I was notified this morning that I have another endorsement on my LinkedIn page.
I am flattered.
People I've never met, with whom I have no contact, at least on a personal acquaintenance basis, have endorsed me for my skills, some of which I would suggest are skills I lack, or at least skills that need a great deal of improvement to be worthy of endorsement.
Again, I'm flattered by the endorsements, but do they have any REAL value?
If I go looking for a person on LinkedIn to fill a specific job and I see that person is endorsed by a multitude of folks, my first instinct is to think: "Wow, this person must really know his (or her) stuff."
But then I remember MY endorsers.
I don't know WHY they endorsed me.
I used to have a Web site with more opinionated articles on it than Carter had Little Liver Pills - after 1958, just "Little Pills." But I took it down several years ago. I still have a Google site, but it's gathering dust; Google simply is too limited to meet my needs. I also maintain a blog - you're here now so I know you know it's location - but even the blog is getting fewer and fewer entries. (Solomon was right; there is "nothing new under the sun," especially for risk management practitioners.)
There are, perhaps, a half dozen "legitimate" endorsements on my profile. People with whom I have labored or with whom I have had either face-to-face meetings or extended and on-going email exchanges. The best endorsements are from the folks who often disagree with me; we both benefit from the exchanges. Besides, life sans differing opinions would be terribly boring.
Did I write that I was - am - flattered by all the endorsements?
Do I endorse anyone? To date, I have not.
Why not? If anyone gives me as a reference, I will gladly, immediately, and honestly respond to whomever asks about the job applicant.
On the old, now defunct, Web site I once had a list of references from former coworkers and supervisors. I made a point to get written references since people retire, move on, or otherwise "disappear." Written references can be scanned to PDF for Web sites; email references also are good.
But a LinkedIn endorsement?
A LinkedIn "Recommendation" is another matter. With a "Recommendation" there is some evidence, perhaps "soft" evidence, that the person writing the recommendation actually KNOWS the person being recommended, and hopefully really knows the person's qualifications. "Recommendations," in my Edward Bear mind, equate to "references."
I won't object if you want to endorse me on LinkedIn, but unless I know the endorser, it neither will excite me or gain the endorser my endorsement in return. (I know it may seem unkind, but all-in-all, the think the value of an endorsement has been, by its casual use, greatly devalued.)