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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Second thoughts on LinkedIn Endorsements + 7 ways to get more of them

Further to my post of 4 January 2013, my sole reason for seriously rethinking the viability of LinkedIn Endorsements at this stage of the game comes from career coach Carol Ross, who points out that their special utility lies in enabling you to conduct your own market research about  your personal brand . 

From her astute observation it also follows that:
  • The skills and expertise you list on your profile should not necessarily reflect the things you’re competent at but rather the things you want to do more of.
  • You should not accept or hide endorsements that aren’t for skills and expertise you are interested in developing in your next job.
  • If people aren’t endorsing you for the skills and expertise you want to be known for, you need to do a better job of promoting these abilities via work interactions and social media.
  • You should consider tweaking your profile so your favourite, most endorsed skills appear prominently in wording that resonates with your target audience. 

Ms. Ross also notes three further positive applications worth trying:
  1. Using endorsements as a basis for rekindling former relationships or improving current ones by giving you a pretext to communicate with contacts after the fact.
  2. Being prompted by endorsements to request or provide more helpful, meaningful personalized recommendations instead.
  3. Capitalizing on LinkedIn’s referrals to discussion groups, job openings, and employers in your field of interest, as well as top professionals, whose skill sets can help you adjust your own profile to be more competitive.
All these positives have given me sufficient inducement to start dabbling cautiously with making endorsements--but only in selected cases where I feel qualified by first-hand experience to do so—although I’m encountering all the same reservations as many of the system’s other critics; e.g.:
  • It encourages people to give endorsements too freely without cause.
  • It imposes auto-generated skills on users who don’t add them themselves.
  • It only proposes a limited number of your connections for you to endorse at the expense of other members of your network.
  • It encourages you to endorse multiple skills at once, but not necessarily the ones you want to endorse.

Even Web recruiter Tony Restell, whose cynicism is based on the belief that LinkedIn has designed its endorsement system in an incompetent and self-serving way, admits it has the potential to impact your professional life and job search quite extensively.  For him, the problem largely boils down to the fact that it’s so easy for LinkedIn members to attract a disproportionate number of endorsements from their network using the following measures.  (But those who think it’s fun to accumulate as many of these notches in their belts as possible might consider trying any of these tactics that they’ve previously overlooked):  

 Seven ways to attract more LinkedIn Recommendations 
  1. Move your Skills & Expertise section closer to the top of your profile where it’s more visible.
  2. Endorse others whenever you can.
  3. List skills that are not too specialized and easy for others to endorse.
  4. Before you start to accumulate endorsements, list skills in descending order of importance to you.  (The system will subsequently list your skills with the most endorsements first, followed by skills without endorsements in the order in which you added them.)
  5. Suggest skills your connections ought to be endorsed for that aren’t currently on their profile.
  6. Promote your goodwill and visibility (and consequently drive more traffic to your profile) by:  becoming more active and helpful in LinkedIn groups, optimizing your profile, and posting regular status and profile updates.
  7. Increase your number of contacts by allowing LinkedIn to search your e-mail contact list(s).