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LinkedIn: recommendations vs endorsements

LinkedIn Updates“Nothing says you rock at your job like a LinkedIn Endorsement” was a recent headline in the Chicago Tribune. The article, as the headline suggests, rates the company’s newly launched endorsement function. But is it as good as it’s hyped up to be? Or are recommendations a far more credible addition to a person’s profile?

Those of you that use LinkedIn on a regular basis will know all about this new feature. Even if you’ve not been endorsed yourself your news feed – if it’s anything like mine – will be full of posts about so and so endorsing some or many of their connections. And the idea is a simple one: with just one click you can quickly endorse someone for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t yet used.

Savvy professionals fill their LinkedIn Skills and Expertise section with keywords – this enables their profiles to appear in searches more readily when individuals or companies are seeking a new hire, a new product, or a new service. It stands to reason then, that by receiving endorsements, and therefore adding more keywords to your profile, your chance of being found are greater. No problem here. What I do take issue with is just how easy it is for you to endorse, or be endorsed. Call me cynical but I can’t help but wonder if the credibility of this function will be undermined as a result. After all if individuals – and some clearly already are – endorse more or less all of their contacts as a means to build up their own endorsements the principle becomes somewhat futile.

LinkedIn already lets people recommend one another which, in my opinion, is a far more credible way of adding value to your professional status. It stands to reason that not only are most recommendations made by someone you have met and know well, but they also take far more time and thought to put together than a simple click of the mouse. They offer a far better overview of someone than simply one word or phrase in an endorsement.

Perhaps I’ll be proved wrong – endorsements will be the next big thing and I’ll be eating humble pie - but for now I’m sticking with recommendations. What’s your view – do you rate endorsements?

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