What’s the “right” response to LinkedIn endorsements?

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is whether there’s a “right” way to acknowledge or respond when someone gives an endorsement. Here’s an example of how one of my connections phrased it:

What is the proper response when someone “endorses” you for a particular skill or set of skills on LinkedIn? A public thank you? A quick personal note? Is any acknowledgement necessary? And, when a co-worker does this, I’m sure it’s with good intentions but I have to wonder if he or she isn’t quietly waiting for me to return the favor. I don’t want to turn around and immediately do this, it seems so obvious that way.

Well, there are obviously a few things to consider here, but this is my thinking: there’s no “right” way to do it, and I don’t think an acknowledgment is necessary, but an email to those who endorse you certainly can’t hurt. Like a lot of things, however, it’s a judgement call based on how you feel you should respond and what you would like people to do if the shoe were on the other foot. I’d also make a distinction between endorsements and recommendations, with the latter deserving more of a thank you, primarily because it takes more effort from the sender.

One thing I’ve seen that I also like is a status update thanking those who made the endorsement. My connection Chris Sanderson is especially good about doing this. Here’s just one example:


The truth is, there’s a lot of skepticism out there about endorsements (including from yours truly), so Chris’s response to them is somewhat refreshing.

With that nod to positivity I think it’s also important to address another knock against endorsements hinted at in my friend’s question above: our belief that they are usually given as a quid pro quo; given, that is, only so the favor will be returned. While I’m certain that’s the case at least occasionally, I’d also encourage you to accentuate the positive. After all, there’s no way of knowing for sure, so why not assume that it’s deserved?

What’s the message in all this? When considering how to acknowledge an endorsement, the best thing to do might be to start by acknowledging that you just may be worthy of it in the first place.

A cautionary tale about accepting connection requests from people you don’t know–even famous ones

Will the real John Sculley please stand up?

Earlier this summer, Forbes shared the story of a fake LinkedIn account created in the name of former Apple CEO John Sculley. The goal of the scam isn’t quite clear, but hundreds of users were duped into thinking Sculley wanted to connect with them. That’s no surprise, says Forbes, given what they refer to as “a gaping hole in the LinkedIn API”:

Unfortunately, gaming LinkedIn is surprisingly easy. A user simply creates a profile, then let’s it “sit” for about a month to “age”. After a time the account receives a notification that they should add employment history at which point they add something to their background. LinkedIn then accepts whatever employment information is provided. After that, the user verifies their email address…and runs the “Import contacts” feature to import the account to send invites to thousands of contacts at a time. Then, using the LinkedIn API, the attacker is able to collect all of the information from the profiles of those who accepted the connection.

The upshot of this cautionary tale? It’s another reason to limit your LinkedIn connections to people you know. While it may be a small boost to your ego when you get a connection request from someone famous whom you’ve never met, it’s probably better to do a little research before taking action. That might end up leading to disappointing news, but at least it won’t lead to bigger problems down the road.

Hat tip on the Forbes story: the LinkedIntelligence blog

Less than one week left to sign up for my LinkedIn class at IPFW

On Monday, July 15, I’ll present my foundational LinkedIn class, LinkedIn for Professional Development and Personal Growth, at IPFW. The course is designed to help participants understand how to use LinkedIn effectively, make the most of its features, and promote their expertise to an audience specifically focused on business content and opportunities. Here are a few course highlights

  • Why LinkedIn?: an overview of its benefits and capabilities
  • Features: how to make the most of LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn Mobile: how to stay connected on the go
  • Growing and working your network: using LinkedIn to build relationships
  • LinkedIn company profile: promote your business to your network–and beyond

If you’re interested in signing up, please do so soon by clicking here. I hope to see you there!

LinkedIn for Professional Development and Personal Growth
Monday, July 15, 6 – 9 p.m.
Register here

Quick Tip Tuesday: improve the quality of what you see in your home page news feed

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from LinkedIn users relates to what they see in their home page news feed. It usually boils down to the degree to which endorsements dominate the news feed, getting in the way of the things users really want like status updates from their connections. The good news is that, like most things on Linkedin, you some control over what you see. Here’s a look at the different news feed options:

Fortune covers LinkedIn

LinkedIn is on the cover of this month’s Fortune magazine. A few highlights from the story, written by Jessi Hempel:

– LinkedIn now claims 225 million members, a substantial increase from the 200 million it consistently reported elsewhere in recent months

– The company has enjoyed astounding success, including an 81% increase in the value of its stock since its May 2011 IPO and an 86% year-over-year increase in revenue in 2012.

– CEO Jeff Weiner sees LinkedIn’s role becoming more complex, serving as a repository to match professionals who wish to serve as a resource to one another even when they’re not looking for a new job. “Imagine a platform that can digitally represent every opportunity in the world,” Weiner is quoted in the story. “Where everyone with a job…is connected and will be able to use those connections, then LinkedIn will provide a real-time measure of where jobs exist, where customers aren’t being served, and where people need training.”

– A good reminder for we typically self-absorbed American users: 64% of LinkedIn’s members are outside the U.S.

– Monthly time on site for the average active LinkedIn user rose to 20 minutes in April, an increase of 17% as compared to the past year.

Did you read the Fortune story? If so, share your takeaways in the comments.