Why LinkedIn Endorsements Are Not Good For Your Professional Brand.

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LinkedIn, the popular professional website for recruiters, career professionals and job seekers  is the first thing that pops to mind when you are looking for a professional connection, some old friends, former employers and colleagues or a future prospect.

Head hunters also use this website to search and recruit top talents. And for job seekers, people at the other end of the spectrum; they try to get in the web of prospective employers.

Just last September, LinkedIn created a feature that allows its users to endorse people for specific skills; it’s a simple way to mark up a connection for a skill you’ve seen them demonstrate. Overtime, your connections also return the favour by endorsing you for some skills listed in your profile.

Skills Endorsements seem to be the most popular thing on LinkedIn now, well, mostly because it’s in everybody’s face.

You log in to your LinkedIn account and you see a huge banner asking you to endorse a friend or connection for a particular skill. Or a string of them.

Of course, there are good sides to this feature.

Endorsements give you an idea around what the world thinks of your career image.

Endorsements teach you to include relevant keywords on your profile and titles instead of just trying to fill up buzzwords – you’ll see a whole lot of these buzzwords in LinkedIn profiles.

The feedback you get from Endorsements allows you to pay more attention to your professional brand.

LinkedIn easily picks out some skills that describes the nature of your work or expertise by fetching keywords in your profiles and title. So you can tell whether people perceive you as a communications expert or if they think you are good at customer service.

But the bad side to Skills Endorsements, which is quite obvious; this is more noise than value.

Sounds crude but it is true, many people have complained about receiving Endorsements from people who are totally strange to them, people who they’ve never worked with or spoken to – in person on online.

Because of its simplicity, Endorsements have become more like playing a welcome game on LinkedIn. Just click, click, click and some people receive email notifications that they’ve been endorsed for one skill or the other.

But that’s not all, it’s not certain if an increase in LinkedIn Endorsements on your profile automatically increases your ranking with potential employers or makes you look better to your connections. Perhaps it does. We hope it does because it would be a total waste of your energy relishing the thought of a good-looking profile fraught with endorsements for different skills.

I jumped in excitement the first time I received a few endorsements. But I didn’t understand its seemingly minimal value until I compared it with LinkedIn Recommendations.

Unlike the LinkedIn Endorsement feature, recommendations require a detailed penned thought describing a person professionally. Whoever writes a recommendation for you spends some time to think about what you do and tells it to the world in his/her own voice.

Bottomline, endorsements are not the best things you need for your career, at least, not until LinkedIn gives us better value with endorsements, or a clearer explanation.

And while we wait for that, seek for recommendations, they are a better check for your expertise, it does everything Endorsements do with deeper insight.

Endorsements however, need no serious thought, more like a survey; if a connection feels you are good at customer service when in fact, you have nothing to do in the customer service field or even in the sales department, an endorser might click anyway, after all; it’s a way to get in your good book.

Then it doesn’t count for much value.

Skills Endorsements are good, but Recommendations are way better.

Lola Olakeye