When my Uncle introduced me to LinkedIn in 2009, I was skeptical, not believing that it was anything important and feeling it was just another social network that I would be signing up for and not really using. Since then, I have grown to really love LinkedIn. While I am not on LinkedIn as often as I am on Facebook, since LinkedIn is strictly for business and professionalism, there are a lot of things you can do on LinkedIn to make sure you have a beautiful presentable profile. By beautiful, I mean that your LinkedIn profile should contain your resume including your education, experience, awards, and any other recognition. In addition, you may also display a portfolio, recommendations, endorsements, and some other aspects. LinkedIn is completely free, but there are other editions of LinkedIn that are paid and offer a lot more, as if being in an exclusive club. I have been offered free trials, but never bothered to try it considering that you have to enter in a credit card before they will give you your free trial. No thanks.
Click on this link to read about the Most Useful Feature on LinkedIn.
Going through LinkedIn features, there is one in particular that does not sit well with me. I personally think the Endorsements feature is useless. LinkedIn allows you to add a skill set of all that you can do: Writing, Editing, Organization, Programming, etc. LinkedIn allows its users to endorse those skills which basically says, “Yes, this person knows this skill and is good at it.” What is the problem then? While LinkedIn is great to network with your co-workers, bosses, and others, there are plenty of connections you have who know nothing about you to very little about you and still endorse you for your skills. Great, right? Useless.
It is like me telling my mom to call my boss and let my boss know I can do this or that. Sure, it adds spice and supposedly something nice to your profile, but in my opinion, its just clutter. Sure, I went to college with some girl that was studying child education and now I can endorse her for being able to babysit and teach children. Though the truth is, I have not seen her in a few years. I am sure she is great at what she does, but endorsing her for a skill when I have not personally seen her do it? Just my personal opinion: LinkedIn Endorsements are useless.
Imagine going to a college professor and asking them for an endorsement for your work at your college university so you can continue your education. They ask you to write a list of your skills. You write them down and hand your college professor the list. Your college professor hands you the paper back within a few minutes and a checkmark is by each of your skills. At the bottom of the paper is the professor's signature and a statement saying, "I endorse this student." Simple, right? Go ahead and send that letter of endorsement to the university you want to get in and let me know how that works out for you. If that really worked, it would be the most awesome thing ever. But real life does not work that way. You need a well thought-out well-written recommendation.
I also love it when people endorse me for skills that I know I have, but they have probably never personally seen me do or use those skills. Yes, thank you for the endorsement, I appreciate you taking a quick glance at my profile and being “suggested” to endorse me. It is a completely forced feature of LinkedIn, like second nature when you open up a profile, it just pops up on someone’s page. And not only that, after you are done endorsing that person, they keep scrolling up lists of new people to endorse. I could program a bot application to keep clicking on endorse, endorse, endorse all day, and then everyone on my list would be endorsed! Doesn’t help me one bit, but I’m sure I made their day by clicking endorse. Really, one way or the other, I couldn’t care less if I was endorsed for my own skills that I listed myself.
If my connections really want to do me any favors, don't endorse me. Write me a really good recommendation, I’ll write you one, and then we will both feel happy and good about each other. The endorsement is about as useful as the “Like” button. Sure, the Like button is used on just about everything. It lets people know that people “Like” it, but it really does not say much. People are just too lazy to comment or write on anything, so they reduce themselves to clicking a “Like” button, and also on LinkedIn, instead of taking 5 or 10 minutes out of their life, they click the “endorse” button.
I will say it again: LinkedIn Endorsements are a completely useless feature.
Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.