LinkedIn Endorsement vs. Recommendation by Cultivate CommunicationsThe past few years, LinkedIn has acquired quite the presence in the online social community for professionals and for business networking. It used to be that you’d type up a resume and cover letter and use those to apply for a job. But nowadays, many online applications and businesses ask — or even require — you to load your LinkedIn profile to propagate your work history and to act as a form of legitimacy, in addition to wanting to see your resume or CV. In fact:

LinkedIn has become THE hub for staffing and vetting qualified people for available positions and for creating networking opportunities.

If you are an active LinkedIn user, you may have noticed the ability to be endorsed or recommended by your colleagues. If you’re like me, you may have also noticed that there is a dramatic difference between how a Skill Endorsement and a Recommendation are interpreted, used, and engaged upon.

So which one — a LinkedIn Skill Endorsement or a Recommendation — holds more weight?


Let’s start by talking about LinkedIn’s Skill Endorsements. An endorsement is essentially a keyword tied to a skill you’ve listed in the Skills & Expertise section of your profile that people can support your claim of being good at by simply clicking a button. You’ve probably seen (and even rolled your eyes at) someone you’re connected with who has a skill listed with an option for you to endorse it, but you KNOW they don’t have any experience with it. So do you endorse them anyway?

Maybe. Maybe not. It’s up to you . . . It’s only one click of your mouse. What can it hurt? It only benefits them, and it won’t reflect much on your reputation if you do.

But many people truly deserve endorsements for the skills they’ve listed. Personally, I’ll endorse skills all day long. My only beef is that people seem to use Skill Endorsements as a passive way to gain credibility on LinkedIn without actually asking the people they’ve worked with to write a true recommendation for them. It seems to me that savvy professionals should be more brazen if they are truly as talented and skilled as they claim to be.

LinkedIn Endorsement vs. Recommendation by Cultivate Communications


Now let’s talk about LinkedIn’s Recommendations feature. Someone’s endorsements, the number of connections they have, or the jobs someone has listed aren’t really the focus when I’m checking out somebody’s profile. In my opinion, the most important area to review on LinkedIn is someone’s Recommendations. Here’s why:

A recommendation is certainly not as simple or, if I dare say, as meaningless as a mere endorsement of a skill is on LinkedIn. Just like in real life, getting someone to write a recommendation on LinkedIn doesn’t come easy. That’s what makes recommendations so valuable. { Tweet This }

It’s kind of like applying to colleges You want the most prestigious and talented teachers and friends you know to write you a recommendation as to WHY you belong in that institution, and you’ll want those showcased prominently in your application. But to get their support, you have to find the words to reach out. You realize how difficult it is to ask someone to sit down and write a letter of recommendation for you. It’s imposing on their time, which you know is valuable. It’s flat out asking for their endorsement, and for them to trust you in your abilities to go forth with their good word attached to you and all that you claim to be.

LinkedIn Endorsements vs. Recommendations by Cultivate Communications

In relation to LinkedIn, you’ve probably thought, “Would it be okay to ask this person to recommend me?” “What if they ignore me?” “What if they say no?” But if you’re honest, have worked hard, and had a truly great relationship with someone, there’s absolutely NO harm in sending a nice message or making a phone call kindly asking someone to recommend you on LinkedIn for your skills, ethics, and service abilities. (You should probably offer to recommend them online as well and share your positive experiences you’ve had together in return.)

I think you’re starting to see how effective LinkedIn recommendations can be. . . From the sheer anxiety you might have to overcome to ask in the first place, to the time and effort it takes for someone who says yes to actually write a recommendation for you, the task might seem daunting. But the recommendation area of LinkedIn is monumental in building your brand and attributing a solid work ethic to your name, which in the long run is valuable in terms of establishing your credibility and strengths in the work force.

LinkedIn is becoming THE social tool for online networking and business-building. Make sure you use all of the assets and tools within it to showcase who you are in the most effective way. If you’re honest, hard-working, talented, and transparent about your work history and skills, you won’t regret it.

So, who should YOU ask to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn? Reach out to someone TODAY and make it happen. I double-dog dare you! (You’ll thank me for it later.)


See all articles by Nicholas Putz