The new LinkedIn “endorsement” feature has gotten a lot of attention – both positive and negative. The feature gives you a “one-click” way to indicate publicly that someone has certain skills or expertise. In general, endorsements relate to skills that people have affirmatively listed on their LinkedIn Profiles.
For example, if you speak publicly, you can add “public speaking” as a skill to your LinkedIn Profile. Your LinkedIn Connections and anyone who visits your Profile then have the opportunity to confirm that they believe that you in fact have that skill or expertise.
To see how this works, go to the Profile of someone you know and you’ll see a box that says “Does X have these skills or expertise?” and has perhaps five or six boxes with skill names (blogging, litigation, etc.). You can “x” out boxes with skills that don’t apply and then click on a button that says “Endorse.” You can also simply click on the “Skip” button and not bother with any endorsing.
After that, you, usually with a small thumbnail of your LinkedIn Profile picture, will show up on that person’s Profile as one of the number of people who have endorsed the person for those skills.
The excellent Ask Dave Taylor blog recently provided the answer to a common question about endorsements: “Can I Remove an Endorsement on LinkedIn?”
As Dave says in his answer, it’s tempting to say “don’t worry about it” and say that it doesn’t really matter. However, as his answer states, there could be situations where you want to remove your endorsement. He singles out the case where you are well-known in a field and your endorsement of a skill might carry much more weight than you intended. Other examples I can think of are when you realize that you endorsed someone for something that they don’t really do or where something happens where you want to distance yourself from any comments about a person’s skills (call this the “the person I endorsed is now going to prison for using the skill I endorsed him for” scenario). You might think of others.
Here’s the quick answer. When you go to someone’s Profile, you’ll see a blue plus sign for the skills you’ve already endorsed for that person. If you move your cursor over the plus sign next to the skill you want to “unendorsed,” the plus sign turns into a minus sign with the phrase “Remove Endorsement.” Click on it. Voila. You no longer endorse the person for that skill. Even better, he or she is not notified that you unendorsed them.
If you’ve been a little too “endorsement happy” on LinkedIn and are rethinking your approach, this tip should prove to be a useful one.