LinkedIn re-endorses Endorsements with relevance and targeting features

LinkedIn — the social platform where people go to network and look for jobs, which is currently getting acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion — continues to add more features both to ramp up usage and provide richer data around the 450 million profiles registered on its platform. Today it’s the turn of Endorsements, the part of LinkedIn that lets you and your peers tag your profile with one- or two-word descriptions of professional you.

3-1-1st-degree-skills-focus-3-2A new version of endorsements, LinkedIn says, will be supercharged with machine learning algorithms to surface endorsements that are more relevant to the person viewing your profile.

And endorsements will now also feature targeting, so that when you would like a peer to verify your skill, LinkedIn will send that recommendation to a person who is more likely to fulfil it.

The new features will roll out on LinkedIn’s mobile site, with the web version coming soon, the company said.

The updates could not have come soon enough. LinkedIn says that since it first launched the endorsement feature in 2012 as a lightweight way of people giving each other references and credit professionally on there without going through lengthy testimonial writing, it has racked up 10 billion endorsements across the platform.

Some of these are very legitimate, covering areas like machine learning and strong leadership. Others are… not so much, covering “skills” like “punching,” “chewing gum,” and “memes.” (Okay, maybe memes are legit, too, @panzer.)

In fact, for a platform that may have significantly fewer avenues for light-hearted usage, endorsements have become one of the few, possibly the only place, where people can have a little fun.

LinkedIn isn’t going to let that stop, but it seems that it is also now trying to steer endorsements back to business.

LinkedIn now will apply some of its data science power to reshuffling those endorsements. Now, those that might be most interesting to the person who is looking at your profile will surface at the top of the list if you happen to be one of those people with many skills listed.

Similarly, for those who have thought about adding these in but have been unenthusiastic about the idea of spamming or otherwise cold-contacting people with requests to endorse for skills, LinkedIn now will offer a way of making that link more targeted.

The reward for doing so appears to be more attention to the profile itself — which LinkedIn will also let come to the top of its own algorithmic searches because it is being kept more up to date (not unlike Google’s search algorithms, in that respect). LinkedIn says that people with at least five skills listed on their profiles get 17 times more views of those profiles.

Other new features at LinkedIn have included a revamp of its web version, new education pages and online learning features; and a better, more private way to signal when you are looking for a new job.

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