Stop the glorification of busyThere’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last few months regarding LinkedIn’s new feature: Endorsements. Some are put off by the addition, claiming it’s the lazy person’s recommendation. Others say it’s a fair rider to a complete profile that gives potential employers a quick insight into your strengths.

All in all, I think most agree that it doesn’t truly hurt a job seeker’s profile. At worst, it doesn’t necessarily bring any real weight to it either.

However, could it cause inadvertent damage to your profile in other ways? What if you’re getting endorsed for skills you’d prefer to distance yourself from?

I’ll use myself as an example. Currently, I’m employed as a full-time proofreader. My day job keeps me connected to an industry where I have a fair amount of knowledge and expertise: medical editing and pharmaceutical development. Yet, it’s my “part time job” that feeds my soul: writing about the arts, culture and community development.

Now if you take a quick gander at my LinkedIn profile (assuming you’re in my network), you’ll see that I have twice as many endorsements for proofreading as for content writing, copywriting or music journalism. Is it because I’m no where near as talented in those areas as I am at proofreading and editing? Or is it because the majority of the people in my network thought they were doing me a favor by endorsing me in the skills that are currently bringing home the bacon?

I don’t wish to appear ungrateful for the kind testaments to my talent, but the endorsements could prove problematic for someone who, say, may be more interested in turning their career more toward writing than editing and proofreading. So what is that job seeker to do?

Do you delete the skills that you don’t want others to endorse so often on your behalf?

Do you contact those individuals who given you “kudos” and ask that they endorse you in another area instead?

Do you ask those in your network who haven’t endorsed you to drop by and endorse you for the skills you want potential employers to notice?

Regardless of whether you choose option A, B or C, the new system of endorsements becomes tarnished due to interference on part of the job seeker. You are skewing the results in your favor.

However, you could make the argument that since people often seek out and ask for long-form recommendations, how is that any different than asking for endorsements?

The whole point of LinkedIn is to put your best professional foot forward. If that means requesting endorsements or removing skills you no longer wish to use in your next job, I suppose no one could blame you. But it does introduce a whole new problem to your social media image. It also potentially robs you of clout and opportunity for new directions in your career.

That said, I’m not convinced LinkedIn’s endorsements feature is a bust. I can certainly see its advantages and I enjoy endorsing my talented friends and former colleagues. Yet, it some ways, it is a mixed blessing. How we handle that mix will determine if LinkedIn’s endorsements is worth our while.

How can job seekers avoid LinkedIn endorsements from
presenting a conflicting view of their talents?
How do you feel about LinkedIn’s new endorsements feature?