You may be aware of LinkedIn endorsements. It was a feature introduced towards the end of 2012 to enable us all to tick a box to verify someone’s skill base.
When you view someone’s profile on LinkedIn, a little box at the top pops up asking if John Smith has certain skills and expertise. Now you may not know John Smith or have ever worked with him, but that doesn’t mean you can’t click and endorse him for all sorts of skills he may or may not have.
This raises a few issues with the validity of LinkedIn endorsements, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them completely out of hand. After all, the feature’s here so we may as well take advantage of it.
If someone endorses you on LinkedIn, it is a reasonable assumption that they think you’re good at what you do – whether by reputation, what your profile says or actual experience. This is the key thing to remember. Rather than saying “but I don’t have web design experience; why have they endorsed me for that?” whilst rolling your eyes, try looking at this as an opportunity.
There will be people who have endorsed you who you do know and who have used your services. You can see who they are by going to your profile, scrolling down to the Skills & Expertise section and hovering over the faces of your endorsers.
And here comes the added value…
What you really want on your LinkedIn profile is recommendations. Recommendations are worth their weight in gold. Someone has taken the time to write you a testimonial for some work you have done with them or for them. It’s a real asset to any LinkedIn profile and should be your end goal when looking at your endorsements.
Has anyone endorsed you who you can contact to ask for a recommendation? What about Fred Bloggs? He endorsed you for ‘copywriting’, which isn’t quite what you do, but you can assume he thinks you’re reasonable or he wouldn’t have clicked. Of course, it’s always best to keep this as a naïve assumption and not go down the ‘he was just click happy’ route, but it certainly gives you an in-road to asking Fred for a recommendation.
It’s not very British to ask people to write us testimonials, so if they have started the ball rolling then it’s not from cold. Saying to Fred “I see you endorsed me for copywriting and I wondered if you’d mind writing me a recommendation for the research project I undertook for you last year?” is not nearly as hard as having to start from a clean sheet.
LinkedIn endorsements should be used as a conduit to adding real oomph to your LinkedIn profile. Used wisely, they could actually be the best thing since sliced bread.