LinkedIn is on a roll.
I’ve always been a big apostle for this more serious/business-minded social network. Lately they’ve been giving me reason to continue to sing their praises.
First of all, LinkedIn just LOOKS better. Trendy, not clunky. Sure, Dave…that’s nice, but where’s the beef? Well, how does a $90-million dollar acquisition and integration of the highly-regarded online social news platform PULSE sound to ya? “LinkedIn Pulse” replaces “LinkedIn Today” (See PCMag.com article on this).
“Pulse and LinkedIn technology have been fully integrated to offer a more relevant news experience with content tailored to your professional interests both on the Pulse app and on LinkedIn.com,” Pulse co-creator Ankit Gupta wrote in a blog post.
LinkedIn is moving aggressively into content publishing in other ways, too. Now, they’re encouraging long-form posts. Many of my blog posts, I’m repurposing on LI to take advantage of a different audience. Lots of content marketing movement on LI, in fact, here’s a link to LinkedIn’s own marketing best-practices guide, from earlier this year.
So, there’s that, but there have always been the questions about the value of LinkedIn’s feature called “endorsements”. “Recommendations” has been a steady, long-time staple of LI since day one. But the two are often confused, and it’s important to know the difference.
Here’s a simple analogy: Endorsements have about the same value as Facebook “likes”, whereas recommendations are more like personal written referrals. As such, the recommendations are much more valuable, and LinkedIn treats them as such.
LinkedIn claims that accumulating a high number of endorsements for a skill adds credibility to your profile, and shows that your professional network recognizes you have that skill. However, once you reach 100, your endorsements only display as “99+”. LinkedIn does this with your connections too. I have over 30,000 connections, but it shows on my profile as “500+”. This makes me skeptical of the value of endorsements, but it’s a nice vote of confidence (almost like a FB “poke”) to endorse your friends. You will be notified by email when you receive an endorsement.
Recommendations, though, are more like the formally written validation of your skills, personality, and abilities by someone who knows you well, and has taken the time to give you the credit. These are highly encouraged by LinkedIn in completion of your profile, and are touted as an important feature of your reputation, much like the physical world.
The best recommendations come from people who value your work, services or products, such as managers, colleagues, co-workers, customers, and clients. Hiring managers and people searching for new customers and business partners prefer to work with people who come recommended by someone they know and trust.
There’s no limit to the number of recommendations you can request or give, but like any other letter of support from a former boss, friend, colleague, or knowledgeable peer, you have to ASK for recommendations. Just message your friend or colleague by email or LinkedIn messaging, and make the request. Most people who know you well, seem quite willing to do this. LinkedIn makes it easy: as your acquaintance to search for your name on LinkedIn. When your profile pops up, tell them to click the “message” tab near the top of your profile. In the drop down menu, they should choose “recommend”, and they’re on their way.
If someone recommends you, you’ll get a notification, and a chance to recommend them in return. At the very least, you should thank them for their recommendation, and ask them if you can return the favor.