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What is an Endorsement Worth?

With elation, curiosity and confusion, I was notified that my daughter had endorsed me for Advertising, Social Media Marketing and Events using  LinkedIn’s Endorsement mechanism. It was awkward getting her stamp of approval for professional prowess -- I could see perhaps Love and Understanding, Financial Support and Always Being There.


I was unfamiliar with the feature at the time. Then I started getting endorsements from people with whom I’ve worked, touting me in areas that often drew their ire and criticism. I sent emails thanking them. Then realizing a gift rather than a card was more appropriate, I turned around and endorsed them for a skill that brought back fond memories.


Is the thinking that anyone looking to do business with me will peruse my endorsements and think I’m popular and proficient? (Hopefully they’ll miss the genetic resemblance in my daughter’s picture.) Will more endorsements boost my standing on search engines? Or is LinkedIn seeking a new means to entertain loyal users tired of collecting more connections than they actually know or know what to do with?


You can identify on LinkedIn up to 50 areas of skill and expertise for which you can be endorsed.  I have received about 100 endorsements – where does that rate on the Endorsement Meter? I have categories for which no one has endorsed me. Is that as bad as an endorsement is good? Should I eliminate them? I added three categories this morning to see if I could stimulate some action – Neatness, Ping Pong and Breakfast Science, which I used to replace Account Management, B2B and Conferences. Anyone who has ever witnessed the order in my office or my closets, come on, let’s hear from you!


I don’t believe recruitment managers will take this feature seriously any time soon to help size up job applicants. I concur with the others who have blogged on the topic and created discussion threads that LinkedIn’s Recommendation feature is more sincere and meaningful, and serves as a much niftier reference than a collection of happy faces.


What if LinkedIn limited the number of endorsements one could make? That way, a recruiter would know that of the 25 endorsements Barack Obama was allotted, he chose me as one of them. That suddenly has relevance. Or what if LinkedIn rolled the Recommendation feature into the Endorsements? A special icon next to an Endorsement picture, for example, means there is amplification provided by the endorser with more elaborate insights and perspectives.


If social media is designed to stimulate relationships and reengage people with dormant contacts, then I can buy into LinkedIn Endorsements on some level. Much as I try to make it my business to send a direct message to anyone with whom I connect, I also can use a received endorsement as a reason to reach out directly to the endorser rather than simply extend automatic endorsement reciprocity. Isn’t that what networking is all about? Let’s keep an eye on this interesting tool, for which the jury is still out. And while it is far from perfect, with just a little tinkering it is not that far away from becoming worthy of my endorsement.

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