LinkedIn Recommendations When You’re Happy on the Job

From one of my readers:

“An acquaintance asked me a question about LinkedIn and, since I am not as familiar with the use and opportunities of LinkedIn as you are, I would appreciate your input so I can pass along your perspectives.

My friend has updated her profile on LinkedIn and explained to me that the system is encouraging her to include recommendations from others.  However, she is happy where she works and is not actively seeking employment elsewhere. She did not want to [incorrectly] signal her current employer that she is trolling for new opportunities, and was concerned what type of impression is generated when someone on LinkedIn includes recommendations from others.

Do people interpret recommendations as simply independent confirmations of the skills that a person has, even if only to know that they are competent in their field, or does a recommendation typically imply that the person is trying to demonstrate that he or she has the skills others would want to consider for providing job offers?”

 CM: That’s a great question.  Recruiters tell us that they do look at recommendations when looking for or at candidates. But they’re not just for people who are seriously considering a move; they’re for everyone, and here’s why.

You should include recommendations in your profile because your professional reputation goes beyond your actual workplace.  The recommendations can be helpful in highlighting skills that may not be part of your job: public speaking, volunteering expertise, mentoring – things that may not be part of your job description, but provide opportunities for community service, serving on a board, or receiving honors or awards.

Second, your friend may be very happy in her job, but she can’t possibly know what will happen a few months from now.  Her company may be sold, eliminate her job, or change her status in some other way.  She may suddenly not have access to the customers, colleagues or managers who would have endorsed her while she was on the job.  So her asking for endorsements now may look like a very smart move if something changes in the future.  When she needs the endorsements, a reference, or a connection or lead, it may be too late for her to ask.  It’s the same idea as saving money consistently, even when things are going well.  Banking funds before you have a roof leak or medical expense means that it will be there when you need it.  Building and growing your network serves the same purpose.

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