming media skills classes, are featured on our classes page. Have a question for our geeks? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave your question as a comment below.