LinkedIn Endorsements: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


LinkedIn is one of the most practical social sites for developing your brand’s authenticity. It has become easier to define your brand and network effectively with LinkedIn with available content such as your own brand URL, blogging zone, and plenty of space to develop a professional appearance.

Amongst the various tools available through LinkedIn is the recently added “endorsements” option. Basically, you’re able to list your particular brand’s qualities or features and others can actively endorse your expertise within them. While this is great for really building awareness of your expertise, the option also has its bad features and even a few ugly qualities.

The Reality About LinkedIn “Endorsements”

The Good

The best thing about getting a LinkedIn endorsement is that it proves to others that your brand does have the qualities required to make you a reliable source in the field. Those that you’ve already developed connections with can easily select any of your particular skills and back them up with their own name.

As your skills gain prominence, others begin to look into who you are and investigate your skills, as well. This ultimately leads to a growth in awareness and the overall generation of interest in your brand. The more endorsements you have, the more likely others are going to check you out for themselves, generating word of mouth marketing.

Of course, a little prompting is often required. This means that you need to consult with your LinkedIn network and request endorsements. After all, awareness must start somewhere. That is with you approaching your network properly.

The Bad

While LinkedIn endorsements are very beneficial, there are a few issues that should be taken into account in order to make sure your online campaign gains the benefits and avoids the pitfalls.

Amongst the most prominent issues with LinkedIn endorsements are that there are individuals who will ask just about anybody for a little support. Who should you ask? You don’t want to ask someone that you don’t know or someone that has no expertise in your particular field. Not only do they not know enough about you but you also don’t know what type of quality their endorsement may carry.

Additionally, seeking a LinkedIn endorsement can be considered a little offensive, especially if the person asked knows little about you. You may lose credibility with them and potentially sever a relationship before it has had time to develop. In these cases, the LinkedIn endorsement scenario could be closing the doors of opportunity before you even know they’re available.

Avoid this at all cost before it hurts your brand image. Instead, focus on targeting well-developed relationships and those that are familiar with your true skill levels, for referrals.

  • Take the time to develop a good profile, saturated with quality and defining content, to ensure your professional appearance.
  • Not having a picture and a complete profile will affect your ability to prove authenticity. The lack of a photo and/or complete profile promotes an impression that you don’t take your online campaign seriously.

Hence, people are less likely to endorse you as it will reflect negatively upon them.

It Could Get Ugly

While there are some issues that can prove bad for your image, there are a few that can be just downright ugly. Perhaps the worst thing you can do is be a chronic endorser yourself. When asked, you endorse. In fact, sometimes you go out and find LinkedIn endorsements to pass around like candy.

You might be hoping they’ll endorse you back, but the consequences tend to affect you in a different way. Consider who you’ve just endorsed. Are they authentic? Are their skills actually worthy? The quality of those you endorse on LinkedIn will reflect upon your brand and its quality.

Another issue that can quickly turn a little ugly is that you’re able to do anything – but you have no particular field of expertise. Good at this, and good at that, with a little of everything tossed into the mix. While being good at a lot of things is well… good, it doesn’t help define your brand. Focus on what makes you unique.

Your listed areas of expertise should be both unique to you and related to your brand. This will improve brand definition and eliminate any confusion about what it is that you do.

Overall there are the good aspects to consider (and the bad ones to avoid) when it comes to using LinkedIn’s endorsement tool. Take testimonials seriously, both the ones you get and the ones you give out because they will inevitably reflect upon your brand.

I’d love to get your thoughts? How much value to do you place in LinkedIn endorsements? Have you endorsed others?

7 Responses

  1. Hi Maria, Great article thanks.

    I’m interested in your sentence “the worst thing you can do is be a chronic endorser yourself”. Last time I was on LinkedIn, it popped up with a choice of 4 people to endorse, and every time I endorsed someone more options came up. I thought endorsing people when I had the chance was the right thing to do, given that people had endorsed me… or maybe not?


    1. Hmm I wrote a bit long reply to this Mel but Disqus ate it!

      In a nutshell I said, I take your approach too but I interpreted Maria’s comments as not endorsing people you don’t know well enough to have an opinion on. I don’t if that’s what she meant but that’s what I do .. or don’t do as the case may be.

      1. That makes total sense, and I agree that endorsing people who you don’t know well enough to endorse makes no sense at all!

  2. Personally I will only endorse someone for something I know they can do – and do well. In that sense it is a quick and easy testimonial for me to give.
    However, as many people do NOT follow that rule and endorse anyone, I don’t see endorsements of much value – I wouldn’t assess someone’s skills based on how many endorsements they do or don’t have.
    I am wondering, though, whether having more endorsements (or even giving more) helps your rankings in LinkedIn and/or search engines?

    1. I agree Tash. I don’t actually look at the endorsements when I look at someone’s profile, not with any seriousness anyway. They are bit more like the stickers kids get when they don’t wet their pants, aren’t they?

      Thanks for commenting!

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