Professional Endorsements on LinkedIn: The Ones You Write Matter Most

Cross-posted from The Green Suits:

LinkedIn has revolutionized the executive search process. And, as of January 2013, the business executive social community passed the 200 million member mark. LinkedIn may have a fraction of Facebook's total membership, but there is no denying that it has gathered a lot of business professionals in one virtual place.

200 million is indeed a lot of people.

And to get us to interact more and achieve a more meaningful experience, LinkedIn now suggests that we endorse the skills and specialties of all of our fellow LinkedIn connections. They've made the process simple; with a click one can endorse another for a variety of listed attributes. And the results of others' endorsements are arrayed graphically like merit badges on our profile pages. Impressive!

But are these one-click endorsements valid? And, are they meaningful?

These are questions posed by a senior executive we know who wondered how a person she hardly knows--and likely never met face-to-face--can with complete authority endorse [her] for any one of [or several of] the attributes she listed in her LinkedIn profile. She mentioned that one of her personal friends with whom she recently connected on LinkedIn has check off-endorsed all of [this executive's] professional attributes. The executive is keeping an eye on who is endorsing her, and holding out the option that she may just block the merit badges on her profile page, altogether.

We've given LinkedIn's endorsement show-and-tell a lot of thought. We too marvel how some of our connections have endorsed us for things we never discussed with them in our prior dealings. But in general, we like this utility and believe it is being engaged by the vast majority of our connections properly; through aggregation of results, those merit badges provide a good reflection of our value to our connections and to the business communities we represent.

We just wonder if LinkedIn promotes these one-click endorsements to the exclusion of the well-written ones we used to ask our connections to write on our behalf.

Truly, there's nothing like another's well-written endorsement of our skills posted on our LinkedIn profile. Financial and career success is what we live for--but so too do we yearn for professional recognition by our clients, candidates, and peers.

We say don't pass up an opportunity to pay it forward and actually write and post a great professional endorsement for someone you know and respect. Enthusiastic, substantive, well-written endorsements demonstrate to others' true and oftentimes unique professional value. The recommendations you write them need not be long, but certainly they should get to the point.

The professional endorsements on LinkedIn that you write--or that others write for you--are the ones that matter the most.

So do click to ENDORSE the skills and experiences you believe your LinkedIn connections possess. But do take the time to write and post thoughtful endorsements of them, as well.


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