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APU Careers Careers & Learning

Thanks for the Endorsement—Do I Know You?

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By J. Thompson
Online Career Tips Staff

We all know social media has many benefits and some pitfalls. For professionals, social media helps you manage your network of colleagues and stay in touch as your career expands. Case in point—LinkedIn. I originally used it to stay connected with peers dispersed across the country, but it has taken on new purposes to include industry-related content, targeted employment searches (for hiring managers and candidates), advertising, and more. Essentially, it’s now a way to let people get a peek into your professional life, promote your business, share industry information, and manage your prospects. Win-win.

Recently though, I’ve been receiving random, unsolicited endorsements for my skills—a relatively new LinkedIn feature. It’s kind of exciting, but some endorsements are coming from people I never worked with in my entire life. Hey thanks, I think. Suddenly my LinkedIn profile, which I once felt ownership over, isn’t feeling quite as personal anymore.

To accept or not accept? That is the question.

Normally, I wouldn’t pay too much attention and would oblige this kind act of “reaching out.” How about you? Are you willing to accept a non-informed and nearly anonymous endorsement only to have that person’s photo appear directly next to your expertise? As a professional, it’s a good idea to double-check that endorsement before you accept at the risk of having someone on the FBI’s Most Wanted List endorse you for “Cross-Functional Team Leadership.” The point is that LinkedIn isn’t meant to be a popularity contest. Sure, maybe there’s some merit to the theory of “Dunbar’s number,” even LinkedIn throws its hands in the air and stops counting at “500+” connections, but unless it’s Kevin Bacon endorsing you, I wouldn’t be so quick to click “accept” to just anyone.

J. Thompson is the Vice President of the Content team at American Public University. He earned an M.F.A in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and performed his undergraduate studies in English literature, political science and business management between the University of New Mexico and East Carolina University. His career insights draw upon experience as a communications vice president supporting learning management, applicant tracking, and talent and leadership development for Bank of America and other Fortune 500 firms.

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