How to Use LinkedIn 'Endorsements' to Highlight Your Skills

LinkedIn's newest feature, Endorsements, lets you highlight the skills youre known for. Here's how it works, plus four expert tips for making the most of it.

Know someone who's particularly proficient in programming? Or, maybe a colleague's management skills are top-notch. LinkedIn now gives you a way to publicly praise your connections' skillsets with a quick click: its newest feature, called "Endorsements." And, of course, it gives your connections a way to endorse your skills, too.

Endorsements is located in Skills & Expertise section near the bottom of your profile. When a connection visits your page, he or she can vote up one of your areas of expertise or recommend a new skill for you to add to your profile.

"Getting your coworkers to sing your praises via LinkedIn endorsements is a no-brainer," says LinkedIn Connection Director Nicole Williams. "Getting an endorsement from a trusted contact enhances your skillset and shows that someone else has put their trust in you."

There are two ways to endorse contacts: You can navigate to a contact's profile where you'll find a box at the top with a list of the skills they have included. Here, endorse all the skills listed, or X out of the ones you don't want to include.

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Your other option is to scroll to your contact's Skills & Expertise section on their profile. There, find a skill you want to endorse, and click on it. Once you do, your picture will appear next to it. LinkedIn also keeps a tally of how many people have endorsed each skill, and ranks them accordingly.

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Ready to get started? Here are four tips from Williams to make the most of this new feature.

1. Revisit your skills. Before your contacts start endorsing you, revisit your Skills & Expertise section of your profile to add skills you want included or delete skills that may no longer be relevant.

"It's important for you to select the skills you want to highlight so your connections know which skills to endorse," Williams says. "Endorsing people will most likely increase how many people have viewed your profile."

Edit your skills by hovering over the "Skills & Expertise" header, and clicking "Edit." You can add up to 50 skills.

2. Edit your endorsements. Just because a contact has added a skill to your profile doesn't mean you need to keep it, Williams says.

"Make sure the endorsements you are getting speak accurately of your work. If a connection is endorsing you for computer programming but you can barely program your DVR, it might be worth removing," she says. "You want your LinkedIn endorsements to help enhance your profile, not exaggerate the truth."

Remove endorsements by clicking the arrow next to the people who have endorsed that skill, then clicking "Hide endorsement."

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3. Return the favor. "If a client does a great job on a proposal, why not take five seconds to endorse their hard work?" Williams says. "When you take the time to endorse people, they'll be more apt to return the favor and endorse you. And if you're looking to reconnect with old clients or former coworkers, start by endorsing them on LinkedIn and reopen the lines of communication."

4. Only endorse what you know. While it may be easy to endorse all of a connection's skills, it's not necessarily the best thing to do, Williams says.

Stick to endorsing people based strictly on their areas of expertise. If someone has 30 skills listed, don't endorse them all, she recommends. "Less is more when it comes to endorsing a connection. If you're all over the place with your endorsements, you'll lose credibility."

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Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and enterprise collaboration for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com

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