LinkedIn Skill Endorsement Gone Wrong?

Random Endorsements

I sometimes wonder what is the use of the skill endorsement feature available on LinkedIn. This is one feature which looks out of place on my LinkedIn profile. It is so unorganized and random that it makes an otherwise professional profile look so unprofessional. This feature has a ‘Facebook’ nature to it rather than ‘LinkedIn’. The highly social nature of this particular feature has made it very cluttered. In this article, I’ll try to identify the reasons why I feel skill endorsement has gone wrong on LinkedIn.

  1. LinkedIn algorithms run some analytics and ask users — ‘Does X know C++?’ — Once something like this pops up, a lot of people just say yes thinking they are doing a nice thing by helping their connections. All of us have a lot of connections on LinkedIn, I would first like to classify them: people we have worked with on some project, people who are part of our social circle (school, office) but didn’t work together,friends, family and acquaintances. If we look at this categorization all categories other than the first one can only describe a person’s soft skills, and it is people in the first category alone (those we have worked with) can talk about hard skills. LinkedIn skill endorsement allows everyone to endorse everyone’s skills. This makes the whole system very unauthentic.
  2. When I look at skill endorsement, it looks to me as an objective version of recommendations. Recommendations are so authentic,the connect is apparent with a description for anyone willing to spend some time and read. However, we do get visitors who don’t have the time to read every recommendation and would want something objective (like skill) to look at. I wonder what if LinkedIn allowed one to endorse someone only if one is willing to put in a recommendation as well (both subjective and objective), this can make the process very authentic.
  3. Shouldn't skill highlighting be an Individual’s responsibility? I want to be in control of what is displayed on my profile. I believe I am the best judge of what my skills are and I should be updating them on my profile, which I do. This further confuses me as to why this endorsement is required? Should we have two skills sections in our profile? What about the coherence between the two?
  4. When I look at LinkedIn profiles, I see almost everyone being endorsed for around 15 skills or more. Can a person really have so many skills? Is everyone on LinkedIn an all-rounder? This brings me to the definition of skill — it is an ability acquired by rigorous practice. Just because I studied 44 subjects during my engineering and 38 during my masters in management, doesn't mean I have acquired 82 skills. Some of my friends have endorsed me for the subjects we have taken together, I feel grateful to them but I don’t really consider myself skillful in everything that I studied in school.

What are your opinions? How do you define skills? Do you think LinkedIn skill endorsement is useful?

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