I wrote a blog post about the virtues of having a professional photo. It was a rant really but I got some fabulous feedback and a whole lot of questions.
One question in particular really stood out from the others. “I am really confused about the difference between endorsements and recommendation. Could you please explain which one I should be using or asking for?”
I know many people are wondering the same thing so I thought I would explain my take on things.
A recommendation is a written affirmation of a job well done or a confirmation that you have worked with someone in a particular ‘job’ (company, event, project, service) at a given time.
A recommendation can be requested or can be given without a request (the nicer of the two since the latter comes as a surprise when you receive one). When LinkedIn was launched it was a requirement to get at least one recommendation to have a 100% completion of your profile. So it was imperative that you get a recommendation.
When I first started on LinkedIn I sent out six requests for a recommendation thinking that may three or four people would respond. I chose people from different areas of my life: personal, work, professional associations and volunteer organizations. People that I had worked with in my city. [To request a formal recommendation: Go to Profile—> Recommendations—>Ask for Recommendations]
Since I was an independent contractor, I needed recommendations from clients also. I was taken aback but happy to receive a recommendation from every connection that I solicited. I was humbled by what they thought of me personally and professionally.
Four years later, I have received many more and varied recommendations for presentations that I have done, jobs I have completed and workshops that I have given. They have been for both my professional organizing business and my social media training and speaking business.
It is important to note here that you can give anyone a recommendation whether they are a connection or not.
A recommendation is a verifiable sourced commendation of a specific task, job or project associated with a particular organization given by a specific individual that you worked with.
It is verifiable because that recommendation is directly connected to another LinkedIn member.
~ Margarita Ibbott
One cannot argue with the popularity and easy of giving an endorsement. With over 58 million professionals who have been recognized for their skills and expertise on LinkedIn and one billion endorsements given in the last 6 months, this is one feature that cannot be ignored.
An endorsement, is an acknowledgement of a skill given by a 1st Degree connection. As a LinkedIn member, you have the capacity to list different skills sets. You can use already defined skills or you can create your own unique skills. My skills, for example, vary but include: organizing, consulting, speaking, social media training, Twitter training, LinkedIn training etc. These are skills that are associated with the jobs that I have done and continue to do.
(Source – LinkedIn.com)
An endorsement (unlike a recommendation) are not formally solicited (see above) but can be given for a known or perceived skill. This is a key to understanding the difference.
A person can give me an endorsement for social media training without having taken one-on-one training with me but they may have attended one of my many presentations or conference workshops. They may also have read one of my blog posts on social media or gone to my website to confirm that one of my services is social media training.
They don’t, however, have to give a specific session, workshop or conference reference.
(Source – LinkedIn.com)
Endorsements seem to be flying willy-nilly all over the place for real or perceived accomplishments. LinkedIn pop-ups actively asks members to endorse another member if you so much as view the other person’s profile. It also asks you, almost every time, you log onto LinkedIn to endorse one of your connections. Hence the randomness (and in my opinion – weakness) of an endorsement.
I appreciate every single one of the endorsements that I receive. I REALLY do. It reinforces that people are paying attention to what I do, what I write, what I say… or do they?
For the sake of argument, I often wonder if people just give endorsements so the requests stop popping up when they log into LinkedIn. Or do they hope for an endorsement themselves? A tit-for-tat if you will. When suggesting an endorsement, LinkedIn pop-ups almost exclusively suggest people that have already endorsed me.
Don’t get me wrong, I do give endorsing love… when I think my connection merits it or I have witnessed or I know they possess those particular skills. Endorsing someone is quick & easy – I get it. People glance at this feature (maybe even keep count of how many other people have given an endorsement of that same skill) so it does count for something.
But to me, a recommendation is the gold standard for someone’s TRUE accomplishments.
I know I take the time to read the recommendations people write when I am surveying a person’s profile. Even though I may glance at the endorsement they receive, it is clear to me that a recommendation hold more weight because it was written specifically for someone by someone.
They took the time to think of the wording, acknowledged the time they worked with that person and then they went through the process of submitting it to the recipient. The recipient then has to choose to accept or revise the recommendation and finally chose to hide or proudly display those commendations. A lot of work goes into that particular feature of LinkedIn so that is why I value it so much. You have to really ‘work’ for a good recommendation!
Still confused? Join me on Friday for a webinar on Advanced LinkedIn Features. See details below.
How do you use recommendation or endorsements?
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