It’s not that I don’t appreciate the hundreds of endorsements that my LinkedIn contacts have bestowed upon me. It makes me smile each time I receive a notification that someone I know and have worked with pays me the compliment of giving me an endorsement. But still, I have to say that LinkedIn endorsements are pretty much meaningless.
If that was their sole purpose, to pay a compliment, I’d say that LinkedIn endorsements are ace. But they are supposed to provide viewers of the profile a collective insight into a persons skills and experience. Endorsements fail at this task.
I have received many endorsements from people I have never worked with; even some from people I only barely know online and have never met.
I recently have received a couple of endorsements for ‘press releases’. Notwithstanding the fact that the term ‘news releases’ is the more accurate descriptor, it seems rather faint praise; if after 20 years in the profession I couldn’t handle writing a simple media advisory all the other endorsements would be rendered absurd.
I make it a policy never to endorse anyone I haven’t actually worked with and I never make an endorsement I don’t believe is accurate. I’ve had LinkedIn suggest various endorsements I should bestow on my contacts. People I know who can barely operate their own personal Facebook profiles are suggested as social media experts. Individuals in the first year of their careers are suggested as skilled in business strategy.
Other suggested skills are so vague they could mean anything. What exactly is an expert in ‘editorial’? What does an expert in ‘analysis’ actually do?
Instead, Linked In should allow users to score our contacts’ skills to provide a more accurate picture of a person’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, on a scale of one to five, how would you rate this person’s writing skills, his strategy development skills, his experience in video production, etc.
People would think twice about doling out endorsements for people they’ve never worked with for skills and experience they don’t understand and are in no position to judge.