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A little over a week ago, LinkedIn debuted Endorsements, which they’re touting as a professional version of the Facebook Like. Connections in your account can endorse you using the skills and expertise section of your profile (which you need to fill out if you haven’t already) or submit their own:

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But the question remains, which is better?

The answer is, unsurprisingly: neither. Both are equally important in different ways.

Endorsements are important, especially as part of the skills and expertise section, because LinkedIn’s tie-ins with corporate HR systems allow hiring managers to rapidly search profiles for needed skills. The fact that people can now vote for your skills likely adds some additional back-end data to those enterprise systems. More broadly, people looking to hire you can evaluate what your peers think you’re good at with a single glance. One look above at my profile should hopefully convey that I have capability in various areas of digital marketing.

Recommendations are important as visible testimonials of your work, especially at individual positions. They’re sales testimonials in the best possible way, a way that highlights what you can do and what results you’ve generated in the words of others. They’re fodder for resumes, speaking kits, and much more. They’re longer than just the single clicks of endorsements, and are incredibly valuable.

Ideally, you can and should gather both. I think they’re valuable to different audiences, too. I am very conservative when it comes to writing endorsements; we need to have worked together in a professional capacity for some time in order for me to honestly pen words about what you’re capable of in a manner that I can back up. If someone called me and asked if what I wrote about you in a recommendation was true, I’d want to be able to say, absolutely.

Endorsements are a different beast. I think they’re valuable for people you haven’t worked with but you know by reputation or content. You can still publicly support them, but you don’t have to put words to it in the same fashion as recommendations.

Solicit both when warranted – solicit recommendations from people who can honestly and authentically write powerful words to support you, and ask for endorsements from people who get value from what you do but don’t necessarily have that long professional relationship to offer deeper insight.

Of course, being a marketer, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you to endorse or recommend my profile if you’ve gotten value from what I do. Please click here to head over to the profile and then choose whichever avenue you think best represents the value I’ve helped you with.

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