Got Skills? Get Endorsements.

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Recommendations, Skills & Endorsements, Social Media

LinkedIn recently removed Recommendations as being a requirement for having a complete profile.  Then in September they added the ability to endorse your connections for the skills listed on the Skills & Expertise section of their profile.  What!  You don’t have any skills listed on your profile?  Better add them, or risk not being found.  I predict Endorsements will ultimately replace Recommendations.

All things being equal, a LinkedIn profile with Endorsements will outrank a similar profile without them.

Use these six tips to add the right Skills to your profile and obtain Endorsements:

  1. Be judicious with the skills you choose.  Select Skills & Expertise from the drop-down tab under “More” on your navigation bar. Enter a relevant skill in the search box.  Your exact skill may not show up, but you will be given options. Click on the skill closest to the one entered; you’ll be redirected to another page describing it.  My favorite item is the graph indicating the y/y “Relative Growth” of this skill.  If it’s not trending well, you can select from the “Related Skills” offered.  For example, C Level Selling is up 16% y/y, while C Level Management is down 16% y/y–if you do both, use the former.  Select a skill your audience would use to search for someone who does what you do.  Is it Tax preparation or accounting?  Home loan or mortgage?  Think in terms of your client’s language, not yours.  You can add up to 50, and need a minimum of five skills for a complete profile.
  2. Prioritize your skills. Did you know you could rearrange the order of the skills as they appear on your profile?  Select edit profile and go to the Skills & Expertise section to click and drag each skill to arrange in order of importance.  This is significant as people will tend to endorse the first couple of skills they see, just as they read the headline or first sentence of a blog or article.  Once a skill is clicked-on it can’t be moved.  Others will follow suit and click on the ones that have the most endorsements—“groupthink.”
  3. Ask to be endorsed.  You have to drive people to your profile to obtain their Endorsement. What I do is share something of value to the person—maybe an update I recently posted, a blog I wrote, or a Group discussion I started which they could join. I’ll send a private message and close with a classic Columbo line, “One more thing…would you please go to my profile and endorse my skill of “LinkedIn.”  And tell them how to do it.  “Just place your cursor over the + to the left of the skill and click on it.”
  4. Tell which skills you want endorsed.  While you have prioritized them you don’t just want everyone endorsing the top three.  So tell your clients, which skill would be most applicable to the work you did with them and then add “or any others that you think appropriate.”  Tell them what you want, while letting them add something further.
  5. Accept new skills that LinkedIn users have recommended for you.  Your network is also able to endorse you for skills that you don’t have listed on your profile.  Based on keywords in your profile, they will receive prompts asking “Does Theresa possess these skills…?”  You will receive notification of these Endorsements and just like with a Recommendation, choose to show it on your profile.  You can always add skills from your profile page.  You need a minimum of five skills to have a complete profile and can add up to 50.
  6. Give Endorsements.  LinkedIn is all about doing what Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman and co-Founder of LinkedIn, calls “small goods.”  Whether that be “liking,” commenting or sharing a person’s update.  Take time to visit your network’s profiles and endorse them when appropriate.  Don’t endorse someone for a skill you never saw them exhibit and don’t do it just to be reciprocated.

If you do all this, you will have a profile that will clearly speak to your strengths and reflect why someone would choose to do business with you.  Oh, and one more thing…if you found these tips helpful would you please go to my LinkedIn profile and endorse me?

Theresa Merrill | Social Media & LinkedIn Consultant | Twitter:@sellsocialmedia | 201.566.1351 | Anovick Associates