I just received yet another endorsement from someone I have never worked with for a skill that they can’t possibly know I possess. However, I have also received many endorsements from clients and colleagues, who do know what I do and appreciate my skills.
So are endorsements useless or valuable?
Obviously, LinkedIn recommendations carry a lot more weight. They are prominently displayed on LinkedIn Profile pages. They can demonstrate your professionalism and expertise in the words of someone who has taken the time to open your Profile page, find and click on the correct link, answer some general questions, and then craft a thoughtful recommendation.
An endorsement requires only a simple mouse click. Add to that the fact that LinkedIn displays a suggested list of people you might want to endorse on your own Home page. (You don’t even have to find the Profile of the person you are endorsing.) It really could not be easier. And therein lies the problem. Because it is so easy, there is a temptation to endorse anyone who shows up at the top of the page for whatever skill is listed.
So are endorsements useless?
Maybe not. Since endorsements are graphed on your Profile (with the endorser’s image) the graph can be a powerful way to showcase your skills. The more endorsements for a certain skill, the higher your credibility.
Finally, LinkedIn, at its heart, is a social network, and endorsements can be a way to connect with people – which is the goal of social networks. A notification of the endorsement is delivered to your email, which opens the door to a conversation – and who knows where that conversation might lead. It really doesn’t matter why someone endorsed you, or how easy it was, it is still a contact. The smart Linkedin User will use that contact to open a door.