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LinkedIn endorsements have really taken off in the past few months. LinkedIn recently announced that there have been over 1 billion endorsements made so far. These endorsements are extremely valuable because the more you have, they higher your profile will rank for each skill. For instance, if you have one hundred professionals endorsing you for your “social media” skills, then when a recruiter is looking for someone with those skills, you will appear higher than others. Endorsements will help your profile become more visible on LinkedIn, giving you more opportunities as a result.

The best way to gain more endorsements is to grow your network and to endorse other people first. When you endorse others, they will naturally feel like they have to return the favor. Endorsements make sense because there are over 200 million people on LinkedIn and recruiters don’t have time to sift through all of them so they look for people who have the most endorsements for relevant skills. Competitively, you can’t afford to ignore LinkedIn endorsements.

Endorsements also tell you how you’re branded online. If you’re in the marketing profession and you receive endorsements for your marketing skills, then you are coming off the right way. If you are getting endorsements for skills that aren’t relevant to your profession or your career goals, then you have to rethink your branding efforts. You want to make sure that you are known for skills that align with your career goals so that you attract the right opportunities on LinkedIn.

In my presentations, I always have a slide that says “self-impression = perception”. Those who make that equation equal are branding themselves effectively. When you’re coming off the way you want to it will make you more successful and happy. You can do this by changing the keywords in your profiles to match those that best represent where you’re going, not where you are or have been.

Pre-order Dan Schawbel’s highly anticipated new book,
Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.

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17 Responses to Why LinkedIn Endorsements Can Make or Break Your Career

  1. Dan, it doesn’t matter if you have 0 or 99 endorsements as this does NOT have any effect on your ranking in the search results. Give it a try and you’ll see.

    However, you can sort on number of recommendations so I would encourage to ask for these.

    • Corinne Dombroski says:

      I agree that recommendations are more valuable than endorsements. Do you have any advice on how to ask for LinkedIn recommendations from project managers or coworkers?

      • Corinne, you can start with giving recommendations. In return you will likely get a recommendation back. And don’t hesitate to ask or call for a recommendation, if you don’t ask you probably won’t get it, preferable from clients or vendors.

        Good luck!

        • Corrine,

          Jacco makes a good point one of the ways to get recommendations is to give one first. You don’t want to stop with just giving the recommendation however.

          When you give the recommendation send an email to the individual stating that you have written the recommendation, have them review what you wrote, and then ask if there is anything that they would like clarified or included that you missed. If the request is reasonable, follow through and make the changes. Once you complete the recommendation and they have published it on their profile ask if they would be willing to write a recommendation for you. If so, you have opened the door for you to provide input into what you would like to see in the recommendation.

          The thing you want to avoid are the recommendations that say; “Corrine is a great person and I would happily rehire her anytime.” or “Corrine is a great person, I cannot say enough about her. Anyone would be lucky to have her on the team.” The problem is there is no meat to the recommendation. What did you do? What benefit or contribution did you make or provide? Recommendations must add value to your profile.

          Lastly don’t give and receive recommendations for the same person on the same day. This looks unreal and simply like you made a mutual agreement to recommend.

  2. Google loves to crawl and index LinkedIn profiles and company pages. The more keywords, i.e., 50 slots for endorsements, the higher page rank on Google. HR | recruiters are Googling potential candidates. They’re also asking about LinkedIn profiles.

    HR and recruiters are moving in this direction also when looking at resumes. Instead of reading every single resume, they are using parsing software. This enables a recruiter | HR person to effectively search for potential employees using keywords. It’s all about SEO.

    While it’s not perfect, it forces candidates to learn effective writing. It helps job seekers land more interviews. At the end of the day, no matter what SEO tactics are used, job seekers have to “bring it” to the table during the interview.

    Many talented and gifted job seekers are overlooked because they refuse to adjust to the current trends in the hiring process.

    • Johnny, what makes you think that the number of endorsements has any impact on Google search ranking?

      • Jacco, what makes you think it doesn’t? Have you even read Dan’s book? You can’t serf these days without tripping over SERP, SEO, SMM… I’m a Google Partner. I have about 20 years under my belt working with the Fortune 500. I also helped develop GM’s SEM policy.

        In other words, I know a thing or two about it since I also own a company dedicated to IT | Social Media | Web Production | Graphic Arts | Blogging | etc etc ad nausuem.

        Anything else? Oh yes, I also teach SEO and LinkedIn to execs in NYC.

        • That’s a lot of buzzwords and a nice summary of your experience but can you, as an SEO expert, answer my question? Do you have any evidence to support your claim? Do you really believe that Google takes the number of LinkedIn endorsements into account and ranks profiles accordingly??

          • I’ll do one better for you, Jacco. I’ll give you the floor. Let’s get into the details. Since you made a general statement. Please help us understand you. Tell us how it doesn’t work. Then tell us how a spider works? Tell us what is SERP and how that works. Tell us then how LinkedIn and Google’s recent partnership isn’t related to SEO. Tell us how 50 spaces for keywords | endorsements couldn’t possibly work to that end.

            Here’s what people like you seem not understand: it’s not the number of people endorsing you that counts. It’s the value of the keywords (endorsement) you select to represent your skill set that makes the difference (Please don’t tell me you don’t know how to use Google Analytics…).Anyway, that’s what Dan is trying to explain to us. Read it again.

            Your floor.

        • Objective 1 says:

          You are just presenting yourself and Dan as “experts”, but giving no support for your argument. You say there is a correlation between endorsements and Google search ranking? Prove it.

  3. [...] Why LinkedIn Endorsements Can Make or Break Your Career (Source: Dan Schawbel) [...]

  4. Johnny, I read it again and it reads (in bold): “the more you have, they higher your profile will rank for each skill.”

    And yes it does matter if a person adds a skill (or keyword in your words) to a LinkedIn profile but it doesn’t matter if you got 0 or 99 endorsements, for Google or LinkedIn. There’s simply no prove of that, just speculation.

  5. Matti says:

    I’m not an SEO or SERP expert. I only once created a website for a small company, using an excellent optimization tool that helped me make the site show up as high as possible in a Google-search. And indeed one of the ideas was to repeat a small set of relevant keywords in titles, various paragraphs, picture descriptions etc., over and over again. But also the number of links from/to this website had a clear impact on the search results. And also the total amount of text on the site had an impact, no matter which words were included. Eventually my site showed up within the first three results when doing a few different searches that were important for that small business. The bottom line is that as far as I know, Google tries to put the most relevant search results first. In that sense, if I search for people who have the “Change management” skill within Linkedin, it would sound most natural to me that those people who have been endorsed for that skill most, will show up in the search first. This is not scientific evidence in order to answer the topic we are discussing here, but it would really surprise me if Google would ignore this kind of valuable information. Having said that, most likely also the number of connections, the date when the data was updated etc. also have an impact. So if there are variations in all these variables, only Google will know how much weight they put on the number of endorsements (only) and how much depends on all the other factors.

    • Matti says:

      Sorry I forgot this: I’m Matti T. Pekkanen, based in UAE, visible also on Linkedin. Have a great evening!

  6. USBCareers says:

    Hi Dan

    The endorsement part on your profile is a bit of a fuzzy one as I believe one can get lots of endorsements and they are not real.

    So if a recruiter basis selection also on this , it makes me wonder.

  7. Joshua DeVoto says:

    USBCareers and Jacco,

    I love the endorsement feature on Linkedin. First let me start off by saying YOU, and YOU alone, are responsible for what YOU allow on your profile. If YOU didn’t add the skill to your profile and someone suggests one for YOU, with an endorsement, it’s up to YOU to initially allow it or reject it. If YOU accidentally added an endorsement to your profile, YOU can always go into EDIT and remove the skill or a person; once you EDIT PROFILE: remove or hide an endorsement or endorser, it should be noted these changes cannot be undone. Again, once YOU remove or hide someone YOU cannot add it back again later.

    Also, whatever happened to personal responsibility? YOU are in control of your profile and what YOU display on your skill set. I could have three people I know write me excellent recommendations, and who exactly is going to verify them? I don’t think anyone should just look at recommendations or endorsements alone, but the country, state, profession or reputation of the endorser can tell you a lot. If you suspect the endorsee is just swapping endorsements, click on each endorsers and see if they were all reciprocal. Last but not least, if someone is lying, anywhere on there profile, there is not much we can do about that. Stop hating on something just because YOU haven’t found any value in it yet. Just to hate someone because they have or give a lot of endorsements is pathetic. How much time do you have on your hands to care so much? Does someone have more than you, or did someone you know not give you one yet? Do you feel like you have to have endorsements now, or can you just live and let live already. I saw a guy with 81 recommendations. Am I supposed to go on hating recommendations now. I didn’t know the people that recommended him. Are you really so sure you know what your so angry about?

    Great article Dan, thank you for the information. Johnny and Matti thanks for all the good input in the comments. Even you two: USB & Jacco. I appreciate the questions you raised, it has obviously led to a good discussion here.

    Thank you,

    • Thanks for your response Joshua although I have no idea where you did get the impression that I’m angry or that I don’t know how to edit endorsements.

      I love endorsements too but for other reasons that are mentioned in this article.

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