Sometimes it’s hard to find the line between social media for business and social media for personal interaction. Business sites take a dim view of users stalking each other or commenting, “I like your smile.” Unless you’re casting models for a toothpaste ad, that message is inappropriate in business communication.
But if you’re looking for a new job or a better one, you probably need contacts, networking possibilities, sales prospects, and endorsements wherever you can find them.
Although you can set your profile preferences to ignore them, you probably get requests to endorse people you know. The requests can seem outrageous. A co-worker, for example, has less-than-zero skill in the area claimed in the request. When the question window pops up and asks, “Does ____ know about ____?” I’ve been known to say aloud, “Oh HELL no!” She appears to claim skill in what is, in fact, a major deficiency. But wait—there’s another possibility.
Business sites, like other social media (and that includes Facebook and online dating sites) make money by increasing participation. They send messages that hint, or outright claim, that you’re reaching out to someone or claiming a skill – without your knowledge. When a reply or the endorsement hits your Inbox, it seems unsolicited. You think, “Hmmm. Nice.” So you reply or endorse them in return, and so on and so on. More clicks, more ad exposure, more membership signups.
A key word in your profile can trigger an unsolicited endorsement request. You might have designed the cover for a book on Java, but would never seek endorsement as an expert programmer. How do you protect yourself from the appearance of unjustifiable boasting?
- Don’t list skills in your profile or resume that you don’t have.
- Go to your profile and turn off endorsement requests.
- If you don’t want to turn them off completely, see if your profile allows you to control the skills you claim.
Finally, don’t judge people too harshly for endorsement requests that seem out of line. It’s entirely possible the person in the request has no knowledge of it and never claimed that skill.
Just to be on the safe side, I’m warning everyone. Even if you receive a notification, you may consider bogus any request to endorse me for:
- Sense of direction
- Anything remotely athletic
Trust me – the software did it.
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