Are you confused about the difference between these LinkedIn features? Wonder if one is more important than the other? The definitive answer is that you need to utilize both features to attract the most attention from recruiters and hiring managers. Let me explain.
After the “Experience” section you will find the “Skills and Endorsements” section on your LinkedIn profile. You have the option of adding up to 50 skills. Other LinkedIn users in your network can then endorse you for these skills.
The reason Endorsements are important is that when a recruiter is searching for candidates with a particular set of skills (keywords), your profile will appear on the list of potential candidates if you list those skills. The more endorsements for a particular skill, the higher you will appear in the ranking.
If you are actively in a job search you will want to be sure that the top ten most relevant keywords for your job target are listed first. If you are changing career paths or have older skills that no longer apply coming up in your top ten, you will want to hide those skills (click the edit button).
Next you will want to gather endorsements. Strategically ask connections to endorse your top skills by asking them, i.e., “I’m trying to build up endorsements that are relevant to my current job search. Would you be comfortable endorsing me for some or all of these skills: (list the skills)?” Endorsing you only requires a few mouse clicks and most people will be happy to help.
Following each job entry in your profile, written recommendations can be published. A Recommendation is a 1-2 paragraph testimonial about your skills and work. These are important because someone is willing to go on record publicly to vouch for you, thus recruiters are going to place more weight on recommendations over endorsements.
Ideally, you should strive to have at least two recommendations for each position in the past 10-15 years. Visually this will have a mental impact on hiring managers. They may not read each one but as they skim your profile it is quickly evident that in each position you held people have good things to say.
The best way to get a recommendation is to give one. Contact managers or peers from each position you’ve held and ask them to write a review about your past work. When requesting recommendations, it is important that keywords are included because LI will pick these up throughout your entire profile. For example, “I would like to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn and wonder if there are particular skills sets you would like me to touch upon?” By framing your request in this way, the recipient is likely to do the same in return.
When writing a recommendation, keep it short and to the point. Opening sentence will describe in what capacity you are familiar with the person’s work, followed by a sentence describing three skills you have observed the person demonstration, and then provide a quantifiable example, “i.e., in a project we worked together on …” Not sure what to write? Pull up profiles of your connections and read the recommendations they have received to get ideas.
If you prefer not to write a recommendation, you can simply ask your connections to help. “LinkedIn is the #1 recruitment tool for my job search and recommendations are important. I would appreciate if you could help me out by describing how you have witnessed my (insert three skills.)”
In short, Endorsements will increase your visibility – the greater the number, the higher you will appear on potential candidate lists. Recommendations provide credibility – the more you have the more hiring managers will believe you are a solid employee. Spend some time working on gathering both!