It’s a simple enough concept. If you’ve done business with someone on LinkedIn, you can endorse their skills in their profile and/or rate them with My Biz Card. If you want your connections to endorse or rate you, there is the option to ask them via private message. It’s this option that many LinkedIn members use to make themselves look ridiculously unprofessional.
The endorsements feature on LinkedIn is relatively new. The latest twist on that (and the inspiration behind this post) comes from My Biz Card. They encourage abuse with the following “mass message”.
Sorry for the mass message. Can you please take a moment and leave me a quick professional rating here:
If you want to unsubscribe, you actually have to sign up. Since I refuse to have anything to do with this kind of personal spam, I’m receiving more and more of the notices. I can only hope that LinkedIn terminates them.
Would you walk up to a stranger or casual acquaintance and say, “My name is John Smith. Can you write a recommendation letter for me?”
What kind of impression would that make? I don’t believe I’m being too much of a stereotypically polite Canadian to consider it unprofessional and downright rude.
Conversely, would you put your name and reputation on the line in the real world to recommend someone, if you’re totally unfamiliar with their work? What if a puppy is abused in the care of that Pet-sitter? Or that Accountant robs a company blind?
Why Not? Seriously?
- The practice of begging for endorsements or endorsing people you barely know makes you look unprofessional at best.
- You’re wasting the time of people who are intelligent enough to refrain from endorsing someone’s work when they’re not familiar with it.
- You’re compromising your own reputation if you recommend others in the hopes of getting a reciprocal endorsement and/or to get their attention.
- If anyone checks with the people who recommended you and they find out the person knows nothing about your work, you’re going to look sneaky and dishonest.
- Connections are going to start dropping you.
LinkedIn is being corroded by the abuse of these features. It’s not intended to be used as nonchalantly as Facebook ‘Likes’. Its purpose is to provide a professional, legitimate endorsement of someone who you would actually write a recommendation letter for offline. That’s because recommendations are supposed to be earned.
Your LinkedIn connections are not your personal mailing list for recommendations, sales/spam, fundraising, votes, or your latest newsletter. They’re part of your network like the people in a Chamber of Commerce group. Treat them respectfully and you’ll enjoy the many benefits of networking. Abuse them and you’ll do yourself far more harm than good.
BONUS TIP: LinkedIn is a unique environment for professionals. If you really want to leverage it for business, check out LinkedIn for Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople Get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedIn, by Wayne Breitbarth.
How do you handle requests for LinkedIn endorsements or ratings? Please share your tips in the comments below.
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