In the past, LinkedIn recommendations were the best and only way to gain support from fellow LinkedIn professionals but they were not all that easy to get. Enter LinkedIn endorsements, the newish one-click way to recognize a particular professional skill set for your connections. LinkedIn endorsements are the latest “it” thing to get and while endorsements do not hold the same weight as a LinkedIn recommendation and don’t appear to affect search just yet – there is little doubt they will soon be a vital indicator in LinkedIn search results and significant professional social proof.
Like any new social media feature, there is often confusion on best practices and proper etiquette for usage and LinkedIn endorsements are no exception. One of the most common LinkedIn endorsement etiquette questions I’ve been receiving is whether or not it is ok to request a LinkedIn endorsement. Not only is it the most common question, it is also one of the most debatable.
I reached out to my favorite LinkedIn mentor, Rod Arnold, for his take on LinkedIn endorsement etiquette and he is a firm believer that endorsements should be freely given by peers as it is a simple way for them to vouch your skills and expertise but they shouldn’t be requested. According to Rod, creator of the popular Boom Social LinkedIntensity online training program, one of the biggest mistakes he sees people make is trying to use LinkedIn like Facebook when it is not. He makes a great point that Facebook "likes" are given based on a matter of opinion of whether or not you “like” something. Endorsements are different in that someone is putting their credibility and reputation on the line by endorsing you. Conversely, you should also only give endorsements to those whose skills or expertise you actually do know and can personally endorse.
Is it ok to ask for a LinkedIn endorsement? I have heard varying opinions on this question but one thing is for sure – endorsements should be freely given by your peers as it's a way for them to vouch for your skills or expertise and should never be requested. LinkedIn is not Facebook, and a lot of people make the mistake of using it that way. Facebook likes are given based on a matter of opinion of whether or not you "like" something. Endorsements are different in that someone is putting their credibility and reputation on the line by clicking that endorse button. Conversely, you should also only give endorsements to those whose skills or expertise you actually endorse. When it comes to giving endorsements, Rod recommends first asking yourself, "Would I recommend this person's expertise to my family and friends?" If the answer is yes, give the endorsement.
Rod went further and offered the following quick tips for receiving endorsements:
- Give them to the people who you would like an endorsement from. More often than not, they will endorse you in return, not out of guilt, but as a way to return the favor.
- Position yourself as an expert, and answer questions, especially within LinkedIn groups.
- Make sure you have your most important skills listed in the skills section of your profile so you are more likely to receive endorsements for the preferred services you offer.
- Keep yourself in the forefront, and build up your credibility, and the endorsements will come rolling in.
Curious, what do you think is the best LinkedIn endorsement etiquette? Do you have any tips on giving and receiving endorsements you would like to share?