A little while ago, LinkedIn began allowing members to endorse each other. Unlike recommendations, endorsements were simply a way for one member to confirm that another member has a particular skill. Because LinkedIn made it extremely easy to quickly endorse people for multiple skills, and because there is no verification required at all, many observers questioned the validity or use of the feature, myself among them.
Of course, it’s nice to have a great list of skills on your profile, and having tons of endorsements for your skills is certainly more impressive than none at all. Furthermore, each time you endorse a potential partner or prospect, that person gets a nice email telling them that you thought they deserved to be endorsed for some skill.
If you thought that was all there was to LinkedIn Endorsements, then you might not have noticed the Skills & Expertise section.
Skills & Expertise
Like the old LinkedIn Answers, Skills & Expertise is hidden within the More drop down. If you can find it, you’ll be rewarded with a great-looking landing page that announces that Skills & Expertise is there to help you “Discover the skills you need to succeed. Learn what you need to know from the thousands of hot, up-and-coming skills we’re tracking.” According to LinkedIn, this feature is still in beta.
The top of the page features a search bar where you can begin typing in a skill. It can be for someone you wish to hire, or something you want to learn about and are looking for someone who’s blogs you might want to read. Or, more interesting, do a search on one of your own skills to see where you stack up.
Below is a summary of a couple of specific skills. For me, iPhone was the first “skill” listed, and the summary included cities, related skills, and featured professionals.
If you search on a skill and select it, you’ll see the full Skill Details page. The left side lets you search for a different skill or take a look at related skills. We’ll get back to the importance of related skills in a moment.
In the middle, you’ll see your selected skill and a nice box that details the industry the skill is typically associated with, whether or not you current list that skill, and a button to see suggested skills. You’ll also see a percentage followed by y/y, which stands for year over year. We’ll talk about the importance of this metric as well in a moment.
Below the info box will be a list of professionals who list that skill. You might think that these professionals are ranked according to the number of times they’ve been endorsed for that skill, but that isn’t the case. The top ranked professional for “Social MediaMarketing” only has 33 endorsements for that skill, while the #2 individual had 99+. So getting ranked isn’t solely based on the sheer number of endorsements.
At the bottom is a list of LinkedIn Groups that are associated with that skill.
Along the right side you’ll find buttons to share the skill, charts for relative growth, size and age, related companies, related jobs, and related locations.