We are often asked about LinkedIn endorsements – what are they, and do they work? Here are a few points to consider.

LinkedIn endorsements are a one-click way to support your connections – And, of course, for them to support you. It is only available for first degree connections. You can either endorse an existing skill on someone’s profile or add a new one, by going into someone’s profile and scrolling down until you get to the ‘Skills and Experience’ section. To endorse an existing skill, just click on the plus sign next to it. It’s that easy.

You can also make multiple endorsements for a single connection – If you click on the drop-down arrow in the top section of a connection’s profile, next to ‘Send a message, you will see options including ‘Endorse’. Click on that, and a box will appear with suggested skills. You can either choose those or add others to the list.

Endorsements might form part of LinkedIn’s search algorithm, which would be particularly good for freelancer, but there is no evidence that this is the case  There is always the possibility that endorsements might be used as part of LinkedIn’s own search algorithm. After all, if a recruiter was looking for a candidate for a job, would they prefer to see someone with 100 endorsements for a key skill, or only five? Exactly. Freelancers tend to use LinkedIn more than many other people because they change jobs more often. It is a useful way to find and to be found. Good keywording includes adding key skills to the ‘Skills’ section of your profile, which is, of course, what your connections endorse, and endorsements move skills up the list. The introduction of Profinder to LinkedIn may make this even more important. However, LinkedIn does not disclose details of how its search algorithm works, so it’s quite hard to say definitively. Susan Adams maintains that that recommendations count while endorsements do not based on discussion with recruiters. They were interested in recommendations, because these took a bit of time and effort, and therefore reflected a genuine wish to promote someone else’s work and skills. Endorsements take no effort, and most people are fairly undiscriminating about who they endorse for what.

Endorsements can be a bit random – You have no control over who endorses you, or for what. LinkedIn will make suggestions as to which skills to endorse, but of course, the site does not know what you have seen of your connection’s work. These suggestions can therefore be a bit random, but many people seem to find it easier just to click than to take the time to think about what they have actually seen. This, of course, makes endorsements less valuable as a currency.

Bit it is possible to edit endorsements… – You may have been endorsed by someone who has not seen your work, such as a family member or friend, or for a skill you do not have, or which is no longer relevant to your career. If so, you can remove that skill, or hide the endorsements from that person for that skill. You can also reorder your skills to emphasise those which are more important (which will also mean that your connections are more likely to be invited to endorse more relevant skills).

…which is good, because of ‘Endorsement Bombing’ – Endorsement bombing is a way to ‘improve’ your friends’ profiles by adding new and exciting skills. Some of the real examples of this include ‘awesome hair’, ‘kidnap and ransom’, ‘carriage of goods by sea’, and ‘tennis elbow’. And of course, as soon as one of these ‘amusing’ skills appears, everyone endorses it, because it’s fun. To avoid getting caught out, make sure that you have enabled email notifications of endorsements.

So, if nobody’s looking, do you really have the time? – In summary, then, endorsements are quick and easy—for everyone. But because they’re so easy, they don’t really have much credibility or influence. It looks like recruiters are not interested in endorsements, and they don’t affect even LinkedIn’s own search results. Do you really have the time to worry about them?

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