LinkedIn has made a lot of changes recently, if you haven’t logged in for a while you will be pleasantly surprised by the more attractive interface. The home page, profile page and business page have been overhauled and the whole experience is much nicer, if a bit Facebook like.
A new feature ‘Endorsements’ was introduced back in September. At first I thought they had just re-named ‘recommendations’ – the testimonials or references that you can request from your connections – but soon I started receiving notifications that I had received endorsements for various skills and realised they were quite different.
Find out more about them on the LinkedIn blog. There’s lots of conversation about them at the moment so I thought I’d weigh up some of the pros and cons.
It’s easy to get click happy
When I log in to LinkedIn it prompts me to start endorsing people for skills, as soon as I endorse one person it offers another person and another skill. It’s quite easy to get click happy, sometimes it offers me skills that I wouldn’t necessarily match to people and it would be all too easy to click those too.
Do LinkedIn endorsements change the way the network works?
In the early days of LinkedIn the key focus was on making genuine connections with people you know, LinkedIn promoted this idea strongly, one of the nicest features was the mechanism for asking for an introduction to someone via a trusted member of your network. You would ask them to introduce you to one of their connections, this worked because as everyone was connected only to people they trusted, people were happy to introduce trusted connections to others. I’m aware that I’m old-school on this but I still tend to use LinkedIn this way. If I meet someone or have had a long conversation with them on social media I will connect with them but I rarely connect with someone I haven’t met or don’t know.
I am aware however that this is no longer the way that the majority of people use LinkeIn and with endorsements it looks like LinkedIn is encouraging us to make more connections. When I look at the LinkedIn profiles of others I know I realise that even though I have lots of endorsements I don’t have as many as people with more connections. This is making me feel competitive and is encouraging me to connect to more people so that I can match my colleagues and competitors. I’ll loose my strong network but I’ll gain… some numbers next to my name.
You can be endorsed for anything
An online friend of mine Iestyn Lloyd has been endorsed for all sorts of skills that I’m pretty sure he isn’t skilled at…. or if he is they don’t really match his professional profile (see above). This is a great example of how we can easily be endorsed for skills we don’t have. Today I logged in and discovered I’d been endorsed for SEO an area I know a little about but not one I’m strong in. Luckily LinkedIn gave me the option to delete it before adding other skills to my profile.
They are an opportunity to re-connect
I asked what people thought of endorsements on Facebook and Twitter and got some interesting replies. One from Marie Ennis O’Connor said that she was seeing benefit from them. When she got an email saying that someone had endorsed her she would reply with a thank you leading to her meeting up with people and re-initiating dormant relationships. This is a great way to maximise benefit from endorsements.
They are a quick way for profile visitors to see your skills
Now when someone visits my profile they can instantly see my key skills. I’m lucky that the skills I’m endorsed for the most are indeed the ones that I would like to appear at the top of the list. However in some ways I feel I am loosing control of my profile. If I had let that ‘SEO’ skill in earlier it’s possible that a large number of connections could get click happy and endorse me for that pushing it towards the top of my profile. Luckily there is an option to delete skills that you don’t have even after you have let people endorse you for them.
Most of the feedback I got when I asked the question on Twitter and Facebook was negative, in fact some of it was angry. What do you think of endorsements and the new LinkedIn, is there a benefit I am missing?