Why I Turned Off ...

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I conducted a storytelling workshop at UC Berkeley last month that had a fresh wrinkle. A chunk of time was devoted to applying the concepts of storytelling to one’s personal branding, specifically the resume and LinkedIn profile.

Several questions zeroed in on the “Skills & Endorsements” real estate in LinkedIn.

While I’m an advocate for LinkedIn, my enthusiasm for this particular section is right up there with watching curling at the Winter Olympics … on a TV with rabbit-ears for reception … eating kale as the snack of choice.

I tried to mask my distaste, but apparently failed. After the workshop, one of the participants asked that if I think so lowly of “Skills & Endorsements,” why don’t I turn it off? As he pointed out, with a few clicks in edit mode, the following disappears:

LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements

Before answering the question –

I can understand hitting the “like” button for that perfect bowl of naengmyeon or “precious” video of little Johnny recreating a Robert Duvall scene from “Apocalypse Now.”

That doesn’t call for true evaluation.

But when LinkedIn updated the platform with “Skills & Endorsements,” it decided to play to the lowest common denominator – which works fine for funny or weird or sensory.

Not so much when it comes to assessing a particular skill set.

Because it’s too easy and superficial. It also breeds the quid pro quo, you click mine and I’ll click yours. To borrow from Snoop Dogg, it’s gamification gone wild (BTW, genius to add the extra “g”).

The bottom line: it tells you absolutely nothing about the individual.

So back to the question – Why don’t I turn it off?

I did.


Why did it take until now to flip the switch?

I’d need a therapist and a comfy couch before digging into this one.

And some kale wouldn’t hurt.



  • Ashley

    I see your point, but sometimes people don’t have a true understanding of a person’s role and this helps to clairfy this. I’m form the online marketing world and many people don’t understand what that means.

    Endorsements have helped.

  • Lou Covey

    I’d like to expand on that thought. A very important aspect of social media is the ability to get feedback from your audience. I stopped doing traditional public relations five years ago, but my long term audience still sees me as doing that, and not what I do now. However, the people that know me after I shuttered my practice identify me as what I do now. That’s valuable information. I still have work to do on my image.

    • hoffman

      I hear you Lou. I just think associating a person with a specific skill set (LinkedIn offers plenty of real estate for this) is not the same thing as endorsing a person for a specific skill set.


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