Happy “half birthday” to LinkedIn Endorsements!
Some people are getting out the cake
birthday cake

and candles to celebrate six months of LinkedIn Endorsements, but others are cursing the day LinkedIn released that annoying feature and hoping it will soon go away.
Personally, my feelings have been mixed. However, LinkedIn seems very invested in this feature, and so it probably won’t go away anytime soon.
So, here are ten facts and tips to help you maximize your use of LinkedIn Endorsements. 

1.  You can only receive endorsements from 1st level connections and for skills you have acknowledged you possess.
  If you receive a message from LinkedIn saying John Jones wants to endorse you for basket weaving, don’t say yes if you aren’t a good basket weaver or don’t want basket weaving listed in your Skills section.

2.  You can manage them to a certain extent.  When you are in Edit Profile mode, click the pencil icon (to the right of the words Skills & Expertise). You can then:
  • Add or delete a skill
  • Hide a specific endorsement
  • Choose whether or not you will display your endorsements on your profile
  • Choose where the Endorsement section will be positioned on your profile.
3.  You can’t reorder them.  They show up in order of most endorsed to least endorsed.

4.  You can be endorsed for up to 50 skills.  To me these look like keywords, and LinkedIn and other search engines love keywords; so I would use all 50 slots if I were you.

5.  You don’t have to endorse everyone who endorses you.  If you want to endorse them, go ahead, but don’t feel obligated to do so.

6.  If endorsements aren’t already part of the LinkedIn search algorithm, they will be.  Trust me on this one. LinkedIn doesn’t invest this much time and effort on something that isn’t going to help their stock price. They are making a lot of money on their Recruiting Solutions, and they obviously think this feature helps them deliver the “best” candidate for a certain skill (“best” meaning most endorsed).

7.  List skills that are consistent with your current or future business strategy.  Because your skills that receive the most endorsements will be at the top of the list (and most people will probably only look at the first few skills), you want them to be your most important skills. If you list extraneous skills, you may get a lot of endorsements for them, and then no one will even notice your most important skills that are now further down on the list. 

8.  You might get someone’s attention if you endorse them.  Your face and name will appear on their profile, and they also get an email from LinkedIn telling them you just endorsed them. 

9.  Endorsements may be the differentiator. If two profiles look similar in all respects but one has 120 endorsements for the skill you’re looking for and the other has only 20, you may be inclined to choose the person with 120. 

10.  Endorsements are great, but 
LinkedIn Recommendations are still important.  I recommend you get at least two or three recommendations for every job entry on your profile. This is especially important if you’re a job seeker. Great recommendations will increase your credibility. The more the better. 

For more help with LinkedIn’s newest features, download my free white paper Don’t Whine About LinkedIn’s Changes–Capitalize on Them from the Free Resources page of my website.