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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’.

 

LINKEDIN CONSULTING
If you liked this article, you’ll love my customized consulting service. I’ve helped many professionals to achieve their full potential on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not somewhere you paste your resumé, sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s a complicated and nuanced website portal that requires action, insight, branding strategy and marketing know-how. What you don’t know – could hurt you. Whether it’s getting more traffic on your Profile, engaging with a stunningly good Summary or refreshing your LinkedIn presence and brand – share your goals with me and I’ll help you to achieve all of them via LinkedIn.

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That’s all from me for this week. Please take a few moments to share this article with your network. I read and respond to all comments.

By Andy Foote