Last year LinkedIn rolled out a new feature called endorsements, not to be confused with recommendations. Recommendations are free form comments from a connection about you and your work, endorsements are a click-here if your connection knows skill x. I think it’s a great feature. Asking for a recommendation can be awkward and in the LinkedIn world typically you have to then write a recommendation for the person that recommended you. Endorsements are a lot lighter – equivalent to asking someone you know (to most any degree) that you have some skill or experience around a topic. More than that, endorsement getting can be passive, LinkedIn will prompt your connections to endorse you at some point, they may or may not do so. Having a larger network makes passive endorsement getting more practical.
If I’m thinking of interviewing you for a job and you have 10 endorsements for a skill I need, that is a good start – it weeds out the beginners. Are 20 or 50 or 100 better? I’m not sure. More equals a bigger network. More equals bigger reputation perhaps. 10 is a magic number I picked, it will be interesting to see what it ends up being over the course of a couple of years.
I’m including a screenshot of my current endorsements. Some of these tags were auto generated (the top ones), the ones lower down I added. I haven’t worked at it beyond that, and I haven’t dug in to see the usage from friends yet either – I just wanted to see what would happen. You can see that it’s easy to tell I can prove some SQL experience, not so much on the mentoring side. Looking at it this morning it also doesn’t speak to my soft skills, something I need to fix.
I think the interesting part if figuring out the right level of granularity. I don’t know that it hurts to have tags that are sparse on endorsements, it just doesn’t help. It might help to think of it as a hierarchy – SQL, MS SQL Server, Administration, and then some leaf nodes like Clustering and Replication and TDE. I think trying to match the buzzwords in the first paragraph of your resume would be a good start. It’s probably not a bad idea to add a few tags for things you want to learn or be recognized for, even if you’re not there yet.
I’ve updated my endorsement tags since I grabbed the image. Two are experiments that I hope catch on, “SQLSaturday Speaker” and “PASS Summit Speaker”. Those will start to go in my presentation decks and could end up proving more useful to me than scores on the session evaluation (the comments still matter!).
Two closing thoughts. One is that while endorsements move away from the you tag me I’ll tag you, it’s important that you contribute back to you network by doing some endorsements – that’s why we have networks after all! The other is that recommendations are still important, work on acquiring a few of those as well.
If you’d like to connect with me, click an endorsement, or write a recommendation, I’d appreciate it – find me at www.linkedin.com/in/sqlandy.