Making Your Endorsements Work for YouEndorsements have been fairly quiet over the past half year, resting a bit while LinkedIn was changing everything around them. But today, you can edit and control the look of your endorsements right in your Profile.
For good or for bad, endorsements are now entrenched in the LinkedIn environment. Having lots of endorsements may help others find you in search or attract recruiters. (Maybe.) In any case, having a series of skills showing photos of endorsers will never hurt your profile, so you might as well take a few minutes to present them well.
How to Edit Your LinkedIn Endorsements
With your profile section now always in editing mode (see our earlier post, Profiling LinkedIn’s New Profile Features), it’s easy to edit your endorsements, too. Just scroll down to that area of your profile. (You need to be using a browser on your notebook or desktop computer. Your phone and tablet apps won’t let you do this.)
Hover your cursor over the section and editing boxes magically appear. You can click on the box +Add skill or click on any of the arrows – they all bring you to the same control area (a bit of sloppy interface design, in my opinion).
By the way, the up and down arrow in upper right of the above illustration allows you to move the Endorsements section higher or lower on your profile.
Editing your skills
Pruning My Own Endorsements
Recently, I decided to take a look at my own LinkedIn Endorsements and did a bit of pruning and re-organizing, to make them more effective. Here’s the process I followed. Feel free to do the same for your own Endorsements.
Check for Silly Added Skills
First, I checked for any added skills from others. Visitors to your profile can suggest new skills and endorse them. You need to approve them, but others have found strange skills that they accidentally added to their account, such as underwater basketweaving, dumpster diving, or piranha farming. Since I’m no celebrity, I found I haven’t attracted people exhibiting that type of humor. Pity. Easy to check this one off my list.
Check for Duplicate Skills
I was a bit surprised, however, to find some duplicate skills: both nonprofit and non-profit, grant writing and grants, and event planning and event management. Each of these skills had several endorsements; usually one having many more than the other. Not only did this dilute the total number of endorsements for those skills, it also made my skill list look a little bit sloppy and unfocused. I lost a few endorsements getting rid of the duplicates, but not many.
Pruning my Skills
LinkedIn allows you to show up to fifty skills in your endorsements section. For most people, this is WAAAY too many. It makes your skills list too unfocused and visitors (including recruiters) don’t want to spend time wading through a long list trying to find the exact skills they are looking for. (The unanswered question is whether having a smaller skill set affects how you show up in LinkedIn search. My guess is that it is better to have fewer skills with more endorsement for each skill, but LinkedIn isn’t saying.)
It’s also good to prune your list of skills to those that support your LinkedIn goals. This is particularly important if you are job hunting on LinkedIn. Outdated skills won’t help your job search and may make you look like an old fogey who doesn’t keep current with technology. (Yes, former PBX operators, Fax technicians and COBOL programmers, I’m talkin’ to you!)
I trashed several skills that either were a bit outdated or irrelevant. Microsoft Office may be a relevant skill, but doesn’t set me apart from anybody else. I also removed email marketing, publishing, interviews, concert production, and team building. These are all real skills, but not what I’m currently focusing on and most had only a relatively few endorsements, anyway. I eliminated a total of eleven skills, in all.
Re-Order your Skills
LinkedIn makes it easy to change the order you display your skills. This is particularly important since LinkedIn promotes the top four or five skills to your visitors as suggestions for more endorsements. By default, LinkedIn shows the top 10 skills in order of the number of endorsements.
Recruiters and other visitors are unlikely to read down a long list of skills and endorsements just to find the one or two skills they are interested in. It’s better to make your best skills easy to find.
I decided to put the skills I wanted to promote on top, even if they weren’t the biggest vote getters. I also grouped them: with Blogging, Writing and Editing on top. I grouped Nonprofits and Social Media next as areas I’m involved in and have expertise. I followed that with communication skills: Teaching, Public Speaking, WordPress, Fundraising and Newsletters.
Only one of these, WordPress has fewer than the 12 endorsements to fill the line of mini-photos. Hopefully, this will encourage a few endorsers to select that one, too. (Hint, hint, first-level connections!)
Select Which Photos to Show
I also decided to do some minor organizing of the photos, particularly on my top seven skills. Unfortunately, LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to change the order of which photos show up for any particular skill. It does give you the option of showing or not showing certain photos, though.
Why would you want to not show some endorsers?
- If there are too many “ghost” images (of people who haven’t added a photo to LinkedIn) it suggests that your connections are either not active on LinkedIn or that some might be fake accounts. The endorsements section looks much more impressive if all you see are photos and not greyed-out icons. (Endorsers, think of your own priorities, too. If you don’t have a photo on your LinkedIn profile, take care of that before spending time endorsing your friends.)
- The photo is of somebody you don’t like or you don’t want to be associated with. Also, a few of you might not want to be endorsed by your ex, and having lots of endorsements from Mom or Dad might be a bit embarrassing if noticed (unless your name is Chelsea Clinton). Thanks should go to Mom and Pop for trying, though.
- The person making the endorsement is not in your field or has no real knowledge of your skills in that area. Some people don’t mind as long as the endorsement is there. Some people do care. You can choose.
- You might not want to have all the same photos showing on each skill.
- If there is an endorser who you really, really would like to show on your profile, you can’t reorder the photos yourself. The only option is to hide other photos until your favorites show. This will take some trial and error to accomplish. (Better yet, see if they’ll give you a recommendation instead – but that’s another article.)
I didn’t spend a lot of time working on this, but I did eliminate the ghost icons from the most of the skills on my list. As other people continue to endorse you, you may need to monitor the look of your top skills.
Examine the results.
When you’re all finished, go back and check how your LinkedIn endorsements look. Have any new ghost figures shown up in your top skills? Do the top skills represent your best work (or your future career goals)? Does the same person show up in every category? If so, fine tune the results.
Check out my finished Endorsements section on my LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/andybrandt1 . See if you can match my artistic profile photos with the originals. Feel free to click to visit their profiles, too. (If you’re already connected, give them an endorsement, too.)
If the rest of your profile is sloppy or inconsistent with your LinkedIn goals, just fixing your Endorsements isn’t going to suddenly make your profile look better and attract lots of recruiters or customers. However, if everything else is looking professional, take a few minutes to spruce up your Endorsements, too. It’s especially easy now and can give your profile just a bit more polish.
First, thanks to all my LinkedIn connections who did go through the trouble of endorsing me for various skills, even though I made it a point never to directly ask for them.
Artwork of the blocks of endorsement and other profile photos are by the author, from screen shots altered in Photoshop, with the help of Topaz Labs’ Impression and Simplify plugins.
Other screen shots are by the author, too.