I got this email from someone on a webinar I recently did:
I often get emails saying that someone I know has endorsed me for a particular skill (the boxes, not a written recommendation). I’ve wondered if there is etiquette for this situation. I assume that if you want to use it as a way to connect with that person you have a perfect opening. If not, should you say thanks? Honestly, in many cases it isn’t really a meaningful endorsement.
I just delete them.
I don’t think anyone expects a thank you. It is so easy to give endorsements… and I think you are right: “it isn’t really a meaningful endorsement.”
You are also right with this: “I assume that if you want to use it as a way to connect with that person you have a perfect opening.”
So yeah, if you want to use it as an opportunity to further a relationship, respond. Otherwise delete the email notification from LinkedIn.
I don’t think you’ll burn bridges.
It is quite different, though, with Recommendations.
Check out this post: LinkedIn Stock Dips 10% On Slowing Growth, Even As It Beats Q1 Estimates On Sales of $324.7M; EPS $0.45
I don’t like the stock market. I don’t think it provides real feedback on how a company really does, so the 10% dip doesn’t concern me at all.
Having said that, here is what I got from that post:
- LinkedIn soared past the 200M mark and now has over 225M members. This DOES NOT mean users, it means signups. I’m guessing a lot (most?) of the new signups are outside of the U.S.
- LinkedIn will “earn” more than $1B this year. That is really cool.
- They are excited about new features but I’m afraid this will only be a push to get more upgrade money instead of more users and usefulness.
- Premium subscriptions for the quarter was $65.6M. I could be totally wrong but I think that means they have 1.1M upgrades. Here is how I got there. I am assuming most upgrades are at the bottom end: $20/month. 65.6M divided by 3 months in the quarter = $21.9M per month. 21.9M = $20 monthly upgrade price = about 1.1M people. One flaw in this rough calculation is that don’t know if the $64.5M figure includes corporate and recruiter upgrades… regardless, 1.1M upgrades on 225M people is less than 1/2 percent, which is what I’ve always heard freemium models do.
That’s my simple takeaway from the TechCrunch post…
LinkedIn is obviously a great tool for professionals in transition. Here’s the terrific story of Eric Pettit. He went from thinking he knew what he was doing in a job search (using job boards) to getting mentoring and having real, amazing results using LinkedIn.
Congrats to Eric, and thanks to Dave for sharing this on his blog
LinkedIn Contacts is one of the coolest things LinkedIn has released. They should have done it years ago. They really should have just acquired JibberJobber years ago, but oh well
LinkedIn Contacts is the closest thing to CRM that LinkedIn has released. It comes from some strategic acquisitions, one directly affecting this new feature (or almost-spinoff) and one that should have but might later. More info on that at the TechCrunch post.
Aside from the excitement, or the problems, I want to address a problem that no one is talking about. Let me use the issues of cloud computing (that is, having your data out in the cloud, which means no on your computer… it is on some company’s server that you have no control over) that is brought up on this Huffington Post blog post as well as the original source in this blog post: Dumped! by Google
You can read those but the bottom line is that Tienlon Ho used Google for all of her stuff (Gmail, Google Drive, etc.). And she did something that Google didn’t like, so they kicked her out.
The issue I want to talk about is not hacking into the server by bad guys, or their technology failing (which happens, but the sites are usually back up in minutes or hours)… I want to talk about POLICY.
In Tienlon’s post she says:
“Google not only reserves the right to take away or vaporize our data for any reason…”
Do you realize that when you use a cloud system you give them permission to…. do what they want with your data or your account?
Listen… there are reasons the cloud is awesome. You don’t have to worry about YOUR hard drive anymore, which is a pain. I was an IT manager and dealt with failed hard drives, backups, lost data, etc. all the time. The cloud allows you, a normal person, to essentially have a full IT team providing protection against all that (as well as server updates, upgrades, etc.). It is awesome.
But it has been vulnerable to things, like hackers and downtime (just like your computer is vulnerable).
Again, the issue I want to talk about is POLICY.
I’m going to share an email I wrote to a few hundred career coaches this morning about this… I hope this simplifies it.
Recently [on that list for career coaches] we’ve seen a thread about getting locked out of your LinkedIn account because of putting titles in the name field on a Profile… right?
That is a POLICY issue.
This week LinkedIn announced Contacts, which is getting closer to good/real CRM (which competes against JibberJobber ). <– that is my disclaimer
They do some things right with Contacts, some things not so right. The biggest heartburn I would have, though, in recommending it, is their POLICY.
What if you do something against the user agreement and they lock you out for a day or a month or until you beg on your knees for your account back?
I’ve seen this coming for a long time… it is a clash between their policy and your need for data.
If they locked you out of LinkedIn before, it wasn’t the end of the world. It could hurt, sure, but it was mostly a place to find and research… not a place where all of your CRM notes were (including action items, etc.). It was an inconvenience but many could go on without it until it you could resolve it and get back into your account.
Very time sensitive data, though, like phone numbers, email addresses, and dates of follow-up… that is different.
If LinkedIn doesn’t change their POLICY, and they still have a heavy hand on when they will disable accounts, I would never, ever, ever recommend someone store their CRM data there. Why? Because you could lose access to your rich information you’ve gathered because of one of their rules that has to do with social networking, which is different than your private storage of stuff in a CRM.
This is a huge issue.
Many have said this is their playground. Do you like their rules? What do you trust them with?
The cloud issues become more sensitive when the data is more critical. Lose your Pandora settings? NO BIG DEAL. Life will go on.
Lose your entire CRM system that you’ve been putting information in over weeks or months or years? That is a HUGE issue. And the current policy isn’t going to cut it.
Now, let’s talk about JibberJobber. JibberJobber is a cloud-based personal CRM system… so what is the difference?
It is simple. Because we don’t have to come up with stupid rules (like don’t put something in a field that doesn’t belong there (ie: email address in a name field)), we don’t kick people out for lame violations that they may not have even known they violated.
We don’t have to worry about people spamming Groups and comments and other users because we don’t have those features. We are more of a pure CRM.
Our POLICY allows you to do stuff you want without worrying about whether you are going to get locked out of the system or not.
In this discussion, that’s the big difference. We’re still vulnerable to the other cloud issues, but I can comfortably write a post about this POLICY issue knowing that we have that taken care of.
What do you think… are you ready to use LinkedIn Contacts? Or is that the type of data you really want to have somewhere else, where you aren’t under the heavy dictatorship of whimsical POLICY and repercussions?
Can someone provide advice on how our clients should portray their experience on LinkedIn once they have left their most recent employer?
Should they create a “new” job that states that they are in transition? Should they just change the date of their most recent employer from present to the current year and do nothing else? Should they volunteer and treat this activity as a job to fill the gap?
I have seen all of the above.
For those that are currently unemployed, I have seen:
- People say they are currently looking, open to opportunities, in transition, etc. A current search on “current” title for unemployed is 31,712 results.
- People say they are a consultant… for example, my new title after I get laid off would be “Consultant” at Alba Enterprises, Alba Incorporated, etc. This is very common. I won’t tell you how many current titles have consultant in them (okay, it is 1.44M) because which of those are unemployed and desperately seeking work and which of those are real consultants making mega bucks? Hard to tell.
- People change the date, as Nathan asks, and not have a current title. An alternative to this is that I’ve seen people NOT make any changes at all, so even though they are unemployed or have left a job, it still looks like they are at that job.
- People volunteer and put that as their current title. The hardest part of that is how do you find a volunteer opportunity that is long-term enough that you can post it as a title? Volunteering once at the humane shelter is probably not good enough to merit a new title on LinkedIn.
In my mind there are two questions: What is moral and not deceitful, and what is most helpful for the right people (most people think recruiters, but it could be non-recruiters, too) to find you?
Personally, I would put that I am a consultant at my own company… If someone wants to hire me to consult, I’m all over that. But just because I’m a consultant doesn’t mean I am out hustling 8 – 10 hours a day looking for gigs.
I am, though, EXPERT in something. And that is the brand messaging and value proposition I want to share.
Sure, you can know that I’m open to opportunities. I’m always open to opportunities.
We all know that employers want the hidden job seeker market… that is, the person who is not looking for a job. They call that the “passive candidate.” It is the holy grail of finding talent.
How can you be a part of the hidden job seeker market? By focusing more on your talents and passions and abilities and less on your current employment status. If you are a “consultant,” you are more likely to be considered a passive candidate by employers and recruiters.
Caveat: a lot of people, especially in certain places (silicon valley), see right through “consultant” and think it is synonymous to “unemployed.”
If I were a resume writer I would give my client a few options, like Nathan has listed above, and then let them choose the one they are most comfortable with. None of them are deceitful, but they all give a slightly different message, and the job seeker has to be comfortable with what they are communicating.
I knew Lewis Howes before he became a success…
He’s awesome. Here’s a little about him: How LinkedIn Transformed my Shattered Dream Into a 7-Figure Lifestyle Business
The key is at the bottom. I think his success is a lot less about LinkedIn (his expertise) and a lot more about this:
I know I’ve been blessed, and I had my fair share of luck (both good and bad), but I’ve never stopped hustling.
If you have hustle you can become successful in anything… I’m glad to read success stories about Lewis Howes because he hustled, and he deserves the success he is seeing!
Over the years there has been talk about the Name field… in the early days people would put email addresses and phone numbers, and that was against the policy. Apparently this was because you could put in contact info and go around using LinkedIn to communicate (or, to pay for the upgrade to inmail someone).
Even though it is really easy for LinkedIn to put some code in to prevent people from unknowingly violating this policy on LinkedIn, they choose not to and have (and are) disabling people’s accounts.
The talk now is what about acronyms, titles and any part of a tagline?
I doubt anyone is really reading the user policy before they sign up. Here’s what is in the user agreement:
10.2.2: [Don’t undertake the following:] Publish inaccurate information in the designated fields on the profile form (e.g., do not include a link or an email address in the name field).
10.2.8.c: [don't add] to a content field content that is not intended for such field (i.e. submitting a telephone number in the “title” or any other field, or including telephone numbers, email addresses, street addresses or any personally identifiable information for which there is not a field provided by LinkedIn);
So there you go.
Does this mean you can’t say what you do or are in your name field? I think it should be okay. The problem is that it is not being consistently enforced or communicated to users.
It’s easy to mistakenly put the information in the name field. Does that merit a 30 day account shut-down?
People who put a tagline or other info, aside from an email address or phone number, are REWARDED by LinkedIn’s search algorithms. They are showing up higher if the keywords they use in their title are in the name field.
LinkedIn could easily clean this up and make it clearer at the User Interface (UI) level… instead of hoping any of the 200M members have read their user agreement.
Personally, I think LinkedIn should work harder on enforcing 10.2.8.d, which talks about spammers. My heavens they should be busy on that one instead of this one.
At the end of the day, I tell my clients I like to see a “clean name,” that doesn’t even have acronyms… put that stuff elsewhere.
(An issue here is “what can be done” vs “what should you be able to do.” If LinkedIn is going to bust you for violating a policy that you haven’t heard of, I think they should build in some safeguards to help you know you are violating their policy before the penalize you)
I have a simple connection policy. Because I have such a public presence (with my articles, speaking, books, JibberJobber, etc.) I pretty much accept everyone who invites me to connect.
I know LinkedIn says to only accept invitations from people you know and trust, but I think that concept is fundamentally wrong. That’s like saying “go to a networking event and only talk to people you know and trust,” or “only talk to people you get an introduction to.” The network event would be very quiet, I think.
For me, LinkedIn, like a networking event, is a place to meet people and give me a chance to figure out if I can know and trust them. It is the beginning. An invitation is like walking up to someone and saying “Hi, I’m Jason, tell me about yourself.” It is the beginning.
I was surprised to get an email from someone who said a friend of his:
“… was bummed when he tried to connect with you and you denied him. I guess his invite wasn’t personal enough. This illustrated why it’s important to put more effort into inviting someone to your network. “
Actually, I don’t care if you send me a canned invite. I think it is bad form, and you have a lot to learn about how to invite, but heck, that’s what my book is for, right? I figure if you are still learning I’m not going to freak out because you did one little etiquette thing not-right.
My response was: