99+ LinkedIn Endorsements?

Andy Foote | 99+ Endorsements, Endorsements, Gamification, Keywords, Networking, Search, Skills
1 Feb 2013
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Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 11.51.25 AMLinkedIn have recently changed the Endorsement badge back to 99+. It used to be that you could see the total Endorsements received. Now everyone, including LinkedIn staff, have the 99+ badge, regardless of how many Endorsements have been received for a Skill. This article examines why and gives guidance on Endorsement (Skill) management.

 

 

UNHERALDED CHANGE
LinkedIn makes minor changes to the platform all the time. Often these changes just occur without warning. LinkedIn may do this because they don’t feel the need to herald small tweaks or because they figure that users will soldier on, regardless. Maybe it’s a combination of both? 2 recent Announcements covered the closing of the Q&A section and opting users into (or out of) weekly Group digests, depending on their Group activity. Capping Endorsements at 99+ was deemed by LinkedIn HQ to be a change not worthy of an Announcement, apparently.

 

99+ AT FIRST GLANCE
Though everyone will now be ‘capped’ at 99+ Endorsements, including Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn’s Founder), it’s still possible to see the Endorsement total for any particular Skill simply by clicking on the 99+ icon.

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So why have LinkedIn made this change and what can we infer from it? I expect it has something to do with gaming and an effort to put a brake on the hyper-Endorsement gatherer. By limiting everyone to a visual cap of “99+” a level playing field is created and competition to get the highest possible number of Endorsements is dampened. LinkedIn did the same thing with those folks who insisted on getting dozens of Recommendations. The New Profile shows only 2 Recommendations, the rest are now hidden beneath a roll-down menu. Reverting to the 99+ badge could also be related to a much more mundane reason –  not having space in the icon for 4+ digits. We will probably never know for sure why we are back to the 99+ Endorsements badge.

 

RE-ORDER ENDORSEMENTS & ‘ENDORSEMENT MEMORY’
The bad news is that you cannot re-order Endorsements. To be accurate, its Skills that you may want to re-order, not Endorsements. You can only re-order Skills that have no Endorsements attached. So think very hard about the order of Skills you want to display since these will be in the order you list, permanently once you get Endorsements for these Skills. Also, because of the way that Endorsements are given, your first 10 Skills will usually be the ones that build Endorsements fastest. This is partly because of how Endorsements/Skills are displayed on your Profile and partly because of how the LinkedIn Endorsement suggestion algorithm works. Another thing to remember – Skills have ‘Endorsement memory’. If you delete a Skill which you have previously been Endorsed for and then subsequently re-add that Skill to your Profile, it will re-appear with the Endorsements you previously received for that Skill still attached. LinkedIn probably did this as a fail-save – for folks who accidentally delete a Skill and don’t want to start from scratch with Endorsements.

 

ENDORSEMENT STRATEGY
It’s important to have a LinkedIn Endorsement strategy regardless of what you think of them. Not displaying Endorsements and therefore Skills will undoubtedly harm your professional networking in the longer term. It’s ok to hide your Endorsements while you figure out what you want to do but that’s not a permanent solution. You have complete control over which Endorsements you can show (or hide) on your Profile and you get to choose 50 Skills from a fairly wide range of skill-based areas. You can even add self-made Skills to your Profile but ensure that they fit in the allotted space (see my Advanced LinkedIn… above as a bad example, it’s actually ‘Advanced LinkedIn Strategy’). So go ahead and hide the Endorsements you think are unwarranted, the person who Endorsed you may never find out and you probably don’t care if they did, right? Choose Skills which best reflect your professional abilities and aptitude and if you have non-designated LinkedIn Skills, create and add them. Use all 50 Skill slots, each one is an opportunity to be found by someone searching on that Skill. Each one is an Endorsement, waiting to happen. The LinkedIn Endorsement algorithm can throw out some odd New Skill suggestions which you don’t have to accept. So when someone Endorses you for a New Skill you don’t think you have, just ignore it and ‘Skip’ those suggested Endorsements.

 

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Re-cap:

  • Skills = Endorsements – don’t let your opinion on Endorsements get in the way of your Skills.
  • You have 50 Skill slots – use your full entitlement or be irrelevant, your choice.
  • Self-made Skills – if you have a specialist Skill or area of expertise that isn’t listed, add it.
  • Ignore the odd  ‘New Skill’ suggestions – it’s the algorithm, sometimes it’s random, click on ‘Skip’.

 

That’s all from me this week. As always – thanks very much for stopping by and reading. If you found this article thought-provoking, interesting or dare I say, useful. Please go ahead and share it with someone using that sliding share thingy on the left.

 

Warm regards from Chicago.
Andy

 

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14 Comments

  1. http://t.co/Og5cjRXn What’s your LinkedIn ENDORSEMENT strategy? This article explains why you need one.

  2. Anonymous Linkedin User says:

    “opting users into weekly Group digests, if they had not visited a particular Group for a while.”

    Andy, Linkedin has been changing my weekly digests to NO digests because Linkedin sees I haven’t visited the group in a while.

    I find this annoying. It clutter my mailbox with junk Linkedin emails. It forces me to click on change settings or visit groups. I prefer my group interface to be reading the weekly digest; I resent being “watched” and having my preferences changed as a result.

  3. @Densonology says:

    99 problems but a “like” ain’t one. LinkedIn Caps endorsements at 99 and why it matters: http://t.co/nsWSkiUf

  4. Andy, this article seems more speculative than others you have written.

    Without knowing how the LI search engine for skills is being used by head hunters, I am unclear about any endorsement strategy other than: watch and see.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Michael – I don’t think you’ve seen my ’5 Intriguing LinkedIn Predictions for 2013′ post. That’s speculative! For a taste of how Skills will feature in search on the LinkedIn platform, check out Skills & Expertise in the More tab, type a Skill you’re looking for and see the suggested Profiles. This is not just going to be for recruiters, everyone will use it and perhaps many will want to pay for deep search capabilities.

  5. Andy, I have looked at the Skill’s profile tab many times.

    I don’t believe that any serious recruiter will find it useful.

    Lots of noise.

    You think I am wrong?

    • Andy Foote says:

      Recruiters already have search tools provided to them by LinkedIn and they pay handsomely for this service. Sales people also have a tool (Navigator). I don’t think we’ve seen the full Skills ‘product’ on LinkedIn yet but I’m certain it will be built around search, discovery and engagement. Like the Social (Graph) Search that Facebook launched recently, but focused on Skills (and Endorsements). I’ve never met a recruiter who wasn’t serious :-)

  6. Hyper-endorsement speedbump?: 99+ #LinkedIn Endorsements? | linkedinsights http://t.co/kfyont5Y

  7. @NeliMaria says:

    99+ #LinkedIn #Endorsements? | linkedinsights http://t.co/UdG1bRo1 via @linkedinsights1

  8. RT @linkedinsights1: http://t.co/Og5cjRXn what’s your LinkedIn ENDORSEMENT strategy? This article explains why you need one.

  9. @Prof_Thea says:

    99+ LinkedIn Endorsements? | linkedinsights http://t.co/qfzPm8Ie via @linkedinsights1

  10. Ed Brophy says:

    Hello Andy,

    I believe the reason Linkedin scaled back to 99+ was the same reason they scaled back to 500 on connections.

    Linkedin is Finally Giving SEO Weight to Skill Endorsements:

    I’m not quite sure how this works yet, but Linkedin has created search criteria to add value to skill endorsements.

    For example, I went to “people” on my Linkedin home page and typed in “System Testing.” David Carpin (open endorser) came up #3 on the first page of Linkedin’s people search for “System Testing,” yet those words are not listed anywhere else on his profile, except as a skill.

    Also what I found interesting, is that listing skills that are not listed as Linkedin skills per se, are still found as well. This could be very helpful if something is a popular keyword at Google Adwords, but isn’t yet listed as a skill using Linkedin’s Skill & Expertise tool.

    I listed “Meaningful Specifics” as a skill and my profile comes up number one using the “people” search, although I did not find that skill using Linkedin’s Skill & Expertise tool, so use Google’s ad word tool to look for significant keywords to list as skills also.

    Kind regards,
    Ed Brophy, Open Endorser Group

    “Open Endorsers are Open Networkers…only they have more skills.”

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Ed. I’m sure that Endorsements will somehow figure in the SEO algorithm but I don’t think limiting everyone to 99+ has much to do with that. It’s a visual cap not an actual cap. LinkedIn are big fans of ‘relevance’, this is why any search you conduct will be unique to you. No one else will see what you see in search results. I’m intrigued by the self-made Skills, if these are indeed becoming searchable, LinkedIn rankings will become fascinating, to say the least :-)

  11. Dona Vincent says:

    I am a novice with LinkedIn but everyone I meet professionally is discussing it advantages. Going in to upgrade my profile today.

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