It’s a great feeling when you are acknowledged for your hard work, especially when the acknowledgement comes from your peers. So when LinkedIn added an endorsement feature last year, a good number of my freelance colleagues went bananas. Imagine it: now everyone you’ve worked with on LinkedIn can vouch for you with the click of a button. So simple!
Of course, that led to an incredible influx of endorsements for everyone. According to LinkedIn, there have been over 550 million endorsements dolled out with another 10 million being added every day. Great for LinkedIn, maybe not so great for you?
Yes, on one hand, endorsements are impressive. It shows the people who visit your LinkedIn page that you are, in fact, qualified. Of course, that’s only if they trust the people who have given you their endorsement.
And here’s the rub. Just because you have been endorsed by Mr. X, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are actually qualified. Since the launch of the endorsements function, what began as an easy way to lend an honest recommendation to one of your business connections has become more of a close relative to Facebook’s “like” function than a real recommendation. The most common complaints involve LinkedIn users endorsing complete strangers in the hopes of being endorsed in return – not something that an employer is likely to base a new hire on.
On the other hand, some LinkedIn pages can be bulky, weighed down by too much content. If you scroll down and glance over someone’s endorsements, you can get a pretty good idea of what this person is all about. Then, if you’re interested, you can start from the top and read their previous job descriptions and clever self-promotional content.
Making Your Endorsements Meaningful
If you want your endorsements to work for you instead of against you, which they can, you have to make a few changes to your LinkedIn profile.
The first step would be to change your degree of connections. While some think it’s a good idea to be connected to as many people as possible, it may be a good idea to restrict your first-degree connections to people that you actually know, that actually know your work. Of course, limiting the people that you are connected to may significantly diminish your presence on LinkedIn, but it will also make the connections you do have, and the endorsements, more meaningful. Remember, LinkedIn is meant to be business. If you want to rack up a friend count, use Facebook.
Edit Your Endorsements
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to delete an endorsement once it’s been given to you. You’re in luck, though, because what you can do is hide them. On the top menu bar under Profile, you’ll see an option to “edit profile.” From there, head over to the the Skills and Expertise section and click on the little pencil. Now you can manage your endorsements. The rule of thumb for managing endorsements is pretty simple: if the person can’t actually vouch for your work, then their endorsement shouldn’t be visible on your page.
It’s All About Your Skills
I’ll admit, it took me quite a while to figure this out – but endorsements only appear on your page if they fall under your top ten skills. Yup. That means that if you take the time to edit your Skills page, you can have some control over what appears under your endorsements. Sure, you can hide the endorsements you don’t want to appear, like I mentioned above. But you can also efficiently manage your Skills page, which means less time hiding endorsements you don’t want and more time making the connections you do.
Time Will Tell
As of right now, there’s no evidence that anyone cares about LinkedIn’s endorsements other than those people who give them and those who receive them. Employers and recruiters couldn’t care less. Experience is what actually matters. Still, it’s plain to see that if the numbers keep rising, endorsements may become something that employers take into account when looking for new recruits. So manage your endorsements wisely. Think of it this way: if an endorsement on LinkedIn was equal to a letter of recommendation, would you accept one from someone you didn’t know?