What Do You Think Of LinkedIn Endorsements and Recommendations?

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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.’

Buyer Beware

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.

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  1. Justin December 19, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Hi Josh,
    I often scratch my head when I get a request to write a recommendation for someone that I know almost nothing about. Sure, If I have a relationship with someone online and they ask for a recommendation than I have no problem with that.

    Take Care.

    • Josh December 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Justin,

      Exactly. It seems a bit odd to be asked to write a recommendation for someone you know next to nothing about. If our words are going to mean something we have to find a way to make sure they have some weight attached to them.

  2. Tim Bonner December 12, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Hi Josh

    A bit like Jens, I have a LinkedIn profile but that’s about it.

    I’ve made a few connections with people but I’m not really sure what I’m doing with it to be honest. I guess I need to pay more attention to it like I have been doing with Pinterest of late and see what it takes me.

  3. Brian D. Meeks ( December 11, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I think LinkedIn is great, but I don’t take advantage of the groups like I used to. I’m sort of disinterested in the whole endorsement thing. I don’t care if someone is endorsed or has endorsed me. I’m not saying it is good or bad, it is just how I look at it now until I’m convinced otherwise.

    I’ve gotten to where I am consistent at managing Twitter and FB. They are both habits of my day. I’m trying to add G+ to the habit mix, but each new platform takes some time and dedication. I don’t want to trade G+ for one of the others, just add it, but eventually the day runs out of hours. I feel the same way about Linkedin. I see the value, but I haven’t been able to wedge it into my attention span.

  4. Jens P. Berget December 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I’m not really active on LinkedIn. I have a profile and I visit once in a while. But that’s about it. I like the endorsements, but I can see how people can use it a dishonest way. Have you joined any groups?

  5. Sapna December 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Hi Joshua

    I’d prefer to go in for due diligence on my part before accepting any of the endorsements.If People who know me in and and out and won’t have any hidden agenda won’t do this to me to say the least.

    At times the chain is bit longer and nobody is sure about the candidate, people who know me will surely present THE facts.

    But these are surely the best case scenarios but I have seen few recommendations so bad that those have been virtually thrown out.

    I prefer to tell the facts before recommending anyone.


    • Josh December 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Sapna,

      We are on the same page about the facts. I don’t like being asked to give a recommendation about anything unless I am confident about what I am saying. If our word is our bond than we need to do what we can to protect and moments like this have an adverse affect upon our ability to do that.

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