LinkedIn is an exceptionally valuable platform for professional networking.
It serves to provide information on potential employers, candidates, suppliers, partners, clients and competitors. It enables conversation through group discussions, advertisement through targeted banners and status updates, and allows validation of capabilities through ‘endorsements’.
Recent changes on LinkedIn included the much greater emphasis on validating the skills of those with whom you are connected.
Every time you visit a profile, a blue box appears above the name and portrait, with a series of terms which the individual has selected, inviting your confirmation of these skills. Immediately upon confirming these, a panel with four more appears, in an endless sequence. You may confirm these singly or all at once. You will recognise that this has the potential to be a major time-commitment, and elect to close the window!
Skills can be selected on your own profile or suggested by your contacts. I initially selected terms which consolidated my capabilities into a few specific terms. However, I recognise that some terms and acronyms will be unknown to some connections, and they may volunteer other terms which are meaningful to them.
As a result, my profile is well-endorsed for Web Design, but also for Web Development, User Interface Design, Online Production, Corporate Websites, Wire Framing, User Experience, Digital Media, Mobile Design and Website Development. Some of these terms highly specific and others more general, some are mutually exclusive and others are interchangeable. They simply reflect the understanding and common use of terminology by a broad range of connections.
Likewise, my profile displays many terms for motion picture production, including: Video, Web Video, Video Production, HD Video, Videography, Digital Video, Video Editing, Final Cut Pro, Film Production and Film.
LinkedIn endorsements are another example of an online network utilising User Generated Content (UGC) to build a more comprehensive and accurate database (like a global ‘Wikipedia’ of professionals). When Google searches for an individual name ofter display a LinkedIn profile as the top listing, the importance of accuracy is critical.
As these terms help to identify your capabilities, it is a valuable exercise to continually monitor incoming endorsements and to reciprocate by endorsing your connections.
The LinkedIn site and your profile (and professional life) will both benefit.