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Getting endorsements on LinkedIn

Like many individuals, I have a profile on LinkedIn, the professional social media platform, bereft of grumpy cats and laughing babies. LinkedIn’s tone is professional and serious, valued for purposeful exchanges of ideas, networking and effective channels for employment recruitment.

Those with an account know, we are often prompted to endorse the skills of our connections. In addition to a text-based description of who we are and what we do, a separate section is available where the account holder can enumerate skill-set keywords. Here, “strategic planning,” “technical proofreading,” and other specific, impressive expertise and experience can be chronicled in one’s profile. It is these keywords we enter which trigger the endorsement requests our connections receive.

Source: melissallerana.com

I appreciate the endorsements I receive and I often return the favor.  But recently, I’ve been prompted to endorse a colleague with masters and Ph.D degrees for skills such as “PowerPoint,” “Excel,” or “Microsoft Office.” Really. It feels mundane and weird. Doesn’t everyone know how to use these programs?

Maybe not, but unless you are an entry-level Administrative Assistant, or have a certification from Microsoft, these skill sets ought not to need verification from our colleagues and distract from the focus on our professional profiles. It should be enough to list competencies in the summary or job description sections. It is unnecessary to reaffirm and request someone to stand up and applaud us, in a virtual way, for our ability to mail merge or hide a slide on a presentation.

Take the ambiguous term “research.” Do I know about that? Well, I’ve researched art history, and I know how to write a research paper, but am I sitting in a lab, with scientific controls conducting grant-funded research? No! Do I want LinkedIn to ask my colleagues if I know “research?” The whole endorse me please thing is becoming cringe-worthy if you ask me. Yes, I know there is a strategic advantage to endorsements, but it should be very specific and relative to one’s current profession. For those in the job market, personal recommendations are far more valuable.

I’m taking a closer look at all those tempting keyword boxes and plan to X out most of them. Everything I need to say has already been said in more descriptive sections. “Does Michele know Word?” Do you really care that I do? I betting it makes no difference at all.