LinkedIn is the online platform for all things that relate to your professional brand, and you want to use it to your best advantage to the fullest extent that you can. You need to have your profile completed. Each section that is pertinent to you should be optimized.
One easy and fairly straightforward way to add credibility to your profile is to get LinkedIn endorsements for skills you have developed and honed over the course of your work history. There are several ways to do that, and I am going to mention three in particular, but before I get into the ways to receive endorsements, I would like to offer a caveat about how you choose the skills for which you want to be endorsed.
LinkedIn offers you an opportunity to select from a multitude of skills and to choose up to 50 individual skills for which to be endorsed. It is far too easy to fall into the trap of selecting too many skills or picking skills in which you may have some limited proficiency. I want to offer a bit of advice here and suggest that you be selective (and a little restrained) when choosing which skills you want to be recognized for having.
Realistically, you probably don’t need more than 20 discrete skills in your profile, and they should be clearly differentiated from one another. Be honest with yourself, and don’t select skills that are not in alignment with jobs you have had in the past. Don’t feel pressured to have 50 skills selected just because you can.
Select those skills that you have and that you have demonstrated over the course of your career(s) or job(s) so that people who have worked with you or who know you relatively well can endorse you with a clear conscience. When offering endorsements for others, only endorse them for skills you know they have, and avoid offering endorsements for skills you don’t have first-hand knowledge of someone possessing. An example would be that on occasion, I receive endorsements for public speaking from individuals that I am sure have never heard me speak in public. I do have skill in public speaking, but it says something about the person who would endorse me for that skill when they have no first-hand experience of it, don’t you think? Be careful and offer your endorsements with a sense of integrity. Only endorse people that you know have the skills you are endorsing them for, and only ask for and accept endorsements for skills you possess.
With that note of caution out of the way, let me offer that I think there are three easy and relatively painless ways to add endorsements to your LinkedIn profile.
1. Ask For Them.
If you are just starting your LinkedIn profile, and you want to build its credibility sooner rather than later, there is nothing wrong with you contacting people with whom you have worked and asking them for endorsements in skills you have listed on your profile. Most people who are using LinkedIn on a regular basis will be willing to endorse other individuals. It only takes a few moments, after all, and if they are people who know you and know your work, it should not be a hardship for them to offer an endorsement for you.
2. Offer Endorsements For Others.
The Law of Reciprocity dictates that as you offer other people endorsements, they will feel more inclined to return the favor. Again, don’t endorse people for skills you don’t know they have, but if you can offer an endorsement for someone, they will be far more inclined to return the favor.
3. Don’t Confuse Endorsements With Recommendations.
When you offer an Endorsement, you are only offering a check-in-the-box acknowledgment that says, “I know So-and-So and I know she can lead a workshop.” You check “Workshop Facilitation,” and move on. A Recommendation is when you write a comment or a review for someone. Example: “I attended a workshop that So-and-So conducted, and she was fantastic! She organized the day around what the participants needed, she paced the program so that it wasn’t too fast nor was it too slow, and she gave us plenty of time for small group and large group engagement and interaction. I would highly recommend her for anyone who wants a high-quality workshop.”
Do you see the difference? A Recommendation is a much higher quality reference than an Endorsement. Don’t confuse the two if you are requesting one or the other from an individual you have worked with or from a former employer or supervisor. You will make the recipient of the request feel awkward if you ask for a Recommendation as opposed to an Endorsement. If you are looking for a Recommendation instead of an Endorsement, request the Recommendation in person and determine that they feel comfortable offering the Recommendation before you send them the formal request. I have read articles on the topic of Endorsements where the authors have confused the two terms, so I offer this caution to make sure you don’t make the same mistake.
LinkedIn is an important component of any professional’s online brand. You need to build your own LinkedIn profile carefully and deliberately and that includes creating a list of skills that individuals who know you professionally will feel comfortable offering endorsements for. As you build your endorsements, you build your professional credibility.
Get a free CV REview before applying for your next job applications
Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a Career Makeover Coach who helps individuals find work that is perfect for them. She specializes in working with teachers who are burnt out and ready for a change, but she also works with mid-career professionals who find themselves ready to make a move that will feel more professionally fulfilling. Learn more about her here..
Photo Credit: Shutterstock