Last September, LinkedIn rolled out Endorsements, a convenient way to endorse your connections’ skills with just one click. As we typically see when new features are released, the feedback hasn’t been the greatest:
“LinkedIn is trying to be more like Facebook, and this is their ‘like.’
“They’re watered-down recommendations.”
“They don’t serve any useful purpose.”
If you haven’t been kept up to date, here’s the 411 on LinkedIn Endorsements. Endorsements let your LinkedIn connections vote up your skills and areas of expertise. Your skills are then ranked and re-ranked based on how many people have endorsed them, with their profile pictures appearing next to each skill. Your connections can also add new skills to your profile that they’d like to endorse.
According to LinkedIn’s Help Center:
Skill endorsements are a great way to recognize your first-degree connections’ skills and expertise with one click. They also let your connections validate the strengths found on your own profile. Skill endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network.
When you’re a first-degree connection of somebody and go to their LinkedIn profile page, you are presented with a list of five skills from that person’s profile and asked if they have these certain skills. You then have the ability to endorse any or all of these skills in the box. Since Endorsements involve just a single mouse-click, I can quickly endorse 50 people in just 5 minutes, without even breaking a sweat. And guess what…the person I just endorsed will receive an email that I’ve endorsed them. Maybe now they might return the favor. Why not? It’s so easy!
I’ll admit that endorsing others is an easy way to recognize colleagues for the skills I’ve seen them demonstrate. It helps contribute to the strength of their profile, and increases the probability they’ll be discovered for opportunities related to their skills. It also helps keep strong connections with the people in my network. I’ve found that after I’ve endorsed a former colleague, it’s been much easier for me to reach out to them because I’ve recently been in touch.
With that being said, I still believe that LinkedIn endorsements don’t provide as much value as they could. I find Endorsements to be more of a “recommendation lite” than anything else. If you want to recommend somebody for their work and/or skills, you should take the time to write one. Sure, it’s not one-click, but your recommendation will be more powerful, meaningful and beneficial to your connection.
At first, I was an active participant in endorsing my connections for skills that I thought they had. I didn’t spend a lot of time actually putting thought into the endorsements I was making. If they said they were good at a certain skill, obviously they were good at it, right? Moving forward, I am not going to endorse any skill that I haven’t had the opportunity to actually see someone demonstrate firsthand. I should have been doing this all along, but like others, I just got lazy. I’m not sure everyone will use the same level of care that I do, but I hope that users will actually spend a little time before they just click their mouse to automatically endorse a connection.
If you’re one of those LinkedIn users who are looking to turn off Endorsements, Kristin Burnham at CIO has a great article which provides step-by-step instructions. Check it out!
Have you found the LinkedIn Endorsements to be helpful or do you think they are of little value? Any and all comments are welcome.