Our Thinking

LinkedIn Leverage: Curating Your Profile

Are you befuddled whenever a new “feature” gets added to your favourite Social Media site?  Or are you excited about the possibility that the new feature may unlock for you?  The Endorsement feature of LinkedIn holds fascinating possibilities, but unlike every other part of your profile, it is the one that is completely beyond your control.

The Professional Headline (what appears closest to your name) is set by you.  The Summary section of your profile is set by you.  The remainder of your profile – also set by you – is designed to be the evidence that supports the Professional Headline and Summary.  The only exception (so far) is the Endorsements section, which is the crowdsourced reputation for your skills and expertise. How much longer will it be before LinkedIn begins to allow people to vote – thumbs-up or thumbs-down – on other aspects of your profile?  Or for people to flag parts of your resume with “please call me about this“?

If – or rather when – LinkedIn crowdsources your entire profile, LinkedIn will become the ultimate arbiter of your real-world professional reputation – something that sites such as Klout and Kred do crudely at best.

And if we are heading into a reputationally-transparent, crowd-sourced world, then what can you do now to prepare?  Consider three pre-emptive actions:

1) Slim your connections: The ability to endorse someone is limited to direct connections.  Disconnect from those you don’t know so well, to improve the accuracy of your current endorsements.  Removing these people will also remove their ability to “vote down” your profile in the future.

2) Strengthen real-world relationships with your LinkedIn connections: Instead of merely collecting names, engage your connections more proactively.  Demonstrating your expertise, willingness to help, and attitude now means more “up” votes later on. This also strengthens the tribe of people who will rush to your defense if someone comments negatively about you.

3) Remove wishful thinking: Don’t list “wanna be” expertise that people might question or call you on.  Remember the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

This week’s action plan:  Will LinkedIn ever crowdsource the rest of your profile?  Whether they do or not, even if LinkedIn never implements a 100% crowdsourced model, people are still voting up or down in their minds – and sharing their thoughts in real-world conversations with their colleagues.  Spend time this week getting stronger online by acting on these three pre-emptive actions now.