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2/22/2013
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LinkedIn Endorsements: Do's And Don'ts

Love them or hate them, you can't just ignore LinkedIn Endorsements. Here's expert advice on how to deal with social's new head-scratcher.

It's all about the keywords. In today's environment, your "client-server development skills" might not be as desirable as, say, your "social," "mobile" and "cloud" development experience. Being endorsed for these skills looks good to any prospective partners or employers in need of them, but you need to make sure you have highlighted that specific experience in your profile.

"If you're looking to utilize LinkedIn's Endorsements feature, you must first create a concise and direct list of skills," said Heather Huhman, a career and workplace expert, and founder and president of Come Recommended. "Building your skills list will provide your connections with an opportunity to actually endorse you when they come across your page. … It's similar, but less helpful, than a [LinkedIn] recommendation."

But what about the tit-for-tat issue? If someone endorses you, are you breaching any unwritten rules of etiquette by not endorsing him or her back?

"Many users fall into the trap of endorsing others in a way of returning the favor," said Huhman. "While this act isn't necessarily troubling in itself, endorsing individuals whose skill sets you aren't familiar with can lead to problems. As a rule of thumb, you should never endorse anyone for a skill you're not 100% certain about. You'd never write a recommendation letter for someone you didn't know, and the same goes for a skill endorsement -- even if it is on a social platform."

What if you receive an endorsement from someone you barely know or remember? Definitely don't endorse the person back, say experts, but consider it an opportunity to reconnect. You never know where the relationship might lead.

"If you're interested in reconnecting with this person, consider reaching out to them through a message," said Huhman. "LinkedIn Endorsements are a great way to spark a conversation with someone you've previously worked with."

Linda Varrell, president of Broadreach Public Relations, agreed. "If you have lost touch with someone and they recently endorsed you, it is a great way to reconnect." Varrell recommends responding with a short note saying something like, "Thank you so much for the endorsement. I see that you are still with XX. Would love to have a coffee and reconnect."

In the grand scheme of things, say experts, Endorsements can't be ignored, but you shouldn't spend too much time and effort on cultivating or curating them.

"Take Endorsements seriously but not too seriously," said Breitbarth. "I believe most people consider Endorsements to be similar to Likes on Facebook: Everyone knows some people make them thoughtfully and others make them flippantly. Thus, I don't feel it's necessary to spend a lot of time screening them."

What is your experience with Endorsements? Have you been endorsed? Done any endorsing? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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Mary255
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Mary255,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2013 | 7:35:58 PM
re: LinkedIn Endorsements: Do's And Don'ts
Are you sure these "endorsements" are legit? Then do I receive endorsements from strangers, acquaintances and, in fact, one particular person had repeated "endorsed" me - like 10+ times. I was thinking that these "endorsements" were accidentally triggered, so I get very careful when I view other people's profiles, for fear that I had endorsed them inadvertently (embarrassingly).
LinkedForBusinessGrowth
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LinkedForBusinessGrowth,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/28/2013 | 2:39:34 AM
re: LinkedIn Endorsements: Do's And Don'ts
Very valid points about using LinkedIn Endorsements to test your branding. It's relevant to see what skills others are endorsing you for. If they don't match the skills you're trying to sell, you have some work to do.
NAFOD
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NAFOD,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/26/2013 | 8:53:43 PM
re: LinkedIn Endorsements: Do's And Don'ts
Several times a week I get requests to endorse complete strangers. It is becoming a total nuisance. I was told you need 500 endorsements to be considered serious about networking. I guess I'll never make it...I only have 67. However, 95% of my work comes directly from referrals from existing clients. I'm better off spending my time networking with them.

Frank H. Keis
Developing Visions, Inc.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/26/2013 | 1:13:10 AM
re: LinkedIn Endorsements: Do's And Don'ts
Thank you for your comment. Wow, that would really change the game, wouldn't it?

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Income True
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Income True,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/25/2013 | 7:58:13 PM
re: LinkedIn Endorsements: Do's And Don'ts
Linkedin is Finally Giving SEO Weight to Skill Endorsements:

I'm not quite sure how this works yet, but Linkedin is beginning to give some SEO weight to skill endorsement keywords now.

For example, I went to "people" on my Linkedin home page and typed in "System Testing." David Carpin (open endorser) came up #3 on the first page of Linkedin's people search for "System Testing," yet those words are not listed anywhere else on his profile, except as a skill.

I did the same for "Property & Casualty Insurance" using Linkedin's people search. Open endorser, "Mary (Wassink) Ganis" comes up #6. for "Property & Casualty Insurance." These keywords are listed as one of her skills, yet those words do not appear anywhere else on her profile.

Also what I found interesting, is that listing skills that are not listed as Linkedin skills per se, are still found as well. This could be very helpful if something is a popular keyword at Google Adwords, but isn't yet listed as a skill using Linkedin's Skill & Expertise tool.

I listed "Meaningful Specifics" as a skill and my profile comes up number one, although I did not find that skill using Linkedin's Skill & Expertise tool, so use Google's ad word tool to look for keywords also.

Kind regards,

Ed Brophy
Open Endorser Group

"Open Endorsers are Open Networkers...only they have more skills."
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