The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements.

LinkedIn have recently made a very smart and strategic move towards making the LinkedIn platform more relevant, engaging and “sticky”. The LinkedIn Endorsement, is the flagship feature of a strategy that has already proven to be highly effective. With many SNS (Social Networking Service) providers all competing for your fleeting and finite online attention – LinkedIn have won a decisive battle in a never-ending war.



February 3, 2011 – LinkedIn Introduces Skills “To succeed in the talent economy, it is crucial to showcase your skills and build a rich network of connections who have the expertise you need to get the job done.” September 5, 2012 – LinkedIn introduces Notifications “Which will keep you notified in real-time when someone likes what you’ve shared on LinkedIn, views your profile, accepts your invitation, and much more.” September 24, 2012 – LinkedIn introduces Endorsements “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.” November 1, 2012 – 3rd Quarter Earnings Call. LinkedIn indicates that there were already 200 million Endorsements made at the end of the 3rd Quarter. Notifications are driving Homepage traffic up by 60%.


What Are They? Endorsements are a quick way to rate your 1st Degree Connections and allow you to endorse someone you know for a specific skill. LinkedIn is currently promoting the Endorsement option as it is relatively new and its success depends on widespread adoption/participation. This means that when you browse someone in your immediate network you will see a large Pop-up window at the top of their Profile which looks like this:
















The LinkedIn User Reaction to Endorsements Has Been Mixed.


PROs “I love the one-click endorsements. They take less time and are easy for those who have not asked for an actual recommendation. ” “Maybe endorsements will simply serve as a more weighted form of keyword optimization?” “It’s beneficial because someone can endorse your skills without being a co-worker or having worked with you in a professional capacity.” “It’s good to be able to see if someones has a certain skill-set”. “This feature will be popular. Endorsing skills is much less intimidating than writing a recommendation.” “It’s great for individuals who do not have recommendation. ” “They give a stamp of approval to the skills we list on our profiles.”


CONs “Because the box simply pops up, people are clicking because it’s there, which makes the endorsements meaningless.” “At what point does this become less signal and more noise?” “These new ‘endorsements’ require no thought, and no actual experience working with me.” “While the endorsers may be well-intentioned, a better value would be gained from a thoughtfully written recommendation.” “Klout has been allowing people to give influence points for a good while now and it has been abused.” “I think the skills section is overdue for some kind of validation feature, but endorsements ain’t it.” “It’s kind of like having a lot of followers on Twitter — which only proves you have a lot of followers on Twitter.”


Why What You Think About Endorsements Doesn’t Matter. I don’t mean to be dismissive here but it’s a fact: your opinion on Endorsements doesn’t matter. Why? Because the people have already voted (over 200 million Endorsements since their introduction at the end of September) and it’s been decided. Endorsements, regardless of what you think of them are here to stay. Given the facts, you are now forced to make a decision between playing the Endorsement Game or sitting it out on the sidelines. By all means take a ‘stand’ on your principles but you will be ‘sitting’ on the sidelines, while everyone else plays this imperfect but maddeningly popular game.


Pure Genius! Endorsements are genius on a number of different levels.


Here are the obvious ones:


  • Quick – Endorsements are the quickest way to indicate you rate someone for a skill.
  • Mass – You can endorse 30 people in 30 seconds. Batch skill likes.
  • Visual – The result is a simple yet powerful visualization of a person’s varied skill set.


The less obvious ones:


  • SEO – Endorsements will be factored into search to improve LinkedIn SEO accuracy.
  • Game – 99+ for ‘Project Management’, becomes a badge to be earned. I want more badges.
  • Habit – We check in more often and we become compulsive about Notifications & Endorsements.
  • Data – More user generated data to sell to LinkedIn clients, incl. recruiters who need to spot talent quickly.


Recommendations v Endorsements. Long time readers of this blog will know my opinion on Recommendations. I’m not a fan. To be clear: if you have great Recommendations that are truly insightful and written by impressive supporters then good for you, make ’em your most visible 2 (the New Profile only shows 2 Recommendations, the rest are hidden in a roll-down) but I fear the vast majority of Recommendations on LinkedIn are of the “Susan would be a great addition to anyone’s team” type and therefore taking up a lot of useful space, almost never read. Endorsements are a different animal, though they are just as prone to reciprocity as Recommendations and will be solicited like crazy (also like Recommendations) there’s no ambiguity here, (unlike Recommendations) they are universally taken on face value – I like this person for this skill. Will I be called on my Endorsement? Unlikely. But guess what? 99+ other people felt the same way, so I guess that means something? Right?


SEO. Search Engine Optimization is how people are discovered on websites. Not people, exactly, but certain words. We are defined by words online and we need to plan accordingly, we need to define our brand and help other people to find us before they find the other guy. Endorsements are going to be a key factor in those words that define us. LinkedIn will find a way to incorporate our talent patchwork quilt of Endorsements into LinkedIn’s own search algorithm and results. We will be indexed, our words will become numbers, numbers are the fuel for search engines.


Engagement. Notifications are addictive. They’re personal – someone on LinkedIn has liked your Discussion, viewed your Profile, endorsed you (your, you, you) – how can YOU resist clicking on Notifications? You can’t, it’s human nature to be curious and there is a strong urge to discover what people are saying about us and LinkedIn has us hooked. Notifications have increased Homepage traffic by 60%. Game-changer.


Gamification. Taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming applied to non-game applications and processes (Wikipedia). More badges, 99+ yes! I just won, I’m not sure what I won but the main thing is.. I feel like a winner. Endorsements are a perfect example of gamification. Well played, LinkedIn.


Habit, Curation & Data. Nir Eyal wrote a great piece in TechCruch in February. He wrote about “Commitment Businesses” & “The Curated Web Will Run On Habits” – LinkedIn are executing both of these concepts with Endorsements.


Companies, which successfully create user habits, even without viral growth, can build huge enterprises. I call these companies “commitment businesses” because users become increasingly tied to the service the more they use it. Evernote’s famous smile graph provides the clearest visualization of how a commitment business establishes a user habit. Though originally rebuffed by investors who could not see past the company’s slow growth, Evernote succeeded by betting on habit formation and patiently waited for its users to prove the company right. Other successful slow-growth commitment businesses have similar stories, including Pandora and Amazon.”

Endorsements are the new habit. Notifications is the pusher, literally.


The Curated Web Will Run On Habits. Increasingly, companies will become experts at designing user habits. Curated Web companies already rely on these methods. This new breed of company, defined by the ability to help users find only the content they care about, includes such white-hot companies as Pinterest and Tumblr. These companies have habit formation embedded in their DNA. This is because data collection is at the heart of any Curated Web business and to succeed, they must predict what users will think is most personally relevant. Curated Web companies can only improve if users tell their systems what they want to see more of. If users use the service sparingly, it is less valuable than if they use it habitually. The more the user engages with a Curated Web company, the more data the company has to tailor and improve the user’s experience. This self-improving feedback loop has the potential to be more useful – and more addictive — than anything we’ve seen before.”

The more we engage (by Notifications, Discussions, Following, Endorsements etc.) the more we provide data which is curated. We are making it easier for LinkedIn to predict what we want more of. Clever of us, technically.


My Advice On Endorsements:

(1) Take the initiative – ask all of your trusted connections to endorse you NOW. By messaging them (see the suggested text below) and make it convenient for them with a link to your Profile. (2) Be specific – ask Bill to endorse your for X and carefully build your ‘Endorsement patchwork quilt’ to ensure you have weight where you want/need it. (3) When you get that big ‘Endorse 5’ Pop-up – go ahead and endorse everyone you want to (but try not to endorse those you don’t know). Leads to reciprocal Endorsements, don’t ya know. (4) Edit your reputation – if you don’t think the Endorsement is warranted, just hide it and sleep easy. People who don’t know you will endorse you, no harm, no foul. (5) Control is built-in – some Skills are user-generated, essentially people can make stuff up. If you don’t want to be rated for the Bobsleigh, chill (!) you can delete any/all skills in the Edit view of your Profile.


Hi Bill,

You may have noticed a new LinkedIn feature called Endorsements. Would you mind endorsing me for X? This would be a great help to me professionally and will literally only take a few seconds of your time. Here’s a link to my Profile: http://linkedin.ted101 Sincerely, Ted


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, consistency, 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.


Contact me now: / 773.469.6600 to find out how I can help you.


That’s all from me for this week. If you found this post useful, don’t keep it all to yourself. Go ahead and share this article with your own network (see those buttons on the sliding thing on the left?).

By Andy Foote

You may also like...

97 Responses

  1. RT”@sales_eu_org: The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements.”

    • Ed Brophy says:

      Concerning the perception of skill endorsements.The first most effective way into the mind of Linkedin users is not with words at all, it’s with a visual that has emotional appeal.

      When you think of “likes,” you picture and associate the inviting thumbs up.

      Even in most conversations, the first most important element to bridge trust and understanding is rapport and likeability.The subject matter of a conversation or relationship then, is only a secondary element.

      An endorsement icon must be created to establish rapport and likeability. As you know appealing visuals have emotional power.

  2. @thegilty says:


    Another great and insightful post. Please keep ’em coming.


    Gilbert Valentine

  3. Norrie Mailer says:

    Very useful: Especially like the ‘link’ to insights on “Commitment Businesses” – how committed are we to change as companies if we are not committed to change and improvement as individuals?

  4. Simple, concise clarity with common-sense on where Linked-in is going – keep up the good work.

  5. @RalphPrise says:

    RT @AllianceInChina: The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements.

  6. 215 endorsements? Seriously…? My respects to Reid Hoffman. And I thought I was well niched lol I love to make marketing for social causes and human rights, but personal marketing… there is an ethical component in it that has always been distasteful to me: blaring your own horn, if you know what I mean 🙂 So I was truly surprised with my humble 40+ endorsements in 2 weeks, in comparison to the 100+ of my Ecademy colleagues. And behold, there is always someone far ahead in every field 215 endorsements, that’s like having those 55,000 followers at Twitter 🙂

  7. @Medarbman says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  8. @JLCherry says:

    RT @KristiPavlik: The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements

  9. Great insights Andy. Thanks.

  10. A useful article on making sense of LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature via @linkedinsights1

  11. RT @AHcreattrans: “@MarianDougan: A useful article on making sense of LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature via @linkedinsights1”

  12. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  13. RT @MarianDougan: A useful article on making sense of LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature via @linkedinsights1

  14. Anonymous Linkedin User says:

    IMHO, looking at all those endorsement profile photos neatly lined-up in a row like a bar graph next to each skill is a turn-off. It devalues the individual and adds clutter. Likewise, Linkedin Updates (and possibly Notifications?) are beginning to get cluttered by “x endorsed y for skill z”. Endorsement Inflation is a concern — is it going to turn into a Facebook “Like” button?

    But for the reasons you posted, Andy, it will probably continue to catch-on. I’m not sold (yet).

    Kudos to you for your timely, relevant and well-written posts.

  15. Anonymous Linkedin User says:

    Andy, I have noticed that one can hover the mouse over a skill tag in a profile and up pops a brief description of that skill. To my surprise, each is categorized into a particular professional field. That pigeon-hole is often NOT what I would have expected it to be. For example, the “Contract Negotiation” skill is stated to be “Construction”. Really?

    Perhaps this is fodder for a future feature by you.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Yep, I noticed that as well. Negotiation is linked with ‘Real Estate’, not sure how these fields are paired with a particular skill – I’ll research and report back. It’s possible that it’s a work in progress and LinkedIn had to put ‘place holders’ in temporarily.

  16. @Alliandre says:

    RT @MarianDougan: A useful article on making sense of LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature via @linkedinsights1

  17. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  18. (Helpful article!) The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements by @linkedinsight1

  19. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights

  20. @DavePeckens says:

    The truth about LinkedIn endorsements > by @linkedinsights1

  21. This is the most incisive analysis of any LI self-marketing process I can recall.

    I’ve never sneered at endorsements as others have. I immediately endorsed selected LI contacts based on the knowledge they’ve displayed in the groups we share, and a handful of them have reciprocated.

    My problem with endorsements, though, stems from my lack of personal knowledge of my contacts’ skills. I’ve never worked with–or even met–99 percent of my contacts; they reached out to me via invitations. Many of them are lurkers in the groups we share, so I’ve had no opportunity to form opinions about their professional knowledge.

    If I use your (very well-crafted) endorsement request template to solicit endorsements from each of my contacts, won’t they justifiably expect reciprocal endorsements from me? And how can I, if I’ve never worked with them or seen any of their work, and they haven’t contributed anything to Groups or Answers that I can evaluate?

    Should people in my position prostitute our reputation simply to reach the magic number of “99+”?
    I’ve read in career articles that many employers/recruiters won’t even consider a potential candidate who doesn’t have at least 4-6 LI recommendations. All of mine are specific and mention my accomplishments, as well as the recommender’s appreciation of them. I worry that recruiters and hiring managers will discount endorsements (at least for those of us who aren’t yet in the dozens for any particular skill) precisely because of their anonymity. For this reason, I can’t help thinking that, in the short run, my LI recommendations will prove to be more valuable than the handful of endorsements I have so far received.

    But, in the meantime, that isn’t going to stop me from using your solicitation template to acquire more!

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Steven for those kind words. I think people take them with a pinch of salt, thumbs up, pat on the back not “Endorsements” in the regular sense of the word. Just as “Top Influencer” in LinkedIn Groups stretches the definition of “Influencer”. When I asked a recruiter friend of mine what specifically they looked for in terms of candidates and Facebook, the reply was “presence”. In other words, purely to tick the box that the candidate was ‘on Social Media’. Endorsements: another box to tick, face value only. I’ll cover Endorsement Strategy in my next piece, etiquette may be a part of that story.

  22. RT @sjcole: Been wondering about #linkedIn #endorsements? Here’s a pretty good explanation from @linkedinsights1

  23. Via @linkedinsights1 New article on LinkedIn Endorsements fresh off the press: cheers Andy

  24. RT @linkedinsights1: @pedrocaramez @duartemig thanks guys for the tweet. New article on LinkedIn Endorsements:, warm regards, Andy

  25. RT @linkedinsights1: @LoriShemek @TreasuryProfs thanks for the RT! I’ve analyzed the new LinkedIn Endorsement feature here regards Andy.

  26. @nileshoward says:

    LinkedIn Endorsements may seem annoying and useless, but it’s driving loads of traffic. via @linkedinsights1

  27. @DaveClarke says:

    Good Blog About LinkedIn Endorsements via @linkedinsights1

  28. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. #linkedin

  29. @pjmckeown says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights

  30. Gavin Lister says:

    Great post Andy. Lots of food for thought – thanks

  31. @GWLister says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  32. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  33. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  34. RT @MakeContentWork: The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  35. marc pullman says:

    Thanks for the explanation. I was perplexed at why I have been a recent beneficiary of endorsements from people I barely know. Altho there may be some value in these endorsements, I have a greater appreciation for the heartfelt recommendations received from clients I have been privileged to help.

  36. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | by @linkedinsights1

  37. Love them or hate them, 200 million endorsements have been made since they were introduced in Sept #LinkedIn

  38. @duartemig says:

    #LinkedIn #Endorsements prove to work very well! via @linkedinsights1 cc @kimgarst @pedrocaramez #youcandosocial

  39. Interesting reading if u rely on linkedIn RT @WeDOScotland: The Truth About #LinkedIn #Endorsements

  40. @kathelburt says:

    RT @chicken_scratch: Surprise! They’re here to stay -> The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements.

  41. RT @LinkHumans

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements:

  42. @NYCPRGROUP says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. #linkedin #endorsements

  43. @Lee_Andrese says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  44. RT @linkedinsights1: @Tonycasella thanks TONY CASELLA (!) new article on LinkedIn Endorsements: pls tell me what you think, best ANDY FOOTE

  45. The Truth About #LinkedIn Endorsements. #in #career #jobhunt (via @linkedinsights1)

  46. RT @rebeccalpage: The Truth About #LinkedIn Endorsements. #in #career #jobhunt (via @linkedinsights1)

  47. @linkedinsights1 Shared with #jobseeker groups on #LinkedIn. Why we advise to place skills near the top.

  48. @arkarthick says:

    The Truth About #LinkedIn Endorsements. – | via @linkedinsights1 RT @marccusters

  49. @AngieWood_ says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements:

  50. Laurie West says:

    Great article! I’d be interested to learn more about the specifics of SEO. Just how valuable are endorsements? Especially relevant to recruitment consultants I would think.

  51. Giuseppina Wilderman says:

    Good website I found info very informative. I come here all the time and they always deliver good content!

  52. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  53. @RandiKopp says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights #sm #gamification #seo

  54. Mike says:

    I understand they are attractive, but I think recommendations hold more weight than endorsements.

  55. Great article, I agree with some of it but unfortunately I disagree with a lot also.

    It is a big a well done to LinkedIn because whatever you think about endorsements they have been a hugely popular behavioural activity on the social media site. And anything that gets people more engaged on any social media site is a bonus, filling up all those servers with more and more information about it’s users. A+ on that front.

    I can’t agree with the argument that endorsements are better than recommendations though, because everyone knows how easy endorsements are to give, and understand recommendations are rarer and therefore hole more value.

    Think of it in recruitment. If you were looking to employ someone and they had two referees on their CV, one which was a friend from University the other their manager in their previous job, which one would you think is more relevant?

    This is the problem because endorsements are so simple to give they loose their value. People are not idiots and they will not take an endorsement as gospel, so recommendations will always seem more important. I also take your point that recommendations are more hidden than endorsements, but if you looking at someone’s profile enough to take note of their skills then you’ll probably take note of recommendations too!

    What does interest me greatly is how every social media site has had a lot of updates in the last 6 months. Pinterest business pages, Facebook’s increased notifications and their commercial push with new ways to advertise every other day, twitter becoming more tailored and more detailed and so on It is very good to see how these sites are competing for more users, more engagement and more importantly as Facebook found out this year, more revenue.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Stephen – I’m not saying that “Endorsements are better than recommendations”, I believe it very much depends on the circumstances and how well written the Recommendation is but bottom line is that they are completely different in nature and it would be like trying to compare apples with oranges.

  56. gene sower says:

    The new LinkedIn “endorsements” are completely worthless. They’re just clicks from people who see my profile but have not done business with me in those capacities. Just a Facebook wannabee feature. Lose it!

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks for chiming in Gene. Not one for beating around the bush, are you? So the 23 Endorsements you’ve received currently for ‘Social Media Marketing’ are the ones you are choosing to display? The rest are hidden? But to be clear, since your are showing these can I infer that you don’t think they are “completely worthless”?

  57. Kirk Hansen says:

    “[H]ow can YOU resist clicking on Notifications? You can’t…”

    Put me down on the “never clicks on Notifications” side of the ledger. Despite the above quote, I can’t believe I’m the only person there. I don’t open recommendations in my in-box because I assume the title has the full payload.

    When recommendations started appearing and kept on coming, I assumed there was some hidden economy at work. Maybe people get a discount on something if they do enough recommending?

    From your post it sounds like they don’t get a benefit–they’re just being some combination of professional and nice. So I’m grateful to them. But I still don’t see myself opening the messages in the future–is there something to see?

  58. Kirk Hansen says:


    When my post above says recommendation it means endorsement.

  59. Sheila Ondrachek says:

    The easiest solution to to the cons of endorsements-don’t endorse someone unless you know that is part of their skill set and they are good at it. Seems like that would be common sense. If people use them in this way, they can be very valuable based on the reasons above. I don’t endorse anyone, even people I know well, for a skill set that I’m not aware they possess.

  60. Andrew Zolnai says:

    This is all well & good, but first they disconnect twitter, this week they disconnect Slideshare, Tripit and Bloglink… That is not SNS… so what’s their plan, man?

  61. Lee Watson says:

    I believe the endorsements are a valuable feature. The computer is supposed to make things like this easy and simple to execute so that is not a reason to shun this feature. I love. it.

  62. Simon Hamer says:

    Hi Andy
    All makes sense to me.

    I like the grading feature they introduced to give us feedback on our profiles. I’ve no doubt you’ll be an “All Star”

    Best regards

  63. RT @Ben_Farkas: Very interesting post –> The Truth About #LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  64. @NeuroVirtu says:

    zelo dober povzetek The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  65. @HeardAndrew says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements via @linkedinsights1 #socialmedia #LinkedIn #opportunity #advice #endorsements

  66. @Word_Lady says:

    For all the LinkedIn-ers out there, here’s a nice piece on the new “Endorsements” feature:…

  67. I think the whole endorsement factor on LInkedin undermines the whole concept a building credible network.

  68. Bill M says:

    I am definitely with the “con” side of this. The endorsements mean nothing. They are popularity contests or a time waster for those that don’t have enough real work to do. What value is an endorsement made by a person that has no idea what I do or how “good” I am at it.

    Linkedin gets more traffic with endorsements and that is the main focus. I am sick of the general acceptance of such a shallow ploy as this. Click endorse/click endorse/ click endorse…means nothing. But apparently it makes a bunch of low self-esteem people feel worthy of something. Really?

  69. @SHDickson says:

    The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  70. @braniganmj says:

    RT @SHDickson: The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  71. Bit late! We’re pretty mixed about ’em! Good piece > RT @madesimplegroup @nsdesign what do you think of endorsements?

  72. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  73. The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements. | linkedinsights via @linkedinsights1

  74. Do you find LinkedIn Endorsements valuable?…

  75. Monique says:

    What I like about the endorsements is the traffic that reads my Profile. And when I receive an unsolicited endorsement I am happy to reciprocate because in doing so I take the opportunity to get to know this person better. For me that’s what it’s about, making connections and getting to know people I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to.

    Thanks Andy for your helpful articles. I am now working on creating my Summary – your suggestions help me to build fa succinct and appealing Profile.

  76. Harshal Badgujar says:

    Very insightful articles…
    Great work

  77. Tim Woods says:

    While admittedly it looks impressive when you see someone with a large amount of endorsements, the buzz quickly fades when the member’s profile doesn’t prove it.

    I have seen plenty of people with 99+ endorsements in skills which they don’t even “have” on their profile or maybe have less than 5 years of experience, some with less than 3. When you see that, it sparks of fraud or gaming the system.

    You see, it’s extremely easy to get your friends and associates to endorse you. It takes you a minute to select that a person has a background in a certain field that you have literally no experience in. After a while, that skill can become “very popular” – it becomes less of a skill that you do have, but something that has no value whatsoever.

    I tend to trust individuals with high recommendation counts, especially those who are peers or supervisors more because it takes time for them to come up with something tangible and for the most part, most people won’t be willing to associate a name with a recommendation because they feel it’s directly connected to them — and well, that’s absolutely true.

    To that end any member who has obscenely high endorsement counts with no recommendations is a BIG red flag for me and frankly, I disregard them and their so-called credibility.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Good points well made Tim. I agree that Endorsements are far too easy to give/get and that gaming is undoubtedly one of the drivers. We should all be looking at the big picture when deciding who to connect with/hire/ do business with etc. I do disagree with you on one assertion you made. Just because someone can’t balance high Endorsements with the equivalent in Recommendations should not be a credibility issue. Why? Well for one thing the reason LinkedIn introduced Endorsements was because Recommendations were being ‘gamed’ or not being utilized at all (there was no happy middle ground) and secondly, some Skills are better suited for Endorsements i.e Networking. The whole point of Endorsements is engagement – leading to a place where more business is done, more trust is built and stronger bonds are forged. Rating peer skills is just a happy derivative of that activity.

  78. Ed Brophy says:

    The endorsement tool is a personal branding tool. It’s a fun conversation starter. Personal branding is more about demonstrating your emotional intelligence, than it is telling everybody your technical skills. This profile feature is more about presenting the personality that brings your skills sets to life.

    For example, I saw a journalist that listed “Love to Learn.”
    at the top of his 50 skills and “Journalist” further down. That was classy.

    Anybody that remembers studying literature in grade school, remembers the writing teacher saying, “don’t tell me, show me” when you present your story.

    In other words, don’t tell me by simply stating the matter or just writing all your technical abilities – “show” the right people somehow, or put in a hint why anyone might imagine that you also have the passion that drives the perfection to win with your skills.

    Consider “the writers hook” this journalist presented to his readers by speaking from his heart and listing “Love to Learn” as his top qualification or skill.. Subtlety is a mark of confidence.

    So if the guy had 2 million endorsements for “Love to Learn,” nobody’s thinking this guy has gamed the system or even really cares. Winners are looking at his emotional intelligence (skill) and the way he presents his passion for what he likes to do most..

    Think beyond the specific functions most people carry out in your profession. Use your personal branding feature to identify what is missing, by also presenting the extraordinary skills, fun loving, principled action, fresh ideas, and lasting solutions you personally work to bring to the table yourself.

    Forbes columnist Eva Myers wrote:

    ” LinkedIn spokesperson says they created this type of recommendation “lite” for three reasons:

    1) To give members an additional tool to increase branding and networking with peers

    2) For people wanting to write recommendations for their contacts, but are lacking the time or inspiration to do so

    3) As a conversation starter

    In other words, LinkedIn endorsements are like Stove Top stuffing for your Thanksgiving dinner – quick, easy and effective, but with less time, effort and meatiness than Grandma’s homemade stuffing. “

  79. Des Walsh says:

    Another zinger post, Andy. I agree – it’s the game that’s on, play or go home.

    One slight niggle is describing the Endorsements feature in your template message, as “new”. 2012 is not new for a LinkedIn feature and if I got that message from someone I would wonder – and probably not take the requested action. The message would work perfectly well without the “new” – better imho.

    • Andy Foote says:

      You’re right – I need to update this post. Hope most of the folks reading will do that anyway though….

  80. Great post. And most importantly, a approach. IMO both recommendations and endorsements are great IF they’re legitimate and not superficial in nature. IMHO it’s the system messages from LinkedIn that killed the endorsements tool which keeps on asking users to endorse contacts just because they’re connected. SO if you have 700 contacts it’s more likely that you’ll get more endorsements which in turn makes you look more knowledgeable. Now that MSFT has acquired LinkedIn it’ll be interesting to see if they come up with a fresh algo to stop this ‘tradeoff’.

  1. December 7, 2012

    […] here’s one more — The Truth About LinkedIn Endorsements, by Andy Foote, a self-described “Professional LinkedIn OPTIMIST, Community Organizer and […]

  2. January 8, 2013

    […] Lesson #8: LinkedIn Endorsements are not a warning sign of an imminent apocalypse. Yes, it is a beauty contest to see who can garner […]

  3. March 18, 2013

    […] of them all are the endorsements. Are they good? Well, personally I can’t add anything to this article from Andy Foote with the pro’s of Linkedin Endorsements. As Foote puts […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *