How To Use LinkedIn's Skills And Endorsements - Updated March 2017
by Jo Shaer, on March 9, 2017
Skills and Endorsements is a very important part of your LinkedIn profile. It's one of the top four places where you should be using your key words and phrases to help LinkedIn and your connections to understand what it is that you do. And it's a great way to start conversations with your connections.
However, many people don't really understand how to use it. In fact, some of them will actively opt out of being involved at all. They don't want to see LinkedIn's suggestions about people they might want to endorse as being good at what they do and they don't want to see notifications or emails about endorsements that other connections have given to them. And emails about endorsements clog up their inbox.
Opting out of LinkedIn's Skills And Endorsements - but should you?
Back in May 2014, LinkedIn had received enough complaints about their Skills and Endorsements feature to warrant the inclusion of an opt out feature. And this option is still there in the March 2017 update.
Scroll down to the Skills and Endorsements section of your profile and click View ** more. The box will open up to reveal all your other skills. Scroll down to the bottom and click Adjust endorsement settings.
A pop up will now appear so you can mange how you receive and give endorsements.
Click the button and it will change from Yes to No.
Be aware that if you click No for 'I want to be endorsed', the other options will disappear. Just click again so it becomes Yes and they will reappear.
You also have the option for:
Include me in endorsement suggestions to my connections
Show me suggestions to endorse my connections
Personally, I will agree to be endorsed and included in the endorsement suggestions - this brings you back to the top of mind for your connections.
I think I will continue to see the suggestions to endorse my connections - it seems only fair if I am asking to be endorsed myself. And, again, if that person is notified that you have endorsed them, it keeps you top of mind.
The option for Send me notifications via email when my connections endorse me has disappeared in 2017. In some ways this is a good thing as it did rather clutter up my inbox. You now receive a notification - in the notifications part of your dashboard. I fear these may get lost amongst all the other entries. However, LinkedIn has been very clear in its encouragement that you should start a conversation by saying thanks.
Previously LinkedIn would email the person concerned to tell them and ask if they would like to reciprocate.
So they would go onto LinkedIn and endorse you and maybe some other connections.
LinkedIn would email the other connections you had endorsed and ask them if they would like to return the favour... You get the picture?
For LinkedIn, it was all about increasing traffic to their site and building engagement. I am not sure whether notifications will have the same effect.
How to use LinkedIn's Skills and Endorsements Function
For you, it's a visible representation of social proof. Your peers are saying you are good at what you do. Sadly, in the 2017 version, we have lost the line of little approving heads so it's not as impressive as it used to be. Viewers of your profile only get to see the profile picture of the most recent endorser. And they also only get to see the top 3 'featured skills and endorsements' so make sure you choose wisely which ones you 'feature'.
I wonder if LinkedIn feel that the feature has somehow become devalued because it is so much easier to do than leave a written recommendation. Or because some users were not playing the game and using endorsements as a way to curry favour with potential connections/prospects.
Whatever, the reason, the profile pictures of endorsers are being given less visual prominence but the feature is not being deleted altogether - possibly because the keyword information in the various skills has a direct effect on their search functionality.
Personally, I don't endorse people unless I have had a personal experience of their expertise in that area. I think it is important that we all follow this rule. It's the only way to ensure the quality and trust value of such a feature.
In the 2017 version of the platform, you can tell what skills you have endorsed someone for because it shows as a tick.
Optimising LinkedIn's Skills Section
It is vital that you go into your Skills section and control what your connections might be asked to endorse you for.
Click on the Add a new skill link. This will bring up a box in which you can add the best keywords for you and your business.
Start typing in the skill that you want to add and some options will appear in a dropdown menu for you to select.
You can add in skills that are not in the dropdown menu - sometimes.
You will see a toggle switch at the bottom. Do you want to update your network on the changes that you are making to your Skills? If it is a new skill that you want to publicise, then the answer is probably yes.
Deleting or Reordering Skills
Next to the Add a new skill link is a pencil. Click that to edit your skills.
A new pop up will appear and each of your skills will be listed with an X to the left. Click that to delete any that do not reflect what you do.
This is also where you can reorder your skills so that you can put the most important ones into the top 3 positions - that will make them the featured skills that appear when someone first views your profile. Click on the three horizontal lines to the right of the screen next to your chosen skill. Then drag it to the new position.
Make sure you click the big blue Save button!
Hide endorsements from specific individuals
You may decide that you don't want an endorsement from a particular individual to show on your profile. You can sort this out by clicking on the Skill that has been endorsed. A list of endorsers will appear and you can toggle the switch at the right to stop a particular connection's endorsement from being visible.
Skills and Endorsements is a very useful way to start conversations on LinkedIn, as well as to show your appreciation of your talented connections. Use it wisely!
Find out more about how to use LinkedIn for business.
LinkedIn is a great way to identify prospects and connect with them but, like all relationships, it requires a lot of work on a consistent basis. Rather than trying to work out who might need your product or service and then starting to persuade them to buy it from you, suppose there was a way that prospects who actually needed your help right now could FIND YOU?
Click the image below to learn how to get customers to come to you.