Time to confess. Not all my connections on LinkedIn are people I know well or have worked with. So I do get a little surprise when someone endorses me for a skill that they have not directly experienced or seen me display.
When you are building out your profile LinkedIn will tell you that listing your skills will increase the chances of opportunities coming to you by 4 times. The system is pretty constant in encouraging you to endorse other peoples skills as well, although you can turn that notification off - here are the instructions Opting Out of Endorsements
BUT before you do, ask yourself what is the real value of having your skills listed AND THEN getting them endorsed by your connections?
Just to quickly explain the difference between a skill endorsement and a recommendation;
A skill endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse the skills listed on your profile. There is not an automatic way to request an endorsement. A written recommendation isn't included with this feature. Learn more about skill endorsements.
A recommendation is a written statement of recommendation from a connection. You can request recommendations from your connections, as well as proactively recommend your connections. Learn more about recommendations.
More on recommendations another time. Three reasons you do want to spend some time on skills and getting endorsements for them;
1. It cannot be confirmed, because LinkedIn keep their search algorithms a closely guarded secret, but it would make sense that Skills are one of the criteria that would help you come up in a keyword search by a recruiter or someone looking to buy your products or services. This might be especially relevant if you have a particular industry certification or technology skill for example.
2. You can position your expertise by highlighting top skills first. The profile editor lets you rank the skills in the order you want them to be and the first 10 show up in summaries of profiles as your Top Skills. This can help you if you are looking to re-position yourself or highlight areas that you are not so well known for or want to gain more experience in.
3. Skills are now custom. This may well stem from the fact that new jobs are being invented all the time so it is hard to put everyones skills in a few boxes. Some people choose to have fun with this and that can be a way to display a side of your personal brand that perhaps others do not see or know as well.
You cannot specifically ask for endorsements of your skills from your connections, at least not through the system. But that does not stop you sending a message to someone (see last weeks notice to understand the new LinkedIn messaging - Emojis on LinkedIn) and asking them to specifically go to your profile and check some of the skills for you.
For the full instructions on skills and endorsements you can go to LinkedIn Help - Skill Endorsements Overview
My own rules, when it comes to endorsing a connections skills, I think are fairly easy:
First that I have to have seen or experienced that skill.
Second I do not feel obliged to return the favour, but I always will if I honestly can.
What do you think about skills and endorsements, is it something you are using?
P.S. If you happened upon this tip from a connection sharing it or on social media and would like to be kept up to date with future tips and tools for LinkedIn sign up by clicking here. You will also receive our increasingly popular "5 Steps to Increasing Your Presence" report which covers 5 of the key 22 branding actions you need to take with your LinkedIn profile to increase opportunities coming to you by up to 40 times.
Here is what one recipient had to say: "I think it is fantastic and extremely relevant. As you pointed out, my role has changed - but unfortunately, my linked in profile has not. I will be trying to put in place some of the ideas that you have offered."