LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature is like the extra parts left over after you assemble Ikea furniture. Sure, it’s a part of your profile, but do you give it much thought once everything has been put together?
The “Skills & Endorsements” section is supposed to be a way to validate your personal brand.
But its credibility is questionable since people can easily endorse connections for skills they have no way of validating.
The best way to validate your brand is to add “Recommendations” from people who can attest to your skills and unique value like clients, professional colleagues, and past managers. (You can skip asking your mother or spouse, even though we know you’re number one in their eyes.)
That being said, does this mean endorsements are a complete waste a time?
In fact, a Forbes article states, “Recommendations, skills and endorsements are a way of demonstrating social proof on LinkedIn for you and your abilities.”
Also, strategic endorsements can optimize your profile with targeted keywords that can increase views.
So, yes, they can help validate your personal brand. Here are some ways to make sure your endorsements serve a purpose.
1. Identify your top skills
You’ll notice three skills are initially featured in the “Skills & Endorsements” section; these should reflect your top skills. The remaining skills are viewable once you click the “Show more” downward arrow.
For the additional skills within a category (e.g., Industry Knowledge, Interpersonal Skills, Other Skills), resist the opportunity to list every skill you’ve acquired since the ‘90s.
Instead, highlight the skills aligned with your personal brand and essential to your current industry.
If a skill adds no value or is repetitive, remove it.
2. Reorder your skills
Once you’ve identified your top skills, list them in the order of importance. You want to make sure you capture the most essential skills among the top three since people have short attention spans.
It’s also important to assess your skills periodically and make sure they still reflect your career focus. If you find that your relevant skills have shifted in importance, adjust the order accordingly.
Sure, it sucks if you have a lower number of endorsements in those areas, but the only way to build them up is to make them more prominent.
3. Ask for targeted endorsements
If you want to increase your endorsements, ask for help from people who can vouch for your skills.
Seeking endorsements can also be a way to engage with your connections and show value to your network, so use it as an opportunity to check in as well. (Don’t forget to offer to return the favor if you can vouch for their skills.)
Remember, there’s no rule that says you must list endorsements. So, ask yourself if this section compliments your personal brand or contradicts it.
If you decide to use the “Skills & Endorsements” section, commit to keeping it up-to-date.
The next time you give your LinkedIn profile a look, don’t forget that EVERY section plays a role in validating your personal brand and attracting your target audience.