The Best Way to Increase Your LinkedIn Endorsements

You’ve tried every LinkedIn trick in the book. You’ve uploaded a flattering profile picture, filled the boxes with your most notable achievements, and reached out to every company on your “Places to Work For” list. And yet, every time you check your inbox, you feel like Captain Jack Sparrow having a conversation with his first mate, Mr. Gibbs, on recruiting 100 souls for the Flying Dutchman:

“How are we going?”

“Including those four? That gives us… four.”

Considering the field you’re in, the salt just feels more painful in the wound. Who’d want to hire a marketer or advertiser who can’t even sell his or her services to potential employers?

Well, there is one more trick that you haven’t tried yet. It’s called “Endorsements” and it can transform your LinkedIn profile from a lifeless dud into a swaggering stud. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)

What Are “Endorsements?”

Back in 2012, LinkedIn figured out the “Recommendations” feature wasn’t working out. Back then a user had to click “Recommend Contact” on a contact’s profile page, and type out a lengthy, non-generic message explaining why the contact was, like, totally awesome.

Now, this might have worked for users who had fewer than 10 connections, or those with time-turners, I suppose. But for those who had a gazillion connections… well, good luck crafting a well-thought out recommendation for each one of them.

So LinkedIn came up with “Endorsements.” They look like this, if you log on to a contact’s profile page:

LinkedIn Top Skills

See those “+” signs after every skill? By clicking on one of them, you “endorse” your contact’s proficiency in that particular skill. For example, if I click “Copy Editing” in the picture above, I’m effectively saying: “Hey, Mr. Recruiter, this person is a fantastic editor. Better keep an eye out for her!” The greater the number of people who endorse that particular skill of yours, the more potential recruiters will be convinced that you’re not just tooting your own horn.

That’s how simple, and brilliant, this feature is.

Why Should I Care About “Endorsements”?

You should care about “Endorsements” because:

  • Endorsements could play into your future search result ranking
  • They’re a simple way of sharing your skills
  • They show you can rally professional connections to vouch for your talents

To use “Endorsements” without coming across as a creep, or a spammer, or both, follow these steps:

1. Polish Your Profile

You need to give people a good reason to endorse you, other than “you showed up on my ‘People You May Know’ list.” Know how to optimize your LinkedIn profile first, before you send out any requests for endorsements.

2. Make Yourself “Endorse-able”

Click your “Profile” tab, then click “Edit Profile” on the drop-down menu. Scroll down to the “Skills & Endorsements” section, then click “Add Skill.” You should be able to see something like this:

LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements

Adjust your endorsement settings as necessary. If you want, you can add/update/delete/re-order your skills. It’s better to arrange your skills according to proficiency level, so that it’ll be easier for contacts to endorse the ones you want to endorse.

3. Create a “Request for Endorsement” Template

Scott Tousley has a great post on Portfolium about this. By asking your contacts to endorse you for specific skills, you can very quickly build out your endorsements. The screenshot below is from Tousley’s post.

LinkedIn Message for Endorsement

Notice how Scott’s first question is, “What skills do you want to be endorsed for?” rather than “Can you please endorse me?” The first question spells out how your contacts will benefit from endorsing you; the second one sounds desperate and spammy. This is not how you want to come across to people you need a favor from.

Also, Tousley specifies which skills he wants to be endorsed for and keeps them at a manageable number to avoid overwhelming contacts. Sure, it only takes one click to endorse, but making people click a dozen skills at once is just too much. Plus, it keeps things targeted, so you can really push the four or five skills you want to showcase.

Basically, keep your request simple, straight to the point, and polite — just like any other message sent online.

4. Choose the Contacts Who’ll Endorse You

In his post, Tousley suggests you “Select All” your connections. For those of you who think that approach is a little too aggressive, here’s my suggestion: Follow his instructions, up until the part where he says, “This will now only show your connections.”

Since your connections are already sorted according to “Recent Conversation,” it’s easy to figure out which of them are most likely to endorse you. Tick the boxes next to your top (insert number here) contacts, and send them your “Request for Endorsement.” LinkedIn will allow you to send a message to 50 people at once – just make sure you uncheck the box that says, “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses” so you don’t seem spammy!

If you have time, you can personalize each message and send them individually, beginning with “Hey, (insert connection’s name here).” Again, you want endorsements to be rooted in strong, genuine relationships with your contacts — not in your desire to game the LinkedIn system.

5. Follow Up on Your Promise

You did promise to “endorse you, if you endorse me first,” right? So, if someone messages you, “Hey, bud, I endorsed you! Where’s my endorsement?” you’d better be willing to return the favor. Otherwise, the gods of karma will swoop down on you and bite you.

And presto! You have a near instant boost to your “Endorsement” numbers — without a smudge of “spam” or “creep.” Congrats!

Have any other advice for how to increase your endorsements on LinkedIn? Share your experiences below.