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Is There Such a Thing as a Bad LinkedIn Endorsement?

Done well, LinkedIn endorsements highlight your strengths, build the perception of your expertise, and show prospective employers that you have connections who are enthusiastic enough about you to take a few seconds out of their day to invest in you. But that doesn't mean you need to accept every single one -- or that you should.

Done well, LinkedIn endorsements highlight your strengths, build the perception of your expertise, and show prospective employers that you have connections who are enthusiastic enough about you to take a few seconds out of their day to invest in you. But that doesn’t mean you need to accept every single one — or that you should.

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(Photo Credit: A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive/Flickr)

“It is important that your endorsements support your overall value proposition,” writes Don Goodman at Careerealism. “The more skills endorsements you have for your core skills, the higher rank you will get when recruiters are looking for talent.”

Do You Know What You're Worth?

A good endorsement, in other words, praises you for things that are essential to your brand. Off-message endorsements, while flattering, aren’t as useful: hiring managers don’t care about your unrelated skills and abilities, and by highlighting them, you can accidentally make it appear as if you don’t know what you have to offer, or what companies need.

The best way to make sure that you get the right endorsements is to offer a guide. Goodman reminds us that we can direct things, to a certain extent, by filling out the Skills & Endorsement section. Once your connections see the skills you’ve chosen, they’ll be more likely to understand what you’re after — and remember that you have those abilities. Then you can follow up with selected endorsers to ask for Recommendations.

Finally, there are a few times when you should never accept endorsements, including:

1. Errors of fact.

Your boss from 10 years ago remembers that you spearheaded an important project, and thus have XYZ skills. There’s just one problem: you didn’t. That was the other entry-level person, with whom your boss always confused you. Don’t accept it. Taking credit for other people’s work, even if you didn’t intentionally set out to do so, will always come back and bite you.You don’t want to be considered for a job if you’re not able to do the work.

2. Completely unrelated skills.

I once received a resume from a person whose first job experience was listed as “Cleaned and trained macaque monkeys.” It was for an editorial role. A colleague of mine in a similar position received a resume that highlighted the applicant’s extensive career as a semiprofessional figure skater. Don’t be someone else’s funny story. Stick to the skills the hiring manager wants to see, and save the humorous anecdotes for your first corporate happy hour as a new hire.

Tell Us What You Think

Do have rules about which endorsements and recommendations you’ll accept? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

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