What the BLEEP are LinkedIn Endorsements?

What are LinkedIn EndorsementsAnd more importantly, does LinkedIn risk losing credibility in the long term by unwittingly opening its users up to legal problems in their careers?

A close friend recently asked, “What are LinkedIn endorsements, and do you condone them?”

As management within a public retail giant, he is not authorized to give references or recommendations about employees in his everyday life.

Indeed, reference checks are funneled along to HR, which offers scant details limited to “yes that was their title” and “yes, those were the dates.”

So his wise instinct is not participate in LinkedIn endorsements.

“What are LinkedIn endorsements, and do you condone them?” 

My friend’s question is echoed nearly every day of the week in my practice, as well as in my network of résumé writers, career coaches, and life coaches.

It’s almost like those enthusiastic LinkedIn developers—whom I admire immensely, for the record—aren’t thinking through the ramifications of their offerings.

Or at least they’re counting on people who work in highly regulated industries to do their own critical thinking because I haven’t seen LinkedIn advising about the problems associated with endorsements.

SEC Issues

The first signs of something being off kilter popped up a few weeks ago when a commenter on an INC.com article entitled “LinkedIn Endorsements Changes Everything. Here’s Why” raised the conundrum U.S. Brokers / Registered Agents will likely face under the SEC Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Randomized Endorsements

LinkedIn has another challenge on its hands because clients, colleagues, and I seem to be receiving random endorsements that don’t make sense.

Also, I’ve endorsed only a handful of colleagues and friends—and zero clients, since I can’t officially vouch for them—yet one of my CFO connections asked if I’d indeed endorsed him for budgets.

Budgets?

No, I hadn’t. And if I were going to endorse a CFO, I’d endorse him or her for something larger than budgets.

On my behalf?

If LinkedIn is making random endorsements on my behalf to get the flow going, that’s a problem.

Why?

My connections include clients, which I’ve set to private because I’m a ghost writer and my work is highly confidential. My clients don’t want themselves outed for working with an executive résumé writer.

(Click here for “How to Hide Your LinkedIn Connections.”)

So what gives? 

Are LinkedIn developers making uninformed, poorly chosen, or unthoroughly considered choices?

Are they looking at things from a narrow point of view, when in fact there are a great many big picture implications for many of us that far surpass technical opportunity?

It’s one reason I repeatedly say: “Just because LinkedIn says you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

We have to use the gray matter between our ears and make smart choices.

To LinkedIn, I suggest this:

You risk losing your credibility and ultimately your value for two reasons:

  1. If you lead a user into an accidental career problem, you will lose and never regain their trust, and your brand will eventually erode
  2. If not using LinkedIn endorsements eventually means that user findability on LinkedIn is compromised, a swath of enthusiastic users will lose faith in their ability to participate.

What others are saying: 

Forbes has a can’t beat em, join em perspective. (Click here for Forbes’ article.) 

Mashable thinks they’ve become meaningless, as they are, and offers suggestions to improve the experience. (Click here for Mashable’s article.)

I’m interested to see where LinkedIn takes this sticky wicket.

Until next time!

Jared RedickVisit: The Resume Studio.com
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

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