Social media grows bigger and more influential by the day. As this influence grows, people are becoming more and more dependent on social media connections to keep them informed. The professional world is no different. Many employers use online tools to search for and choose new employees. Your online presence can help you build your career in ways that were not possible before. Thanks to LinkedIn, there is a social media site that is designed specifically for this. Unlike sites such as Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn is designed specifically for the professional world, making it possible for prospective employers and employees to easily build professional networks. How can this benefit you as a potential job candidate, you ask? Well, LinkedIn provides all the tools you need to build an in-depth resume that will have employers coming to you.
Everyone knows that a good resume can make the difference between being a prospective employee and becoming an actual employee. In this article, we are going to take a close look at a couple of LinkedIn’s profile features: skill endorsements and recommendations. We will explain what they are, how you can use them, and why they are an important part of your online resume.
A Quick Overview
Since endorsement and recommendation have very similar contexts, it can be easy to confuse the two. On LinkedIn, they are two separate features that will help to augment your resume.
A skill endorsement is exactly what it sounds like; it is a confirmation that you have a particular skill. For example, if your work history involves a lot of professional writing, then you would list writing as one of your skills. Once this skill is listed, any of your 1st-degree connections can see your skills and endorse them. In other words, this gives your peers the opportunity to confirm that you do, indeed, have that skill. You can also endorse the skills of others. If you have witnessed one of your colleagues' skills in action, do not hesitate to endorse them. This is important; we will discuss this in further detail in a moment.
This is a subject that every employer and employee is familiar with, recommendations. A Recommendation is a chance for one of your supervisors or peers to give an in-depth insight into who you are as an employee.
Unlike the recommendations of old, online recommendations are a little easier. Since the person recommending you can write the recommendation whenever it is convenient for them. And, since it is posted online, it is always available to potential recruiters. Recommendations can be as long or as short as the author desires. Once someone has written you a recommendation, you can display it on your profile as a testament to your value as a worker.
How to Make the Most of Endorsements and Recommendations
The very first thing you have to do to make use of endorsements is to add skills to your profile. This may seem a bit obvious, but it is very important. Others can recommend skills for you to list, but it is much easier for them to endorse you if you have a variety of skills listed already.
Many skills are useful in a wide variety of platforms, so if you are not set on one specific career path, be sure to list a wide variety, not just specialized skills. If you are trying to advance in a specific career, list all the skills that apply, but still, add a few general skills. If you have writing skills, then list 'writing.' If you spent a substantial amount of time writing informational blogs, then add 'writing,' 'blogging,' and 'research' to your skills.
Your profile can have up to 50 skills listed, and you can list anything you want, but do not go overboard. Things like jump-roping and vacationing have been known to come up on skills lists. Although this can seem amusing at the time, keep in mind that this profile is meant to help you build a professional personal brand. There are times to exhibit your more eccentric skills; this is just not that time.
Try to limit your list to about 25 truly useful skills, the ones that you would use at the job you are aiming for. For example, you may have been the best ice cream scooper in Maine once upon a time, but now you are building a career in IT. Perhaps leave off your food service skills and stick to listing your computer-based skills, so you can move forward in the career you want.
And, last but not least, only list skills that you truly possess, both for the sake of honesty and to save potential employers the trouble of trying to hire you for a position you would not be able to fill.
Now for the endorsements, once your skills are listed on your public profile, anyone who views it can see them. Each of your 1st-degree connections has the opportunity to endorse up to four of your skills. In turn, you can endorse up to four of theirs as well. One of the best ways to increase your skill endorsements is to confirm those of your peers. If you take the time to vouch for them, chances are they will do the same for you. This will help both of you to have fuller, more appealing resumes.
Keep in mind that you are in complete control of your profile, so if for some reason you do not want one of your endorsements to be public, you can simply hide it. You can also remove skills that are no longer relevant or disregard skill suggestions from other users. When potential recruiters view your skills, the ones that are most relevant to their search will show up first. It will also show them how many of your endorsements are from people who also share that skill. This way, if your high school chemistry teacher mistakenly endorses your recently acquired coding skills, it won’t matter. Only the most applicable endorsements will show.
Recommendations are a little more difficult to obtain than a simple endorsement, but they are much more influential. Having someone vouch for you is great, but having someone take the time to write a recommendation is even better. As we already mentioned, recommendations are more in-depth. Instead of your coworker simply confirming your writing skills, they can explain how your writing skills make you a valuable employee. They can also offer examples of how your work impacted their team and benefited them as your employer. This gives potential recruiters the chance to get an inside look at who are as an employee and how you could improve their company.
Requesting recommendations can be intimidating, but you should not be shy about it. If you have worked hard and have been a good asset, your supervisor will most likely be willing to give you a recommendation. When you are deciding who to ask for recommendations, be sure to choose people who really know you and your work. Immediate supervisors and close teammates will have the best perspective of the type of worker you are and what you are capable of.
You cannot receive too many recommendations. Just like with endorsements, you can choose which ones are public and which you would like to keep private. You can arrange them so that the most relevant recommendation is the most prominent, so when a potential employer looks at your recommendations, they will get the most helpful information first.
In addition, just like with confirming the skills of others, you can write recommendations too. Use this to your benefit as well as a way to benefit others. If you are asking one of your peers for a recommendation, list a few of your talents that you would like them to focus on to ensure that the recommendation is relevant to the profile you are trying to build. In turn, ask them which of their skills they would like to highlight, so you can do the same for them. Building professional networks are all about making strong connections, and nothing will build strong connections better than helping each other.
Why Is This Important?
As social media continues to grow, more and more employers are seeking applicants online. Many businesses no longer accept written applications; everything must be digital. This is why having a strong online resume is so important. If you take the time to build an in-depth profile, then your resume will be available indefinitely. This means that prospective employers will be able to find you even when you are not actively seeking a new position. You never know when your dream employer will be seeking new associates, having an active online resume will mean you are ready when they are.
Keeping your endorsements and recommendations up to date means that when that employer does come looking for you, your resume will properly reflect what you are capable of. Plus, LinkedIn has millions of users, many with similar education and work backgrounds. Your skills and recommendations can set you apart and encourage employers to choose you over a similar resume that is not as in-depth. These features give employers the opportunity to see that not only are you confident in your work, you also inspire confidence in others, which is a highly sought after trait.
The Employer Perspective
So what do employers really see when they are looking through your endorsements and recommendations? Does it truly make a difference, or is it just hype? Well, as you could probably guess, it really depends on the recruiter and their hiring style. But there is one thing you can know for sure, as long as your skill list and recommendations are professional and appropriate, they will benefit you, one way or the other.
Skills Outweigh Endorsements
Some human resource directors admit to skipping over endorsements when it comes to looking for new employees. They are aware of the fact that anyone can give you an endorsement, whether that person has actual knowledge of your skills or not. Thanks to the updated endorsement section that only shows the most relevant endorsements, the general perspective of endorsements has improved somewhat. But, they still do not hold much weight with many employers, some saying they still skip right over this section.
So is it still worth it to spend time on your list of skills? Yes. Just because the endorsements may not sway some, they can make a difference to others. In other words, it can’t hurt. Plus, you are not only listing your skills to receive endorsements. Your list of skills shows employers what you can do. Having your skills listed also increases how often your profile will come up in site searches. You can receive up to 17x more profile views by listing as few as five skills, so it is definitely worth the time to add them.
It Is All About The Recommendations
Recommendations are much more important than endorsements. Giving and receiving recommendations for employment is an old practice that most employers have been dependent on since long before online resumes came into existence. As we mentioned, recommendations are a lot more personal, so they carry much more weight. Although some recruiters say that online recommendations are not as useful as actually speaking to a previous employer, they do matter. A selection of well-worded recommendations could be the detail that causes an employer to choose you over a similar candidate.
Remember, both when you are writing recommendations for others as well as choosing which ones to highlight on your profile that recommendations can be a make or break element for some recruiters. A good recommendation explains the relevance of a skill, not just the existence of it. For example, instead of saying, "John is a good editor," say, "John used his editing skills to ensure that all office press releases were succinct and informative and that all pertinent information was conveyed properly." This provides proof that John's skills are not only real but beneficial.
Here are the main tips that you should take away from this article to help you fine-tune your online resume and make the most of your skill endorsements and recommendations.
Overall, skill endorsements and recommendations can really help set your profile apart from others in your field. Although endorsements do not always make or break a hiring decision, they never hurt.
Properly listing your skills means that your profile will come up more often when employers are looking for a quality candidate in your career field. Recommendations, on the other hand, are extremely important and are much more likely to sway a hiring decision. Having proper recommendations on your profile will help prospective employers to know how much your talents have benefited your previous employers and coworkers. This will also give them a better perspective as to whether or not you are the type of person they want on their team.
We hope that this information has inspired you to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile. The skills endorsement and recommendation features can bring to light talents you did not even know you had. So dig deep, build that resume, and get the job of your dreams. And while you are at it, take time to build up your colleagues as well. You never know when stopping by to give a simple skill endorsement could lead to a professional connection that could change your career.