If you're a LinkedIn user, you have probably noticed that each time you log into the professional social network, you have notifications signaling that you have been "Endorsed" by someone in your network. LinkedIn added this option over a year ago but I feel that most people still don't fully understand the function of the Endorsement option or the difference between Endorsements and Recommendations. Therefore, I'll explain the difference between the two and how each option can help you to expand your LinkedIn network and increase your number of business connections. LinkedIn Endorsements
LinkedIn Endorsements are a quick and simple way to endorse the skills of your connections. This feature is beneficial in the fact that it allows the skills of LinkedIn users to be showcased in groups within their profile. For instance, for someone in Sponsorship Sales, their top skill endorsements would most likely be Sponsorship, Marketing, Advertising and Sales.
Having these skills highlighted on your LinkedIn profile, in theory, proves your top skills by the endorsement of your connections, however, actually doing this does not require much effort. To endorse a connection, all one has to do is simply click on a button that says "Endorse" beside the skill that you choose. There is also an option to endorse several skills at once on the LinkedIn homepage, which makes for even less effort from your connections to endorse you. The downside to this feature is that anyone can endorse you for a skill, which could lead to false information on your profile. People who have never worked with you can blindly endorse a skill that is not within your scope of work, which could be confusing to those browsing your profile and disrupt your personal brand. Thankfully, though, there is an option to remove false endorsements. To do this, click on the Edit tab at the top of your LinkedIn profile, then scroll down to the Endorsements feature to remove any skills that you don't want listed. You can also completely turn off the Endorsements feature so that no endorsements are made on your behalf if this option will work better for you.
LinkedIn Recommendations require much more effort and authenticity compared to Endorsements. Writing these recommendations takes MUCH more time than a simple endorsement and also requires specific fields to be filled in order to be completed, including position title and the relationship that you had or currently have with the person you are recommending. Recommendations also hold prime real estate on LinkedIn profiles below each appropriate position held as well as in the "Recommendations" box located at the bottom of the profile, which in turn will appeal more to the eye of those scouting your profile.
LinkedIn Recommendations are a great way to show appreciation for business partners, co-workers, and former or current employees and hopefully result in the reciprocation of LinkedIn Recommendations written for you as well. Think of LinkedIn Recommendations as a public and permanent testimonial... only write Recommendations for those that you would proudly refer to your friends and colleagues.
A Golden Rule to remember with using these features on LinkedIn is to be authentic in incorporating them in your LinkedIn strategy. Do not endorse or recommend others in hopes that they will do the same for you. Instead, be genuine helping others and those people may return the favor in the future.
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