Wednesday August 14, 2013
Do you wake up in the morning with an inbox full of emails from LinkedIn about people endorsing you? Then do you delete it? But when you sign into LinkedIn there are more Endorsements waiting? And then you delete those and go to a member’s profile and there are those danged Endorsements again?
LinkedIn Endorsements are a great idea badly executed. Nonetheless- they are like brussle sprouts or time at the gym, a necessary evil!
When LinkedIn brought in Skills to replace Specialties (in the summary section,) I was a little skeptical. You can say you're skilled in just about anything you want. Where's the verification? Who’s to say if we are or are not skilled in a particular area? And that’s where Endorsements come in. They verify your skill set.
Except that’s now what happened. Rather than allowing people to organically find and endorse their connections on LinkedIn, LinkedIn pretty much shoved Endorsements down our throats.
Add to that the people who have connections that they don't really know (like me and anyone else who realizes LinkedIn is only as useable as the size of your network) and you get people who don’t know you endorsing you for skills you don’t have. Rendering Endorsements virtually meaningless. Finally, LinkedIn has some wacky algorithm that chooses the skills to be endorsed that people might not even have, resulting in a big disconnect.
So what can you do?
First of all, make sure that you have the right skills listed in your profile so you can get the right endorsements for those skills. You can add and find new skills at http://LinkedIn.com/skills. Or just go to the skills section in edit mode and remove or add new skills – up to 50.
Fortunately, it's also easy enough to remove any skill you think is not relevant to your profile. In edit mode, scroll down in your profile to skills and simply click on the blue pen and delete.
If people are endorsing you for things you're not great at, then thank them for the endorsement, and perhaps ask them if they'd be willing to endorse you for skills that you feel more confident in.
"Dear John, thank you so much for endorsing my basket weaving skills. I'm really feeling better about my service and hospitality skills, and would appreciate it if you could endorse those skills as well. And of course please let me know if you have any skills you would like me to endorse in return."
LinkedIn has made it easy to send a quick message to the people who have endorsed you. So make it a practice every day to go into your Endorsements, scroll over the pictures of the people who've endorsed you, and send them a quick thank you.
And you can always endorse other people with the hopes that they'll endorse you too. But don't make it a “tit for tat” game. The whole new rash of “open endorsers” (people who will endorse you if you endorse them) is doing nothing to help the Endorsements feature. Endorsements already are already weighted towards the side of non-legitimacy.
I don't recommend being the person who doesn't accept endorsements because you think they're stupid. I think they're stupid too. I also know they're necessary.
It is what it is. And like Klout, you kind of have to play the Endorsements game. If someone goes to your profile and you have no skills listed and no Endorsements for those skills, there might be an assumption that you're not very good at what you do. So knowing that we have to play the endorsements game – how do we make the best of it?
We can only hope that LinkedIn begins to figure out that the way endorsements are being fed to its membership is not a relevant reflection of its memberships’ skill sets. But until then, just hit accept and keep on moving!