Why LinkedIn Endorsements are Useless

Ask my professional network of LinkedIn connections and they’ll tell you: I am an expert when it comes to SharePoint. The only problem is that in reality I have no idea what SharePoint is. But these multiple endorsements of SharePoint that I have received on my LinkedIn profile illustrate a very important point: LinkedIn Endorsements are pretty much useless.

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The “Point” of Difference

From Wikipedia, SharePoint is “a web application framework and platform developed by Microsoft” that “integrates intranet, content management and document management”. Interesting stuff, but I still really don’t know what SharePoint is. It sounds like a web development tool to me, but being in the website design and development game, I’ve got to say that I’ve never come across it once. What SharePoint does or doesn’t do is a moot point here – the point is that I don’t really know what it is or what it does, yet I’ve received multiple endorsements from my professional network.

What I *think* has happened is that my professional network have mistaken PowerPoint for SharePoint. I do a fair amount of work in PowerPoint – part of our content marketing offering is to develop slide decks and presentations that can be shared on sites such as SlideShare.net and AuthorStream.com. But SharePoint? I wouldn’t know it if I ran over it with my car.

 

Mindlessly Easy to the Point of Useless

So how did I become an expert at something I clearly have no idea about? I don’t blame my professional network of contacts – some of the people who have endorsed my SharePoint skills are people who I include in my closest professional inner circles. I don’t question why they think I’m proficient in (or even familiar with) SharePoint.

The real culprit here is LinkedIn. It is so mindlessly easy to endorse someone in your professional network for skills that they don’t necessarily have that it makes the whole concept of endorsements meaningless. Log into LinkedIn and with a single click of a button you can endorse somebody for five or six skills that LinkedIn has preselected. Heck, you don’t even have to read them – just click and endorse! Visit someone’s profile and you’ll be presented with another opportunity to endorse another handful of skills your connection may or may not have. You don’t even need to check off boxes for the skills – LinkedIn does it all for you.  All you need to do is click one single button.

This is exactly why LinkedIn endorsements are completely meaningless.

 

Endorsements More Meaning Big Brother: Recommendations

Luckily, the story doesn’t end there. LinkedIn has another feature that restores some credibility to endorsing someone in your professional network: recommendations.

Recommendations are entirely different from endorsements. Recommendations aren’t a tally of how many people in your network are endorsing you for a skill (that you may or may not have). To write someone a recommendation you have to sit down, think about it for a bit and type out words to describe your thoughts on the person you’re recommending.  A recommendation might take five minutes – ten if you want to be thorough – and is not just a single mindless click of your mouse. To give a recommendation you actually have to spend time and put thought into it and therein lies the true value of recommendations. If someone has taken some time and energy to write a recommendation for you then you must be worth at least that, right?

 

Conclusion

LinkedIn endorsements are a useless feature of LinkedIn because of how easy it is to endorse skills of professionals in your network. Unfortunately, the way that LinkedIn has automated endorsements it’s very easy to endorse people for skills that they don’t have, which defeats the whole purpose of endorsements. Fortunately, LinkedIn recommendations – which require a person to take some time think about and type words of endorsement – do require some effort and thus are far more valuable to have as part of your professional profile.

 

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Steve Hartley
steve.hartley@sparkitects.com

My name is Steve Hartley and I am the Managing Partner of Sparkitects. We help businesses succeed with their online marketing efforts. I work with companies on the planning and preparation phase, which is so important in the success of an internet marketing campaign. I think strategically to identify the best tools and platforms to use for online marketing success.