LinkedIn has added a number of new features since September of 2012. The Influencers blog, real-time notifications, Endorsements, enhancements to the mobile application and Company Page improvements are recent additions. These new features are apart from the changes to the personal Profile page.
The new Endorsements feature has probably raised the most questions among the user community. Is it replacing Recommendations? How do others endorse you and what exactly are they endorsing? Should you endorse someone that you have not worked with directly?
Basically Endorsements allow other LinkedIn users, presumably those who have some knowledge of your work, to confirm that you have skills that you have listed in the Skills section. It even allows them to suggest skills they think you should add to your Profile. You can list up to 50 skills in your Profile and you should list at least 5 skills to ensure that your Profile is complete.
The appeal of Endorsements is that this allows others to vouch for your expertise with minimal effort. An additional benefit is that the photo of the endorser appears next to each of your skills, so viewers see if they know anyone who has endorsed you.
A downside of Endorsements is that because they are so easy to give their meaningfulness may be diluted. LinkedIn popups make it simple to endorse someone for multiple skills with one click. Your endorsed skills may end up being more a reflection of which skills are served up by LinkedIn’s algorithm than a reflection of how you want to brand yourself.
Endorsements do not replace Recommendations, which are far more powerful in my opinion. Recommendations require some effort to write and the recommender can give specific details about what you were able to do for them. For that reason, recommendations are more useful than Endorsements when evaluating the total person you are looking at on LinkedIn.
Please let us know what your thoughts are on LinkedIn endorsements.