What is the Etiquette for LinkedIn Endorsements?
LinkedIn recently rolled out a new feature for its profiles without much explanation called endorsements. If you have a LinkedIn account, you likely have already seen a few emails with the news that someone has endorsed you. Can and should you endorse this person back? What is the endorsement etiquette?
Endorsement vs. Recommendation
Before knowing the etiquette, you need to understand what an endorsement is and what it isn’t. An endorsement is different than a recommendation: While a recommendation requires a “connection” to write a paragraph or so about your work, an endorsement requires much less effort. Remember those skills and areas of expertise you added to your profile? Endorsements were created as a “one-click” way to give kudos to a contact and they are based on the skills you have entered into your profile, according to the LinkedIn blog.
Now, when a contact looks at your profile, they are greeted with a message box at the top, asking them if they want to endorse you for any of the skills you’ve listed. If they choose to endorse you, the page will then ask if the user wants to endorse skills from other contacts. Then, under your “Skills and Expertise” section, LinkedIn now lists every skill along with how many have endorsed you for each one and who did the endorsing.
Having skills that are endorsed provides your profile with more credibility (along with the LinkedIn network overall). People who visit your profile will know you didn’t just list skills to get noticed, because others are verifying that you do indeed have those skills.
LinkedIn Endorsement Etiquette
What should you do when someone endorses one or more of your skills? No LinkedIn endorsement etiquette has been established officially, but this is a social network so get into the “spirit of reciprocity.”
If you know the person who endorsed you, take a look at their profile and endorse the skills you know they have. Much like on Twitter when you follow someone who followed you, this gives a little bit back to the person who endorsed you. You don’t necessarily have to endorse the same number of skills that a contact did, but you endorse all the skills you know are accurate (or have experience with)
You can also use endorsements as a prospecting tool. You know LinkedIn will send them an email with your name in the subject line once you endorse them, so it provides a way for you to get in front of a prospect while also giving them kudos. If you are getting ready to send out prospecting materials or if you want to have a conversation with them soon, providing an endorsement creates a small feeling of obligation that could tip the scales in your favor.
Grab a cup of coffee, log in and endorse a few clients, a few colleagues and a few prospects so you are an active part of the social network call LinkedIn, it may even lead to a sale.