It happened again just last week: A LinkedIn connection endorsed me for my public speaking skills. Not even an hour later, another connection endorsed me for my social media skills. I worked with both of these connections for roughly three months on entirely different projects, but I haven’t really dropped a line to either in quite some time. It got me thinking: Why were they endorsing me now?
Endorsements are those pesky little gray bars that pop up with random words written on them when you view a connection's profile, or in LinkedIn's words: an opportunity to "endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet"—in just one click.
I decided to catch up with one of the connections to discover the reason. “I endorsed maybe 15-20 of my peers after I saw a couple of my peers endorsed me. I saw it as an opportunity to show that I know that particular person actually has that skill. To help them out.” He continued, “I didn’t know about endorsements until I got an email that said a couple people endorsed me. Thought I’d return the favor.”
Well, that made sense. But now what was my next move? Should I return the favor for him? Should I take it one step further and go ahead and endorse all those who’ve already endorsed me? When it comes to LinkedIn endorsements, what is proper etiquette?
Here are a few thoughts:
You Don’t Need to Send a Thank You Note for an Endorsement
For me, thank you notes are essential for just about everything in business. I sent a handwritten note (remember those?) to my colleagues at Kuno Creative after I interviewed for my position, and I’m constantly thanking those who share my blog posts on Twitter. (Tag @LisaGulasy and see!) But according to Hannah Morgan, LinkedIn endorsements don’t warrant a note, mostly because the note would take more time and effort than the original endorsement. She writes, “If you do decide to send a thank you, know that it will probably be one of very few the recipient receives. What memorable impression will that have?”
Reciprocation Isn’t Necessary
I’ve been struggling with the idea of reciprocating for the endorsements I’ve received. Since I joined LinkedIn about two years ago, I’ve only connected with professionals I’ve interacted with, so I haven’t run into a big problem other professionals have seen: receiving endorsements from people they don’t know or barely remember. At the same time, a few of my connections have endorsed me for skills I know they haven’t seen in action. So should I really endorse them if I believe they clicked at random? Honestly, it’s up to you. If you know the connection well and foresee the relationship continuing to benefit you in the future, endorsing one or a few skills takes mere seconds. If you believe your connection is giving endorsements to get some in return, only endorse them if you feel comfortable and confident enough in the skills you want to endorse.
Just Write a Recommendation
If you really want to share your impressions about a connection with those viewing the profile, write a recommendation. Recommendations take thought and time to create, indicating a genuine camaraderie between connections, and they provide much more detail about performance and character specifics. (And as an added bonus, I couldn’t find any articles deeming recommendations meaningless, though I can’t say the same for endorsements.)
Looking for other ways to improve your LinkedIn profile? Justine Timoteo shared four areas worth optimizing on the new LinkedIn profiles.
What do you think is proper etiquette for LinkedIn endorsements? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Photo Credit: Sarah Parrott
Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist and researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.