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Can LinkedIn Endorsements Hurt Your Career as a Creative?
By: Tom Roarty
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Before I even get started, I feel it is important to state that I am a fan of LinkedIn. I believe there is a huge upside to being able to meet other professionals in one’s area of expertise. However, there are certain aspects of the professional network that could be considered a hindrance to one’s career. Now that some time has passed, and the dust has settled a bit in regards to LinkedIn's recommendations feature, I thought now would be a good time to revisit the feature and assess whether it is a viable career advantage.
 
Although the creative industry is more of a “show me” world, usually a recommendation is never a bad thing...or is it? What LinkedIn did was find a way to invite a member’s contacts to vouch for their skills in regards their area of expertise. It is a simple-to-use feature, which could be a valuable tool, for those deserving of the praise they are receiving. Lately, though, many of my connections are receiving endorsements for disciplines they really should not advertise as part of the services they could provide to prospective new clients, but who does a false endorsement really hurt? Pretty much everyone.
 
The problem starts with the person giving the endorsement. Unfortunately, in many cases, those people do not know what they are actually endorsing. What this person knows is they hire a company to do a job, and over the course of the project they hear buzzwords pertaining to their request. Once the project is complete (and to the client’s liking), they want to show appreciation, and one way of doing it is by giving endorsements to their direct contact. Unfortunately, all too often a contact person is not the same person developing all the aspects of the project that the client has heard about throughout the creative process.
 
Although this is an easy-to-make mistake on the behalf of the endorser, the real responsibility falls upon the endorsed. This is because once an endorsement is given, it is up to the person receiving it to decide whether to add it to their profile or decline it. For those who accept a non-earned endorsement, what they do is hurt the credibility of the person giving the endorsement; they take credit for someone else’s work, and they build a false expectation for future clients they might come across. Not to mention the fact that it dilutes the value of endorsements given to deserving LinkedIn members. Overall, everyone loses.
 
Although LinkedIn endorsements do not hold as much weight for creatives as their portfolios do, reliance on social media is ever-growing for employers. Without educating those giving the endorsements, or having members police themselves in regard to what they approve on their profiles, in time LinkedIn could suffer a credibility issue, proving once again that not all enhancements actually help a business model.


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