LinkedIn debuted a new feature known as LinkedIn Endorsements on September 24, 2012.  My first reaction was an eye-roll and a head-shake.  “Here we go again,” I thought.  I am an open networker on LinkedIn so I constantly receive requests for recommendations.  I wouldn’t mind giving recommendations except the requests are primarily from people I have never even met, much less worked with.  It turns out that LinkedIn Endorsements works a lot differently though…and may be okay after all.

In a nutshell, the LinkedIn Endorsements feature works as a way for people to acknowledge the skills and expertise for people within their networks. Users have been able to add skills to their profiles for a while now.  This has provided recruiters or others who are looking for individuals with certain skill sets to find them.  Now, with LinkedIn Endorsements, this entire concept can be taken up a notch.  According to LinkedIn Connection Director, Nicole Williams, “Getting an endorsement from a trusted contact enhances your skill set and shows that someone else has put their trust in you.”

So far, so good.  I have often called LinkedIn the Facebook for professionals.  Indeed, the LinkedIn platform has started to look a little more like Facebook these days with the ability to “Like” and comment on posts by others within your network.  Also, like Facebook, one individual invites another to join them in their network – then the invitee must accept that invitation in order for them to be fully connected.  I have spoken with coworkers who only connect with people they actually know on LinkedIn so their networks remain smaller and more tight-knit.  Then there are other users, myself included, who have taken the “open networker” direction.  LinkedIn Endorsements for those with a smaller number of followers may be more personal and have a different impact than those received by someone like me.  Then again, the skills for which I am being endorsed are related to networking, social media, and blogging.  In this case, some people in my network do have first-hand knowledge without ever having met me personally.  Which LinkedIn Endorsements are better then?  Well, as for right now, they are exactly the same because there is no scale involved.

Have you received or given any LinkedIn Endorsements yet?  As I mentioned at the beginning of my post I was extremely skeptical at first.  I have received a few and wasn’t quite sure what all the buzz was about.  This morning, I took the leap and gave out a few LinkedIn Endorsements of my own.  I have to admit that it was a rewarding and gratifying experience.  I hope the recipients realize that these aren’t just gimmicks or to be given and received lightly.  Hopefully they will also see that LinkedIn Endorsements may be okay after all.


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