LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature is like the extra parts left over after you assemble furniture. Sure, it’s a part of your profile, but do you give it much thought?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. (Quite an oxymoron, if you ask me.)
The best way to validate your brand is to add “Recommendations” from people who are willing to take the time to write about your skills and strengths—preferably, not your mother or spouse.
Does this mean endorsements are a complete waste a time? Not exactly. We can go back and forth on whether or not it is, but even extra furniture parts come in handy sometimes.
Strategic endorsements can emphasize your expertise and optimize your profile with targeted keywords. If you choose to list endorsements on your profile, you might as well use them to your advantage. Here are some ways to make your endorsements legit.
1. Identify your top skills. You’ll notice 10 skills are prominently shown in the “Skills & Endorsements” section; the remaining skills are listed below under “[your name] also knows about…”. I call it the “yadda yadda yadda” section (a rundown of your secondary skills).
Do not use this as an opportunity to list every skill you’ve acquired since the ‘90s. Instead, highlight expertise essential to your industry. These can be hard skills, soft skills, or a combination of both (e.g., Leadership, Training, People Soft, CRM, etc.). 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 five 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. Think of connections who know your work and send a brief email detailing the specific skill(s) you would like them to validate. It should be brief and respectful of their time and help. 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.
4. Be selective with suggestions. LinkedIn has an algorithm that suggests new skills; it can be as random as a pimple that pops up smack in the middle of your forehead overnight. Your connections then hop on board and all of a sudden you’re getting endorsed for unrelated skills like “endorsements.” (Think I’m exaggerating? Read this The Muse article.)
If you get a notification that suggests you add new skills to your profile that is not in line with your career focus, don’t add them. If somehow new skills that are not relevant sneak in, delete them.
Remember, no rule says you have to list endorsements. Ask yourself if this section compliments your brand, or detracts from your brand. If you decide you want to keep your endorsements, commit to maintaining them.
Here is how you can manage your preferences:
- Hover your cursor over “Profile” at the top of your homepage and select “Edit Profile.”
- Scroll down to the “Skills & Endorsements” section.
- Click on a skill to bring up the edit options.