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LinkedIn – Recommendations vs. Endorsements

by THEA kelley | April 24, 2013

LinkedIn Recommendations vs. EndorsementsIf you’re on LinkedIn, you’ve probably been baffled by receiving endorsements from people who don’t know anything about you.

You may also be aware that you can give and receive recommendations.

Why are there two similar features, and what’s the difference?

(If you’re not on LinkedIn, by the way, you may want to read my post LinkedIn, Who Needs It?)

For starters: recommendations are a much bigger deal. Like a Great Dane compared to a terrier!

Here’s how LinkedIn explains these features:

“An endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse the Skills & Expertise listed on your profile. There is not an automatic way to request an endorsement. A written recommendation is not included with this feature.”

“A recommendation is a written statement of recommendation from a connection. You may request recommendations from your connections, as well as proactively recommend your connections.”

Do you see the difference in the level of effort involved?

Endorsements are often given so casually that they may not carry much weight in the mind of someone – perhaps a recruiter or potential employer – who is reading your profile. However, they do affect your profile’s ranking in search results for specific skills. So they do matter.

Recommendations matter even more. The person recommending you actually has to write something (or you can draft it for them!). As with an endorsement, your contact is putting their name on the line to support you.

A word about recommendations and references.

Too often I hear people say “I don’t need LinkedIn recommendations; I already have good references.” References do not replace recommendations. In some ways, recommendations can do more to help you get a job.

It’s largely a matter of timing: When does a prospective employer check your references? Not until after the interview, when they are already close to a decision. In contrast,  LinkedIn recommendations are right up there on the Web, visible before the decision is ever made to bring you in for an interview. They can become a significant factor in that decision.

Underutilizing the power of recommendations is one of the top mistakes most people make in their LinkedIn profiles.

Read my posts “How to Give and Request LinkedIn Recommendations” and “How to Include Testimonials in Your Resume” for more useful tips.  (“LinkedIn: Recommendations vs. Endorsements” was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for the 2020s.)

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