Are LinkedIn Endorsements Relevant?

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A while back I did a little experiment to see if reciprocity fuels the LinkedIn endorsements section – and my findings were that you won’t get endorsements simply by endorsing others. However, my contemplation of this newer feature of LinkedIn didn’t stop there.

I asked myself, are the endorsements simply just garbage? Do they hold any weight at all?

Before I jumped to any conclusions, I took a look at my reasoning for each side of the argument.

Here’s why I think they are irrelevant – it’s too easy to endorse without any knowledge that the person actually possesses those skills. You get a prompt on your profile page when you log-in that shows four of your contacts, asking if you’d like to endorse them for various things. There’s even an ‘endorse all’ button – allowing you to endorse all four for whatever skill LinkedIn put in front of you, then you get four more. LinkedIn has essentially made it easy to spam your contacts with endorsements. I liken it to the ‘like’ button on Facebook – it’s one-click, simple and requires no thought whatsoever. I also think it clutters up your profile – as you amass more endorsements, the section starts to look like a twisted version of the match game.

But really, the more I ponder the question, they aren’t garbage, and here’s my take on that – perception. While I think that it’s simply too easy to mass fire off endorsements or get endorsed by those that know nothing of your skillset, I also feel that the more endorsements you have, the more people perceive that you have those skills. I could see employers looking at two people with the same skillsets, but choosing Person A (who has lots of endorsements) over Person B (who has none) for the perception that they are more qualified based on the judgment of their peers. Going a step further, I could contemplate whether or not Person B has any social skills at all, since their peers are obviously not showing the “endorsement love.”  Plus, if you read my previous article, you’ll see I came to the conclusion that endorsements, while super easy to do, carry more weight than you think.

My takeaway from all of this is that LinkedIn endorsements are valuable, and while the methods and ease of obtaining them may slant opinions, they do help bolster your profile. And really, isn’t that what LinkedIn is all about, having a place to showcase your professional talents? In my opinion, they are more of a help than a hindrance to your profile. Having your peers weigh-in that ‘yes, you have those skills’ makes your profile more credible. Sure, you may get a one-off endorsement from some unknown person, but the majority of your endorsements will come from those you’ve actually connected with on a professional basis.

So what do you think?

Should we all hide our endorsements section, or let our endorsements fly? I know I’m keeping mine on my profile – someone somewhere once said “perception equals reality,” and if it truly does, then I need to keep up appearances.

Tweet at me @theRealTomZobel and tell me your thoughts. The best answers will get complimentary ‘Social Media’ and ‘Blogging’ endorsements via yours truly.*

(*Joke made for emphasis – Tom will not hand out unearned endorsements)

Tom Zobel

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