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LinkedIn Endorsements: What You Need to Know

14 Apr 2013 8:51 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

LinkedIn Endorsements: What You Need to Know
By Vicki Voisin, ACP


If you have a LinkedIn account, you’ve probably received email messages with the news that someone, often a complete stranger, has endorsed your skills.

Sometimes the endorsements are in areas where you actually have minimum skills.

Since so many people are using this new tool, the question becomes, “Do endorsements offer value?” Hopefully the following 10 points will help you understand endorsements and then use them so they are helpful to both you and your connections:

1) First a word about LinkedIn recommendations. LinkedIn members have always been able to recommend their connections. These are written references supporting you and your work and are almost always written by or for someone you know and/or have worked with. Receiving a recommendation is special in that it takes time and effort for a person to write it and it represents the person’s opinion (usually positive) about you.

2) What is an endorsement? Endorsements represent skills and expertise that someone knows or thinks you have. They are a “one-click” way to give praise to a connection and are based on the skills you entered in your profile. LinkedIn allows anyone to endorse anyone for their skills.

3) How do endorsements happen? When LinkedIn connections view your profile, they are asked if they want to endorse you for any of the skills you've listed. If they choose to do this, they will be asked if they want to endorse skills from other contacts. Under your “Skills and Expertise” section, LinkedIn lists all your skills along with how many have endorsed you for each one and who did the endorsing.

4) Should you reciprocate? There is no official LinkedIn endorsement etiquette but this is a social network, so you may want to get into the spirit of reciprocity. If you know the person who endorsed you, take a look at their profile and endorse the skills you know they have. You will be giving a little bit back to that person. You certainly don't have to endorse the same number of skills, but you may endorse all the skills you know are accurate.

5) Why do you want endorsements? Since your connections are verifying your skills, people who review your profile will know you didn't just list skills to get noticed. The result is that your profile has more credibility. While it’s difficult to know if specific endorsements will influence potential employers or networking partners, it is safe to say that (a) endorsements can't hurt your profile and (b) the lack of endorsements may make people questioning both your skills and your social media savvy.

6) How to get the right endorsements. It's important that the endorsements you receive accurately match your skills and experience. You can almost guarantee by including a wide variety of critical skills and knowledge in your profile there are ample options for endorsements. Include as many skills areas as possible within your target career or job, particularly if you are transitioning to a new area of the law or another career field.

7) Do endorsements have value? The value of endorsements on LinkedIn has been questioned because this takes so little effort and often isn’t accurate. Since there seems to be a race to collect as many endorsements as possible, their overall value and professionalism may be diminished. Some bloggers have predicted that LinkedIn will drop endorsements by the end of 2013 with, perhaps, everyone realizing they are worth as much as the effort it took to award them: zero.

8) Turning off endorsement messages. If you don't want email notifications regarding the endorsements you receive, you can turn off the email messages by following these steps:

  • Click on Settings (under your name on the top right side of the page
  • Click on Email Preferences
  • Click on Set the frequency of emails 
  • Scroll down to Endorsements
  • Select No Email (you can also opt for a Daily Digest)

9. Turning off endorsements. You can't stop someone from endorsing you. However, you can stop them from showing on your profile by following these steps:

  • Click on Profile
  • Click on Edit Profile
  • Scroll down to Skills & Expertise
  • Click on the pencil icon

10. What if you don't want to be endorsed for some skills? People may endorse you for skills you really don’t have and you don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking you do. For example, I’ve been endorsed for Public Speaking and that's valid. I’ve also been endorsed for PACER and product liability. While I know a bit about both, I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I’m an expert in those areas.

Your Challenge: Be sure your LinkedIn profile accurately reflects your skills. Then decide if you want to play the endorsement game. This should be based on the value you believe they add to your profile. Take a look at the profiles of connections you know and endorse the skills you recognize they have. Do not endorse just to be endorsing. Endorsements certainly can’t hurt so long as they are accurate. They may even be helpful in expanding your network and employment possibilities.


© 2013 Vicki Voisin, Inc.  Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You may do so so long as you include the following attribution language:

Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

More information is available at where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

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