#LinkedIn Endorsements vs. Recommendations–Understanding why you should go the extra mile…

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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. 

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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.

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(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.

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(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?


To learn more about the unique features that you can use (or not use) on LinkedIn, join me for a series of webinars on Thursday nights at 8 pm. EST or Friday afternoons at 1:30 pm EST.  They are affordable and full of great techniques for you to use.  From the comfort of your home or office sign up today.

 

Join us on @LinkedMoms Chat – Wed. March 26 at 8 pm ET for #LinkedInForBloggers–You need to be there!

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I have a passion for LinkedIn®. Long before others understood the importance of networking on-line, I was preaching to the doubters. LinkedIn® is a powerful networking platform. So much so that every second two more people join LinkedIn®. With that kind of growing professional network it is no wonder that we find many brands and brand managers listed there. Remember LinkedIn® has over 277 million global members.

Here is the thing, many bloggers have yet to discover the benefits of being on LinkedIn® feeling that it is not ‘social’ enough or that the platform does not welcome mom or dad bloggers. That is not true. LinkedIn® helps expose you to potential clients (brands, PR firms/agencies or digital marketing types) that are looking for professionals. So if you are a professional blogger that is always looking for opportunities, then you need to be on LinkedIn.

If you are looking to connect and work with a particular brand, then you need to be on LinkedIn® just to be able to see if you are connected to someone that works in that company. Working on the principal of six degrees of separation, you will be able to find someone that knows someone that works with someone that may be able to help you out.

Remember, as bloggers, we live in a very social world, but that does not mean that brand and marketing people are there. They may be in a boardroom or office with little to connection to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It also means that some owner and decision makers are to busy running their business and they just need to find you in a directory. That is what LinkedIn® is: a worldwide professional directory.

If you want to know more about why blogger need to be on LinkedIn®, you can read my 5 Reasons Bloggers Need to be on LinkedIn post that I wrote for Type A Parent. Please leave me a comment and let me know how you use LinkedIn®.

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Once again in an effort to help our Blogger Community grow, we will be hosting a #LinkedIn4Blogger Chat. Join me as I give you tips on working with LinkedIn® on #LinkedMoms Chat

DATE:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2014

TIME:
8:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
7:00 – 8:00pm (CST)
6:00 – 7:00pm (MST)
5:00 – 6:00pm (PST)

HOSTED:
@Linkedmoms

LinkedMoms website

MODERATORS

@DownshiftingPRO and @4LinkedLearning – Margarita Ibbott
@DownshiftingPRO on Facebook
@DownshiftingPRO Blog

@inkscrblr – Paula Schuck
@inkscrblr on Facebook
@inkscrblr on YouTube
@inkscrblr Blog

#LinkedIn Profile Picture – Do me a favour, let me see your face.

I don’t tend to go on rants very often on my blog.  I like to think of myself as a blogger that will give you an honest opinion and solid advice…  balance observations with funny stories that may teach you a thing or two …but today… well, today it is just an all out RANT.

I love LinkedIn. It is my first true love.  When I first got started using social media, I played with Facebook and dabbled in Twitter but LinkedIn spoke to me.  I have been evangelizing LinkedIn’s virtues for years (yes, years).  The thing is, as it grows in popularity, many users still don’t understand that it is a professional networking platform.  So by token you must put forward a professional profile and a professional picture. 

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If you are going to send me a cold-call-invitation to connect with you on LinkedIn please fill out your profile so I can clearly see what you do and why I would be interested in connecting with you.  Court me a little, send me a welcoming note. Remind me where we have met, mention the presentation that you saw, heck tell me you enjoyed it and learned something. 

JUST DON’T SEND ME AN INVITATION TO A PROFILE WITHOUT A PROFILE PICTURE!

If you are going to be on LinkedIn and expect me to recommend you to my contacts please have a professional picture… flying through the air while performing a karate kick IS NOT PROFESSIONAL (no matter how cool you think it is -especially if you are a business professional and not a karate instructor).  I once pointed that out to an attendee at a workshop I gave.  He later sent me a scathing email about how unprofessional I was for pointing it out his unprofessional picture.  Listen, if you are embarrassed about me pointing out the picture of you flying through the air doing a karate kick in front of 25 other people, what do you think the other 110 million LinkedIn members are going to think?  It is a PUBLIC PICTURE once you put it on LinkedIn.  Seriously? You’re mad at me? Give your head a shake Mr. Professional VP (rant over on that point).

If you are going to use a logo instead of a picture, don’t be surprised if I DON’T recognize you at a networking event.  Social Networking is about being social.  Me looking at your company logo is not social…its anti-social actually. Even an avatar seems silly to me…unless you create avatars for a living…even then I would prefer to see your face.

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If you insist on not putting up a picture and then at a network event I discover that Mackenzie or Robyn/Robin or Tracey/Tracy is a man and not a women (or vice-versa) please don’t blame me. I didn’t see your face on LinkedIn, I only saw a grey silhouette, a funny caricature or a logo.

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Oh and another thing, if you think I want to see your buff torso or your cleavage prominently displayed on your profile pic.  Think again.  I don’t do business with attention getters with inferiority complex that feel that they need to strut their stuff (I warned you this was a rant).  Remember, the key to LinkedIn is to connect with other Professional in a professional manner.

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So if you intend on reaching out to me, please introduce yourself and make sure you have a picture that I can identify as a professional in your field because if you don’t I won’t likely connect with you and ultimately, you are just wasting your time and mine.

RANT OVER…


Note:  I found all of these pics on LinkedIn so they are public to all other 110 million users.  I tried to pick examples that were not connections to any of my connections and tried as much as possible to delete identifiable names and place of employment. If this is your profile and your embarrassed about it, I suggest you reconsider your pic. otherwise, send me a message & I will gladly take it down.

#LinkedIN–Best Practices for Small Business User–Twitter Party

When I attended She’s Connected in October all of the brand reps, PR firms and Media firms all said, if you want to work with them, you NEED to have a professional profile on LinkedIn.  If you know anything about me, you know that I am a huge fan of this social networking platforms for professionals. I have seen on a few discussion boards that bloggers, small business owners and organizers are a bit perplexed as to the benefits of being on LI.  At Wednesday’s twitter party, we will be discussing the benefits of using this professional social networking platform.

Join in the discussion: let us know how you used LinkedIn.  Your Likes. Your Dislikes and then share your profile for others to connect.

Prize: We will be giving away a ONE HOUR personal profile review from LinkedLearning.ca (a $90 value).

LinkedInCroppedOur Twitter Party discussion this week will focus on why you need to be on LinkedIn.  I will provide 5 tips for a better profile as well as best practices when you want to connect.

Join us Wednesday, January 16, 2013  at 8 pm EST, 7 pm CST, 5 PST by following the #LinkedMoms #LinkedIn4Biz.

HASHTAGS:
Please use the #LinkedMoms & #LinkedIn4Biz hashtags at the end of all of your tweets to be included in the chat and to be eligible to win a prize.

DATE: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TIME:
8:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
7:00 – 8:00pm (CST)
6:00 – 7:00pm (MST)
5:00 – 6:00pm (PST)

HOSTED:
LinkedMoms

Follow us on Twitter @LinkedMoms

MODERATORS:

@4linkedLearning– Margarita Ibbott

@4LinkedLearning Blog & Website

@DownshiftingPRO on Facebook
@DownshiftingPRO Blog & Website

@inkscrblr – Paula Schuck
@inkscrblr on Facebook
@inkscrblr on YouTube
@inkscrblr Blog

TWEETS:
We would love for you to join in on the great conversation and prizes on Wednesday night. Feel free to invite a few of your friends too. Here are some tweets that you can re-tweet to share our message.

RT@LinkedMoms- Join us for #LinkedMoms Chat w. @Inkscrblr & @DownshiftingPRO We are talking about #LinkedIN – Wed.Jan 16, 8 PM EST/5PM PST

RT@LinkedMoms Learn abt #LinkedIN best practices for small biz? Join #LinkedMoms Chat  Jan. 16 @ 8 pm EST  Prize = profile review $90 value

CUSTOM TWEETGRID LINK:

In order to make things easier for you to follow the chat, we have created a customized TweetGrid Link so all you have to do is log in and put your @twitterhandle in the first column.

Make sure to login so that you can tweet directly from Tweetgrid using the #LinkedMoms hashtag.

Here is our Custom Tweet Grid for Tonight’s #LinkedMoms Chat

LinkedIn–protect your Privacy–Change Your Password– Frequently

Image credit: biztech2.com

On June 7, LinkedIn acknowledged that there had been a breech in their system that allowed 6.5 million user passwords to be hacked.  Although the email addresses attached to the passwords were not hacked, LinkedIn cannot guarantee that they would not be found.  LinkedIn has changed those passwords and has notified the affected members (as well as others that they feel may potentially be affected).

Actions have been taken to change members’ passwords as well as applying greater security measures to ‘salt & hash’ the passwords (interesting choice of words but cryptic-speak for adding more characters to each individual password to make them more unique and secure).  [I just received when I went to log onto LinkedIN again…interesting]

We live in a world where hacking is a sport for some and maintaining privacy issues is an on-going concern for all, so what I am asking of you is to:

Take the time TODAY to revise ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS – not just LinkedIn.

Here are the suggestions provided on the LinkedIn blog to safeguard your passwords and information:

  • Make sure you update your password on LinkedIn (and any site that you visit on the Web) at least once every few months.
  • Do not use the same password for multiple sites or accounts.
  • Create a strong password for your account, one that includes letters, numbers, and other characters.
  • Watch out for phishing emails and spam emails requesting personal or sensitive information.

Source: LinkedIn Blog

If you are having problems keeping track of your passwords, create a simple Excel spreadsheet with all your accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, TripAdvisor, ebay, etc…) and store your username, email addresses & password – save & password-protect the document.  This way you only have to remember ONE password. Get into the habit of changing them frequently – this helps you safeguard your electronic ‘life’.

[Note: Personally, I use my little black book and physically write down the different accounts & combinations. I wrote another blog post about a while back. ]

Friday Features: LinkedIn – Making an Introductions

So you find yourself in the position of being able to connect one of your connections with another.  How do you go about introducing one to the other?

With LinkedIn you can go to a person’s profile and then click on “Forward this profile to a connection”

This can be found on the top right hand-side of your connections Profile Page



A message box will appear and you can select which connection you would like to send the introduction to.  At that point in time the body of the text defaults to this:

“I found Jane Smith’s profile on LinkedIn and thought you might be interested. I would be happy to introduce you to them through my network.
-Margarita”

I find these defaults helpful, if you don’t like to write, but I think they are dry not very interesting.  To make a successful introduction, I suggest these key three details:

  1. Personalize the introduction – why are you introducing Jane, your personal/connection to Jane + how you know the other person that is receiving the introduction. You did business with Jack or he is in your networking group.
  2. Customize your signature at the end-full name, company name and email/phone number should either person wants to follow up.
  3. Make sure you provide each person an opportunity to contact you if they choose not to go forward with the introduction: “Please contact me if you have any questions”;  or how you will step back once the introduction has been made “… otherwise, I will leave it up to both of you to get in touch with each other.”

Always remember to thank the person that made the introduction possible.  It acknowledges that the intro was received and accepted.  Just common business courtesy.

Making an introduction is a way to manifest business karma: helping someone else with their business is what networking is all about.  If you help someone, in the long run, someone will help you.  This is the foundation that has grown my business exponentially in the last 3 years.

So making an introduction is not just part of who I am, it is part of how I do business.

Feature Friday

We are Margarita Ibbott and Rossana Wyatt, and we would like to welcome you to Linkedlearning.ca.  We’re a small social media training company that provides training to help you grow your business.

We would like to introduce you to Feature Friday – where every Friday we will talk about a feature from one of the different platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and  Foursquare.

We will give you some tips and show you how social media can make a difference to your business.

Join us every  Friday  as we discuss different features the will help you incorporate social media to grow your business. Next post will be discussing Twitter and @mentions and how they can help you in your business.