It’s no secret that LinkedIn is an useful tool for professionals of any industry–it is a networking tool, a tool for staying abreast of specific industry trends, a conduit for lending your voice as an expert in your particular field, and a way to communicate your professional interests, past and present experiences, and, very importantly, your qualifications.
A relatively new feature to LinkedIn, which helps interested viewers to confirm that you do in fact possess the skills and qualifications you present on your profile, is the endorsement. Essentially, an endorsement is a way for your connections to vouch for your skills.
For example, an accountant could be endorsed for their auditing and Excel skills.
As useful as a tool as LinkedIn and other social sites can be, the constant changes social media platforms undergo can make it difficult to discern what changes are important to be aware of and act on.
According to a Forbes article by Susan Adams, the LinkedIn endorsement feature is a change that warrants both attention and action. In the article, she explains why the endorsement is important, what to be aware of and how to successfully utilize the feature to your best advantage. Some key takeaways are:
1. LinkedIn endorsements–which can only be made by your first-degree connections–will be a permanent change to the networking site and should not be ignored.
2. By taking the time to list specific skills relative to your work and industry, an endorsement for those skills will be all the more valuable.
3. Along those lines, seek out endorsements from colleagues who know your skills and are familiar with your professionals abilities. Give out endorsements of your own when appropriate.
4. Not all endorsements are good endorsements–for example, if someone endorses you for culinary skills and you work in the finance industry, it is OK to hide the endorsements from your public profile–it isn’t relative, nor does it add credibility.
5. Not having endorsements does not decrease your chances of appearing in a potential employer’s or new business prospect’s search–but you should still seek them out as a way to differentiate yourself and make yourself more marketable to potential employers and connections that could lead to business opportunities.