LinkedIn Endorsements – Good, Bad or Indifferent?

It’s the latest thing. In the first week, 4 million endorsements were given on LinkedIn. But the jury is still out on whether they have staying power, or just a flash in the pan.

They’re interesting…….but not necessarily for the reason they are intended. When I see an endorsement, I find myself asking three questions:

Photo by Clint Koehler

1)  What’s their motivation to give me a “thumbs up”?

2) Are they in a good position to judge a particular skill

3) Is it a skill I want to be known for?

OK, maybe this just proves that I’m an ungrateful git (look it up in a British dictionary)! But let me explain…..

It’s human nature to wonder why someone is doing something nice without being asked. A person’s reason will likely be colored by their relationship to you.

  • An employee might be trying to curry favor – or might truly be recognizing your skill;
  • A peer could be buttering you up to bank some points – or showing appreciation for a capability that has helped them out in the past
  • A client might be looking for a discount on future work – or they might want to give you plaudit for a genuine talent.

All are possible, and none are necessarily good or bad, but it makes you think.

On the second point, you would hope that the person endorsing you has been in a situation to see you demonstrate the particular skill. If they have, it’s a great feeling to be endorsed; if not, go back to question 1.

Finally, what skills do you actually want to be known for? Earlier in my career, I was transitioning from an Engineering track into the Marketing field. At that point, I probably would have cringed at endorsements for process modeling, and thrilled at one for strategic thinking.

Right now, I may be most appreciative of plaudits for Social Media Marketing based on my current activities – but personally I get a kick out of endorsements for Public Speaking.

And that leads to the final thought. Endorsements start to give you a clearer picture of your true skillset, not just the one you would like to have.

I’m not sure how long they’ll be significant, or even if they’ll survive, but for now they can give you a different angle. So take a look at your endorsements. Are they for the skills you care about? And from the people you respect?

Either way, it tells you something.

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