Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Endorsements

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tips for linkedinAre you finding yourself getting more and more LinkedIn Endorsements?  Even from people you barely know? Random endorsements could bring down the value of the endorsements. But while some people might just be endorsing you in hopes that you will endorse them, there is still some value to the LinkedIn Endorsements—if you know how to make the most of them.

“LinkedIn is obviously taking endorsements seriously, so you really have no choice but to get on the train,” notes Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search. “Why? Because people love to compare, and LinkedIn is offering a quick and easy way to compare you with your competitors.”

Even though some are complaining about Endorsements and even disregarding them, they are a tool for getting a new job. And as Breitbarth says, “I can assure you that everyone is looking at them.”

Maureen Francisco, author of It Takes Moxie: Off the Boat, Or Out of School, To Making It Your Way In America, has found that looking at LinkedIn Endorsements has become part of the hiring process.  “Before the physical interview begins, employers, companies, and hiring managers do their research of the potential applicant…So LinkedIn Endorsements are good to have,” she says. “When researchers read an applicant’s profile on LinkedIn and his/her endorsements, the applicant will already have favor walking into an interview.”

Some experts say the more endorsements the better. “Endorsements are good to have on LinkedIn because they show the opinion of the masses. A few endorsements here and there don’t mean much, but once they start piling up, a prospective employer and/or client can see with one quick glance that a lot of people think you’re an expert in a certain topic,” explains seasoned social marketer Pam Aungst.

But because endorsements can be random, potential employers have learned how to weed out the fluff. “LinkedIn Endorsements, I can attest, are not always accurate or even valid. Potential employers definitely check endorsements when they are on your LinkedIn page, however the savvy employers take it with a grain of salt,” Brad Hines, digital marketing and social media strategist, points out. “There is somewhat of a game with endorsements. Not only do people trade them and give them for reciprocity sake, but often people just select the first few at the top.”

LinkedIn Endorsements can actually give you a leg up on the competition. “LinkedIn endorsements will help differentiate those who are active on LinkedIn and those who are not. They’re only ‘bad’ because they don’t require any proof or verification, so people on LinkedIn feel it is ‘spammy’ when they receive the email notifications,” notes Charles Clarkson of advertising and interactive marketing firm Zion and Zion. “Potential employees and employers check out endorsements to see which skills, of all that are listed, professionals seem to excel at in others’ eyes. This is ultimately the other perk of recommendations – it’s not you promoting yourself, it’s others promoting you.”

Some tips on making the most out of your LinkedIn Endorsements:

1)      Highlight the important skills. “Your skills with the most endorsements will be at the top of the list. And like a Google search, most people will only look at the first few entries,” Breitbarth points out. “Therefore, getting lots of endorsements for skills that aren’t important to your current business may not be very productive. Focus on including the skills that you want to tell the world about.”

2)      Don’t accept every endorsement.
All endorsements don´t carry the same weight. Be selective when accepting. Accept the ones that highlight skills you want to promote.

3)      Tell your professional story.
“The best way to make the most of endorsements is to have your LinkedIn profile completely up-to-date (this includes utilizing new features), so that you appear truly professional on this platform…The more skills you include – and thus the more endorsements you have – the bigger the story you tell to those viewing your profile,” says Clarkson.