social media how toAre people endorsing you for the wrong skills on LinkedIn?

Do you want to know how to fix that?

It’s frustrating to be endorsed for skills that aren’t relevant to you or your networking goals. But hope is not lost!

In this article I’ll show you three ways you can guide people into endorsing you for relevant skills.

Why Manage LinkedIn Endorsements?

LinkedIn endorsements are meant to provide credibility and networking opportunities.

Has LinkedIn ever notified you that someone has endorsed you for skills and expertise that have absolutely nothing to do with your actual skills? Or worse, you don’t know the endorser at all, so how can he or she endorse any skills you have?

Sometimes people are endorsing you so you’ll see the notification and they’ll be on your radar. Other times, people are endorsing you because they’re friends or colleagues and they think they’re helping you.

Either way, if people are endorsing you for the wrong skills, then your real skills are being overlooked. Luckily, you can help people endorse you for the skills that really matter to you. Below I’ll show you how.

#1: Set Your Skills and Endorsements

If you want to control which skills are most prominent on your LinkedIn profile, set up the Skills & Endorsements section of your LinkedIn profile. This lets you subtly encourage others to use those skills when they endorse you.

If you don’t have the Skills section on your profile, go to Edit Profile and look to the right. You’ll see a list of sections recommended for you. Click on the Skills option to add it to your profile.

linkedin skills section

It’s important to have the Skills section activated on your LinkedIn profile.

You can add up to 50 skills to your profile, so go ahead and set those skills yourself. Don’t be shy. Tell the world what you want to be endorsed for. Don’t let a bunch of strangers decide how you present your areas of expertise!

As you begin typing your desired skill, you’ll see a list of related skills you can choose from (but you don’t have to). The list is likely compiled based on how others have searched for people with a particular skill.

linkedin related skills

Decide what skills you want to be endorsed for.

When you first add skills to your profile, they’re listed in the order you entered them. As soon as people start endorsing you, though, the skills you are most endorsed for will rise to the top of the list.

Your 10 most endorsed skills will show up automatically; the other skills are listed under them.

linkedin skills list

You can decide what skills others can endorse you for, but they determine the top 10.

When someone endorses you, you get an email notification with the option to Add to Profile.

linkedin endorsement

LinkedIn tells you when someone has endorsed you.

When you click Add to Profile, you’ll end up on your LinkedIn profile and see a list of all of the potential skills you can add to your list.

Here’s where you exert your control: If people endorse you for the wrong skills, you don’t have to accept the endorsements! Just click the Skip button.

skip linkedin endorsement

You don’t have to accept skill endorsements that don’t fit with your profile.

At least once a month, visit your LinkedIn profile and do a quick cleanup. In Edit Profile view, scroll down to your Skills & Endorsements section and click Edit. Remove any skills you don’t want to be endorsed for.

You can remove a skill by clicking the “X” next to its name, or you can add new skills as necessary.

edit linkedin skills

Edit your skills list about once a month.

#2: Manage Endorsements

If you find you’re still getting too many endorsements for the wrong skills, it’s time to demote those skills.

In Edit Profile view, scroll down to your Skills & Expertise section, click Edit, then click Manage Endorsements. You’ll see a list of your skills and all the contacts who have endorsed you for each.

manage linkedin endorsements

Manage your endorsements to ensure your best skills are front and center.

Click the skill you want to manage to see who has endorsed you. Now you have the option to show or hide either all of your endorsements or individual endorsements.

If you uncheck any boxes in the Show/hide list, the number of endorsements counted for that skill will go down by the number of boxes you uncheck.

So let’s say in the example above, I wanted to move Blogging out of the top 10. This skill currently has 167 endorsements. I could uncheck 100 boxes and that skill would be left with only 67 endorsements, allowing another skill I care about (with more than 67 endorsements) to rise into the top 10.

#3: Spread the Networking Love

Networking is the primary goal of LinkedIn, so don’t be afraid to meet new people, rally your community or give back to others. Everyone is looking for relevant (not random) endorsements.

To help build your top 10 skills, write to your lists and ask them to endorse you for a specific skill or two. Be clear about what you’re asking for so you don’t end up with additional “helpful endorsements” for skills you’re trying to de-emphasize.

Don’t forget the importance of reciprocation! When others endorse you, be sure to endorse them as well, but ask them what skills they’re most interested in promoting!

A Few Parting Tips

Endorsements are not a substitute for recommendations. Recommendations are universally more respected than endorsements. They represent social proof from people you know and have actually worked with.

However, the right endorsements can increase your credibility. Help your friends and colleagues choose the most relevant endorsements for you by using your Skills section and telling them what you’d like them to endorse.

What do you think? Have you optimized your skills and endorsements? Do you have additional ideas of how to handle endorsements? Please share in the comments.

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  • Wow this is very helpful! Thank you for explaining how we can narrow down our skills list so that people can endorse us properly. I’ve always wondered how some of those skills even get there. Great post Brenda!

  • Excellent post, Brenda.
    (I’ve been encouraging people that, with up to 4,950 endorsements visible on our Linkedin profiles, we should responsibly avail ourselves of this significant “social proof”…}

  • This is great information for me, I love working from home
    as a travel agent but I also work at the office as an Engineer Tech. I would
    like to be recognized as a travel agent more than an Engineer Tech so this was
    very helpful information. Now I know how
    to clean up, update my list, add to my list and ask for endorsement.

  • Very helpful tips, thank you! 🙂
    I think I need to clean up my own Linkedin profile this week.

  • Great advice – thank you for the ideas! I’ve been focusing on LinkedIn this week to build my connections there (actually doing a five day mini video series on it and will share results with my followers tomorrow). One thing I’ve done is write recommendations for others FIRST, then ASK them to recommend me. I’m also giving recommendations to high profile people whose events/webinars I’ve attended or whose books I’ve read. This is allowing for more great connections to share information with.

  • You’re welcome John. Glad I could provide some useful tips!

  • Absolutely Vincent. I agree!

  • Awesome Georgia. I’d love to hear what difference this information makes for you. Another important thing to remember is that recruiters rely quite a bit on the Endorsements section when searching for candidates. So beef it up!

  • Let us know how it goes!

  • Great article Brenda. You’re right: it feel so weird when someone you have connected with only for networking purposes starts endorsing you… However I think there could also be another reason for that: Linkedin seem to suggest skills based on keywords from your profile – or related keywords, so when people connect they see a box on the top of their News Feed in the style of “Does (name) know about (skill)?” and with a “endorse” CTA button right underneath. This is a risky thing, as people sometimes click there without considering if they are doing good or not. Do you know if there’s a way to deactivate that suggestion box?

  • Harriett Seager

    Hi, does this apply for free accounts too? I can’t see a skills section under “recommended for you”. Many thanks 🙂

  • Madhava Verma Dantuluri

    Wonderful post, so much useful. I had updated my profile exactly as per your analysis.

  • Brenda this is a great information. Wow, thank you for highlighting how to manage endorsements. I did not know you could skip them. Thank you @theessayexpert:disqus.

  • Rainer Stenzhorn

    indeed helpful

  • Andrea

    Excellent post, Brenda.
    Two questions that you might be able to answer:
    1. Is there a way to combine two skills? For Example, I have Social Media Marketing and Social Media , which I would like to combine.
    I don’t even know why there are both, pretty sure I only set up Soc Med Mktg but not Soc Med.
    2. If I have activity broadcast turned on, will it show if I make changes to the skills/ endorsements? If yes, can I turn it off for that time while I make changes and then turn it back on so people don’t get bombarded with these changes?
    Thank you.

  • Thanks for the article. I have to wonder though – since it is so easy to give someone a recommendation on LinkedIn, (you can even do them in bulk,) do these recommendations really mean anything?

    It feels like a throwback to the days, when if you got enough people to tag your page with the keyword you wanted, the assumption was your page must really have a lot to do with that keyword. Until people figured out how easy it was to game a tag.

  • Hi Wendy, just a heads up that some people discount recommendations when they are “mutual” or “reciprocal.” So make sure to ask for some recommendations from people you might not be recommending as well!

  • The best way to avoid getting inappropriate skills added to your profile is to have 50 skills there and no room for additions! There is no way that I know of to deactivate the suggestion feature.

  • Yes this section is available in free accounts. It’s not showing up on your recommended sections because you already have it on your profile (I checked)!

  • You’re welcome @Praverb:disqus !

  • @Andrea you can add any skill you want or combination of them just by typing the name of the skill. However, the skills that come up automatically will probably work better since those are the ones that recruiters are most likely looking for. Regarding activity broadcasts, I don’t know for sure whether skills addition are reported in the feed (endorsements are reported). However you can definitely turn off activity broadcasts using the Privacy & Settings functions any time you don’t want changes you make to your profile to go out to the world!

  • Excellent point Brenda. I think a combination of ‘one way’ and ‘two way’ recommendations is probably a good mix.

  • Michael Ivers

    Brenda —
    I fully agree with your advice and the steps you outline. One needs to do as much as possible to increase potential visibility. Yet, I often wonder if endorsements and recommendations truly add to one’s marketability beyond the 1st Connections circle. Do recruiters and hiring manager truly look at the endorsements and read the recommendations as part of their hunt for candidates? Can the omission of a skill or two sink someones chances of consideration? Why does the skills library include duplications such as MS Office, MS Excel, and Excel as separate selections?

  • Pingback: How To Write Great Social Media Bios, Clever Instagram Case Studies & More - The Social 7()

  • One thing that works really well to promote your endorsements is to add them all up and then put the grand total into the top of your summary right under your welcome message. For example, on mine, I feature: ► 3,780+ LinkedIn skills/expertise endorsements. (Thanks!) Scroll to view. This effort encourages many more endorsements and is an impressive stat to see when people visit your profile. I update the number every time I get 5 more LinkedIn endorsements.

  • I love this idea Kathy! Even if a lot of people discount endorsements, a number like 3,780 is likely to make a good impression!

  • YES recruiters, with their premium recruiter packages, can search for people based on number of endorsements, and they use this function a LOT. They also sort candidates based on the number of endorsements they have for the skills the companies are looking for. The reason for the duplications is that the Skills list is constructed from the skills most sought out by recruiters. However, most recruiters will search for both MS Excel and Excel so omitting the alternate skill shouldn’t make a difference.

  • @Ciaoenrico:disqus this is a very common criticism of the endorsements function. You are not alone in your opinion! However, if you have a sufficient number of endorsements for any skills, people start to take it seriously. And recruiters use endorsements to search for candidates, so they do indeed take them seriously.

  • Brenda, thanks for the wonderful tips. Between workshops and webinars, I have received a lot of information recently about how to improve my LinkedIn account. However, this was something that wasn’t covered and yet it’s so simple.

  • Thanks @mikekrance:disqus! strives to provide information that hasn’t been provided before, and I’m glad to be part of the effort!

  • Marco

    Very good post. Excellent one! This is a big help in networking a business.

  • Thank you @Marco!

  • Melanie Jongsma

    I think I have the same question as Andrea. If I have 30 endorsements for Press Releases and 25 endorsements for News Releases, is there a way to combine those so I will have 55 endorsements of that skill?

  • @melaniejongsma:disqus I don’t think your entire question came through. Can you try again?

  • Melanie Jongsma

    Sorry, I got stuck in the middle of editing it. I think it’s posted now.

  • Sorry @melaniejongsma:disqus once you choose your skills there is no way to combine them. You could choose to delete one of them if you want to encourage endorsements for one particular skill. Did many different people endorse you for Press Releases than endorsed you for News Releases? There might be quite a bit of overlap…

  • Melanie Jongsma

    Yes, I feel like I have overlap on a lot of my endorsed skills. For example, Social Media, Social Networking, and Facebook are all separate listings for the same skill I would like to be better known for. I also have Writing, Freelance writing, Copywriting, Ghostwriting, Journalism, Communication, and Marketing Copy that I would LOVE to combine into one Writing endorsement—writing is what I do, and I’d like that to rise to the top! I don’t dare delete any of these because they all reflect different keywords that prospective clients might be looking for. I wish there were a way to sort of arrange endorsements into broad groupings or something.

  • I understand your frustration @Melanie Jongsma:disqus. Right now you can only “organize” your skills when you first put them on your profile, or by the number of endorsements you have for them.

  • Excellent, user-friendly advice on how to make the most of LI endorsements. Jack

  • Thank you Brenda, this is LinkedIn gold! I’m really on your wavelength about not being afraid to ask for the specific endorsement you want, and following the laws of reciprocity, offering to return the favour. When asked like that, who wouldn’t be happy to help you maximise your endorsements whilst helping themselves at the same time!

  • Thank you @jackgoldenberg:disqus!

  • Thank you @marcia_clarke:disqus! Making requests is something many of us need to learn to do. I love your British English btw!

  • Akash Agarwal

    LinkedIn is
    a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Thanks for sharing knowledge on how to maximize linkedin endorsements.

  • Craig Weller

    BE CAREFUL!!! You should only accept endorsements from people who can vouch for your skills. In HR when interviewing a candidate, I look at their profile, and I pick a person at random from their skill endorsements. I then ask the candidate ‘On LinkedIn, I see that “Bob” endorsed you for project management. How do you know “Bob”? When and how did he observe you using that skill? Are you okay with me contacting him as a reference?’ It has lead to several interesting conversations.

    Misleading others by allowing exaggerations to be shown on your LinkedIn Profile is just as bad as exaggerating your accomplishments on your resume.

    Hide the endorsements that are unwarranted or from people simply hoping to get a false reciprocal endorsement.

  • Craig Weller

    ‘led to several interesting conversations’ not ‘lead’

  • Michael Hunter

    Brenda, thank you for the clear, detailed recommendations on how to manage this section of my profile. Because frequency trumps recency, most of my connections associate me with the Product Marketing (#1 skill) I did earlier in my career as a Brand Manager. While the last few years have skewed heavily toward Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Analytics, those terms didn’t appear as skills separate from other, related ones for which I have several endorsements (e.g. Multi-Channel and Integrated Marketing).

    I’m not sure I got the result I was looking for by following your instructions in section #2 above to demote a less relevant skill (Creative Direction, which, while ranked as my #5, is not as critical and something I don’t ever recall typing into my profile). I unchecked 11 boxes — enough to drop it out of my top 10 — but while it shows the new tally (5 total vs. 16 previously), its position was unchanged at #5. Am I doing something wrong?

    In a related question, once I’ve deleted a (redundant) skill by clicking “X”, is there any way to retrieve it? Looking forward to your reply.

  • Michael Hunter

    I discovered a partial answer to my last question: even though I X’d out a skill, it apparently didn’t prevent my connections from endorsing me for it. Presumably the system still “pushes” the skill I deleted (Marketing Management) out for validation. Interestingly, though it’s back from the dead, it appears last among all my skills even though it has 8 endorsements (previously 6 when I deleted it, if memory serves), ranking behind even those with 1 or 2 votes. So… perhaps the learning here is that I should delete Creative Direction, as it too will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes but will appear out of my top 10.

  • Michael, are you saying that a skill with fewer endorsements is showing up as more highly ranked than a skill with more endorsements? I’m not sure how that could happen. What is your profile URL?

  • I feel your pain Michael. This week I have had multiple endorsements for Social Media, despite the fact that I do not have it in my Top 50. I want people to endorse me for LinkedIn, not Social Media, but LinkedIn has other plans.

  • Yogesh Aher

    Very helpful post.. This clears up every confusion i had about the endorsement feature in linkedin..
    Thank you Brenda

  • duane

    is it possible to ask my friends to endorse my skills. like s t possible for them to endorse my skills if they directly come to my linkedin page.

  • Christen Anderson


    Yes, it is possible and even encouraged. LinkedIn Endorsement is addressed in each of these articles, which you might find useful. And, this article has several resources on it: 12 Resources to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile.