As LinkedIn rolls out minor change upon minor change in waves for your profile, before you click that button, ask yourself, “Should I really do this?”
One of those changes is your LinkedIn Summary and Specialty Fields. Since their inception, LinkedIn’s profile began with your Header, followed quickly with your Summary (an introduction from you to the LinkedIn community) and appended by your Specialties (keywords that described what you consider your key areas of expertise).
Since LinkedIn is your profile, originally in essence your online resume, this made sense. Especially as the economy changed and people started not only changing jobs, but changing industries, which meant a functional resume was at times more important than a chronological one.
But we are now solidly in the era of Big Data, where data about everything, but especially about YOU is a commodity. Hence the transition from the free-form field “Specialties” to the list… the data it seems is YOU.
Don’t get me wrong! I love a lot of the changes, but did you read the fine print on the option shown on the screen shot above?
“To help streamline how your profile is displayed, we’ve combined specialties with the Summary section. You can add these specialties to your Summary, but you’ll need to edit the section so everything fits. [LINK: Append specialties to summary]“
In other words, you get 2,000 characters for your Summary. We typically encourage people to use as much of that SEO-rich space as possible. AND, if you still have a specialties section, that field has 500 characters. IF, however, you click that handy “Append” link while editing your profile, you’ll LOSE that 500-character also SEO-rich keyword field and have ONLY your 2,000 character Summary.
Now, if you’re a recent member of the site, you weren’t offered the specialties section anyway, so no big deal.
Everyone now has “Skills and Expertise”, which is a much more data-rich section full of keywords that can be compared, measured, and analyzed. In fact, according to Fortune “The world we have made is one that can be measured.” (Shown on the home page of www.humanfaceofbigdata.com).
And yes, I know… the constant onslaught of endorsement seeking is beyond annoying, not only for you but for the people who are being endorsed! Here’s why:
- No one told people they should list skills in order of importance. Instead, like I first did, you likely listed them in the order you thought of them.
- LinkedIn didn’t tell anyone when they started Skills and Expertise that they would soon be listed in order of the number of endorsements (with the most endorsed skills being at the top).
- The way Skills are offered to people to endorse is a) how they are related to you and then b) how they already rank in your profile. And they even nicely list the “Top Ten Skills” based on the number of endorsements.
In other words (this post seems to need a lot of extra explanation)… I was talking with friend Wendy Blomseth of the Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal today. She mentioned how, in a previous life, she was a professional photographer and it seemed everyone was endorsing her photography skills, which she wished was not the case now that she is a connector and “Audience Development Representative” at The Business Journal.
But when I looked at her profile, I was asked to endorse the skills of Social Media Marketing and Lead Generation, which just happen to be 2 skills we have in common! In other words, LinkedIn believes I’d be better suited to endorse the skills we share rather than those we don’t. So I did some checking and it seems that holds true for everyone I share skills with (you can see this in the right column of a person’s profile). If we don’t share skills, I’m asked to endorse your most endorsed skills, further pushing them up the list, even if those are not the skills YOU believe to be the best representation of you.
Again, in other words, LinkedIn doesn’t care if the method is not the most accurate, it just keeps pushing to gather the data of YOU so that it has more value to offer those who purchase that data: subscribers, marketers and advertisers, and of course, recruiters (who will want to search for endorsed skills!). As a Forbes online and printed Magazine feature article by George Anders states:
How LinkedIn Has Turned Your Resume Into A Cash Machine
… I’m just saying.
I’m not leaving LinkedIn; I continue to evangelize the benefits of LinkedIn; I’m just saying, don’t believe everything LinkedIn tells you. They are not looking out for your best interest past the degree they need to to keep you. They are a BUSINESS! Their best interests are their own and those of their stockholders. That’s one reason we tell professionals and businesses it’s better to learn from independent trainers and speakers than it is to learn from those who come from within the walls of LinkedIn, sharing the company story.
If you’d like free video-based training complete with engaging instructors and on-screen demos (not all recorded webinars with all of the excitement an annotated PowerPoint can bring), check out our online, on-demand training portal RockLinkedIn.com. I’m not here to pitch you… I’m just saying.