Careful Use of LinkedIn Endorsements

March 07, 2013

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LinkedIn now makes it very easy for users to endorse skills listed by their connections. Typically, as soon as you open your LinkedIn window, there it is...that box with four of your connections asking you to endorse them for specific skills.

LinkedIn makes it very easy to do so. Simply click Endorse all, and you have done just that. Then the box disappears and you can get back to your LinkedIn business. You may also choose to click on individuals if you do not want to endorse them all, and you can search for other endorsement suggestions.

So, here's the sticky point to consider:

While you likely want to support your connections, what does it say about you if you endorse someone for a skill you are not actually certain they possess?

Every endorsement you make of someone else is a reflection of you. While they may be taken less seriously than an official recommendation letter, they still represent you.

Consider that if you do not know first-hand whether someone is truly skilled in an area, providing them with an endorsement may actually be a breach of trust. It can potentially devalue your word and decrease the respect others have for you and your recommendations.

While many on LinkedIn approach endorsements as just a friendly way to lend support, consider that there may be ways to provide support to your connections and still resist the temptation to endorse someone for a skill you truly do not know that they possess.

Sharing their content is one way to do this. Also, if you truly want to be able to endorse them, then perhaps it's time to setup a meeting so you can get to know first-hand what it is that they do and the ways they do it well.

So, the next time that endorsement box pops up, consider carefully whether the recommended endorsements are a true reflection of who and what you would want to recommend.