Thanks to LinkedIn's roll-out of the new Endorsements feature, I've had a busy week...lots of questions, some with answers and some with only my speculation. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions: 

Q:  What are LinkedIn endorsements?

A:  Here's what they're saying on the 
LinkedIn blog:


"On LinkedIn, you have many smart, talented, and skilled professional connections. Starting today, facebook like button we are introducing Endorsements, a new feature that makes it easier to recognize them for their skills and expertise. With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they've listed on their profile or recommend one they haven't added yet."


Basically, it's the equivalent of a "like" on Facebook--not an endorsement of you as a person but just one individual skill you have. 


Q:  What is the difference between a LinkedIn endorsement and a LinkedIn recommendation?


A:  With an endorsement you acknowledge someone's specific skill (with just one click), and a recommendation is a written testimonial about a specific job or educational entry on a person's LinkedIn profile.


Q:  Which are more important, LinkedIn endorsements or LinkedIn recommendations?


A:  This is the million-dollar question. Ultimately LinkedIn will reveal more about the benefits and uses of endorsements, and then you will be able to develop an endorsement strategy. But, rest assured, these changes will result in more $$$ for LinkedIn. I sure hope it also results in an improved platform for those of us who don't pay the big bucks to be on LinkedIn. 


Let me ask you this question: If you were searching for a service provider, would you give more credence to a well-written, results-oriented recommendation or an endorsement that resulted from one quick click? C'mon, LinkedIn. Is this really helpful? Sorry for that short rant. 


Q:  Will my current LinkedIn recommendations go away and should I really try to get more recommendations?


A:  I am uncertain about the future of recommendations. I have always considered them to be one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and I still believe that. I suggest you continue to get and give recommendations. They are important social proof of who you are in the marketplace. 


Action Step:  Be sure to print or save your profile from time to time so you have a backup record of them just in case LinkedIn decides to eliminate them. You just never know. 


Q:  Should I ask for a LinkedIn recommendation or a LinkedIn endorsement?


A:  My answer is both. Since the number of endorsements you receive will probably be used for search ranking, you would be foolish to ignore them, and you already know how much I value recommendations. To learn more about the important but little-known benefits of recommendations, see my blog post LinkedIn Recommendations: The Secrets Revealed.  


Q:  What is your speculation about why LinkedIn seems to be moving from recommendations to endorsements?


A:  There is definitely a move away from recommendations. Do you remember when your total number of recommendations was in the top box on your profile and you used to need three recommendations to have a 100% complete profile?


It is obviously easier to endorse someone with one simple click than it is to take the time to write a detailed recommendation, and thus more people are likely to endorse than recommend. And since in our society more is usually viewed as better, the person with the most endorsements will probably be viewed more favorably.


I believe this new feature has a lot to do with the LinkedIn recruiter upgrade. A recruiter can now not only search for and find Java programmers in the Milwaukee area, but LinkedIn may rank them by number of endorsements. Any guesses about which candidates will win this game? 


What should your endorsements strategy be?


First, make sure you have listed your most important skills in your Skills section. Then start seeking those endorsements!


Oh, by the way, if you feel my LinkedIn information has helped you, I would be honored to get an endorsement or two from you. 


To learn more about improving your Skills section, check out this free resource:


LinkedIn Skills: Improve Your Search Ranking