LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 175 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.
I am a big fan of LinkedIn and use it on a regular basis. It has been a great tool for networking and has led to multiple business opportunities which is a big part of why I maintain an active presence there.
The description above should help answer questions for those of you are unfamiliar with it. The link I provided is to my personal profile page which I might add is always under development.
My grandfather once asked me to explain why I “tinker” with it and my response was that it is not unlike most essays, there is always a way to say it better. Not to mention that there are lots of other reasons to adjust it.
Sometimes personal objectives change, new skills are developed and or LinkedIn makes changes to profile pages that warrant adjustments on our part.
Make Your Resume/CV Come To Life
One of the best and most important reasons to use it is to make your resume/CV come to life. It is a chance to try to add substance and layers so that you can distinguish yourself from other people. If you are looking for employment this is of paramount importance.
LinkedIn provides a number of tools to help you do this including recommendations and endorsements. Christopher Penn has a post about the two in which he asks and answers the question of which is better.
I have questions about the validity of both.
Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
I have been on Linked In for approximately three years now. During my time I have received multiple requests from people I know to provide recommendations about their work with the understanding that if I did they would reciprocate.
It is not a concept I am comfortable with. If I haven’t worked with you I am going to be reluctant to offer more than general superlatives about you. I will focus on what I know about you from personal experience.
If I say you are a master goat herder that is because I have watched you do it. When I say there is no one better at extinguishing fires on the Cuyahoga River it is because I have seen you put out those flames.
No one is served by creating fake or inflated recommendations. Yet it happens all the time which makes it harder to evaluate what is real and what is not.
What About Endorsements?
There is a similar challenge to the endorsements of a person’s skills. When you list them on your profile your first generation connections can provide endorsements that say you are an expert content marketer with a great social media skills and are a fine writer.
Based upon the experiences with recommendations it is hard not to wonder about whether some of the endorsements that are given out are deserved or just “gifts.’
This doesn’t mean you should throw out the baby with the bath water because many of the recommendations and endorsements that have been issued have merit to them and are well deserved.
It is just another case of making sure you take the time to conduct an evaluation based upon more than just a profile. Sometimes what you see on paper/screen is far different than what you get when you speak with a candidate.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Please let me know in the comments.