08 May 2014
Over the past few weeks, LinkedIn has been implementing a variety of changes and releasing information about future changes to come. These updates make a big difference in how professionals connect with one another and promote their personal brands, so it’s important to become familiar with them as soon as possible. Specifically, the biggest changes have been made to the Skills & Endorsements section of profiles, as well as to LinkedIn’s publishing platform. LinkedIn users now have the opportunity to adjust their Skills & Endorsements settings on a variety of levels and, soon enough, will be able to publish their own content to LinkedIn—something reserved only for “influencers” until recently. Skills & Endorsements The following settings are now made optional under Skills & Endorsements when you edit your profile and click the “Edit” button next to the respective section: 1) I want to be endorsed 2) Include me in endorsement suggestions to my connections 3) Show me suggestions to endorse my connections 4) Send me notifications via email when my connections endorse me This is a relief for professionals with heavily-regulated roles—such as financial advisers—who cannot accept LinkedIn endorsements and can now turn the feature off. For those who are interested in receiving and giving endorsements, there is now a much greater degree of flexibility. How you edit your settings is up to you, but we recommend allowing endorsements if you can and heavily monitoring them. While the default settings for these options may give you and your connections the best exposure, they leave room for insincerity: some endorse their connections because they are being prompted to and, being unfamiliar with their skills, could endorse them for some they don’t have. Therefore, you may choose to uncheck the second and third options. When using a feature like Skills & Endorsements, it’s important to stick with connections who have experienced or observed your skills first-hand to vouch for you, and vice-versa. In addition, you want to avoid the unprofessional trend some have taken to, in which LinkedIn users endorse others with non-career-oriented “skills” that can venture into poor taste—one of the concerns many expressed when Facebook rolled out their Professional Skills section. Of course, you can remove any unwanted endorsements, but you have to be aware of them first. Therefore, it may be helpful to leave the email notification box checked just in case. Thankfully, LinkedIn has now also made it possible to reorganize the order in which your skills appear rather than listing them in order of most endorsements. This way, should you choose to allow suggestions, others will be prompted to endorse you for the skills at the top of your list. This gives you the opportunity to communicate to your connections which skills you are working on developing and hope to gain credibility for. Publishing Possibly one of the most innovative moves LinkedIn has made to date has been their decision to open their publishing platform to the public. Currently, thought leaders known as “influencers” are the only ones with this ability. That’s starting to change with the announcement made on LinkedIn’s blog, in which they assert that “every professional has valuable experience to share” and that “the valuable influencer posts and the wide range of professional content from millions of publishers that we currently aggregate on LinkedIn are powerful, but only the tip of the iceberg.” LinkedIn users will be able to publish their own content, share it with their network, and even follow and be followed by other members who are not connections. This should open many doors to collaborative industry conversation and further personal branding, two things LinkedIn has been a leader in thus far. Professionals can apply for early access to the publishing feature. There are numerous benefits to publishing content and building your brand, so those looking to further bolster their presence in their industry or add some extra flair to their job search should consider looking into publishing in the future. In addition, LinkedIn has been making a few other changes, including a new inbox and a new page and email notification format for groups. Being active shows you are involved in your career and are constantly working to advance and stay in touch with connections, so logging onto LinkedIn to update your settings, observe the changes, and get involved in publishing are several more ways you can become more visible to your network.