7 Steps to Make Your LinkedIn Endorsements Believable

Make your LinkedIn skills and expertise endorsements more credible.

by Donna Svei on March 9, 2013

LinkedIn upgraded its Skills section late last year to allow your first level connections to provide affirmation that you do indeed possess certain skills. Consider that to be good news because recruiters and hiring managers are more comfortable trusting your skills claims when they have credible corroborating evidence.

Unfortunately, people have gone a little overboard in endorsing each other on LinkedIn, thus causing great skepticism about the validity of these endorsements. If you have a large network that includes people you don’t know at all, then you’re at particular risk for this problem.

Here’s what you can do to ensure that your endorsements enhance, rather than cheapen, your profile:

  1. Click “Profile/Edit Profile” on LinkedIn’s main drop down menu.
  2. Scroll down to “Skills and Expertise” and click on the little blue pencil on the right-hand side of the page.
  3. Select “Add and Remove.” Pick the Skills & Expertise you want to be hired to do. It helps if there’s also a market for them. Think “key words that recruiters would use to find me.” Delete the rest.
  4. Now click “Manage Endorsements.” Review who has endorsed you for each skill and uncheck people who don’t know enough about you to know whether or not you have that skill. Do it. You can always recheck them if it hurts too much a day or two from now. It won’t.
  5. Click “Save” to keep your changes.
  6. Scroll back up to the top of your profile and click “Done Editing” to make your changes public.
  7. As you receive additional endorsements, only accept them if they match your list in Item 3 above and if they’re from credible endorsers.

As you can see, you control the quality of your Skills section. When you do steps 1 through 7 above, you increase the credibility of your endorsements. You also say something about your integrity — that you don’t use endorsements from people not qualified to give them.

Who cares? Well, recruiters and hiring managers can click on the little arrow to the right of your endorsers’ thumbnail photos and see exactly who has endorsed you. When your endorsers look like believable members of your network, then you look believable as well. When they don’t, it’s a real life Epic Fail.

Two Notes of Caution

It appears that LinkedIn does use the number of times you’ve been endorsed for a key word to give you page position in search results for that key word. See here for more information. Then you can decide how you want to balance credibility with your position in search results.

LinkedIn is reported to be testing a Skills & Expertise search tool. The number of times you’ve been endorsed for a particular skill may well affect your page position in those search results — if they launch the tool. See here for more information. Again, you will have to decide how you want to balance credibility with your position in page results.

More

Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn here. My email address is donnasvei@gmail.com. I love connecting with people who read my blog!

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com or call me at (208) 721-0131.

Image by © iQoncept – Fotolia.com

Post updated September 2013.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Penelope Rigatos March 10, 2013 at 14:29

Dear Donna,

thank you for writing an informative article. I went into my endorsements and attempted to re-order them based on which skills I wanted to highlight as most relevant and up to date, only to find out that LinkedIn won’t permit re-ordering of skills that members have been endorsed for. Do you know a way around this, other than deleting the endorsements?

Thank you

Hi Penelope,

Thank you. LinkedIn orders the endorsements by the number received. The only thing you can do about moving a skill up the list is to help people who want to endorse you understand which endorsements matter most to you. I would do that with a caveat that of course they would need to be comfortable with what you ask.

Donna

Penelope Rigatos March 11, 2013 at 11:32

Donna,

thank you for your response.

Penelope

Ely May 23, 2013 at 09:52

Donna – Considering that most LinkedIn users are aware that endorsements can’t be taken at face value, I’m wondering how you balance the need for a reality check (before an interviewer does it for you), with the need to avoid hurting the feelings of the people on your connection list (a list, I might add, that took you uncountable hours over a period of years to acquire? – Ely

Hi Ely, That is the sticky point. You have to use your judgment. If you’re uncertain, turn to a friend who has good judgment, and ask for their perspective. Donna

Julia Erickson June 18, 2013 at 11:18

Very interesting post and suggestion that people limit themselves to just 10 skills.

I agree with your position that people need to only list skills they want to use again. Just 10, though?

I wonder how this affects search engine results, especially when recruiters are looking for someone with a specific set of skills. Often, different terms mean the same thing, so I’ve advised clients to list as many skills as they want to use again, and using a variety of terms to convey the same message.

What are your thoughts on the search algorithm and number of skills?

Hi Julia,

Your points are well taken. There is absolutely a tension between credibility and LinkedIn search engine results. See more on that here: LinkedIn Takes Endorsements Very Seriously for Search Results http://buff.ly/17VtaGt. It really comes down to how a person wants to drive traffic to their LinkedIn profile. If someone wants that traffic to come from LinkedIn searches, then they should game the numbers to a fare thee well. However, in doing so, their profile might start looking more like a direct mail letter than a professional profile, and their endorsements will be of questionable quality. I like to show the options, along with the pros and cons, so people can make the decision that’s best for them.

Thank you,

Donna

Marc Zazeela August 9, 2013 at 10:20

I think given the similarities to a popularity contest, the endorsements are always going to be regarded with a does of skepticism. You “like” me, I “like” you back.

Hi Marc,

Yes. Plus, the more connections you have, the more endorsements you get. But humans like popularity contests. All in all, incredibly imperfect as it is, it’s better to play this game than to ignore it.

Thank you,

Donna

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