Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Get LinkedIn recommendations instead of endorsements

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With LinkedIn passing the 15 million member mark in the UK in early March, the online platform is now undoubtedly one of the most important social networks on which every single marketer, not to mention every professional, should be.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently released a study revealing revealed that 40 per cent of employers look at candidates’ online activity or profiles to inform recruitment decisions. With this in mind, having a robust and effective profile is more critical than ever, because a LinkedIn profile is often the first place a prospective employer, a potential business partner, or hiring manager will go to learn more about you, your professional history, and your accomplishments.

In my work as a career consultant, the topic of LinkedIn often comes up, including which sections matter and which do not, especially when you’re is trying to make a positive impression with prospective employers. Many of my clients have recently been asking me if LinkedIn Skill Endorsements are useful to display on their profiles. To put it bluntly, no. As background, LinkedIn rolled out the 1-click skill endorsements feature in late 2012, where your Connections can quickly select from a suggested tick-list of your “skills” when you pop-up at the top of their profile. People can also do this directly in your profile. Endorsements then get tallied and listed in rank order on your profile, based on how many people have vouched for you having that skill.
While I have heard arguments from people about why endorsements are useful, including how it supposedly serves as a proxy indicator for your top skills, in the context of a hiring decision, I’ve never encountered a situation where endorsements made one bit of tangible difference. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Endorsements are not objective- The actual mechanic of the LinkedIn endorsement feature immediately skews the objectivity of the scoring process because it prompts you with a list of suggested “skills” associated with an individual. This is a bit like leading the witness, and one could imagine that people are simply clicking on the options offered up because in that split second, it’s actually easier to just click on what appears instead of really thinking about whether this person possesses that skill.

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