LinkedIn: Profile Update

LinkedIn has a new look and feel–and a new feature. What value does the service have today?

What’s going on with LinkedIn? At one time, LinkedIn was a web service used by professionals to build and grow their professional networks. LinkedIn has gone through flourishing states over the last few years to becoming a pretty solid publicly-traded company.  To me, this has changed somewhat recently.

Image credit: Ant Pruitt for

LinkedIn continues to try to improve its service to its more than 170 millions users by adding new features and adapting the look and feel. Recently, the profile page was updated. I never had a problem with the layout of LinkedIn, so the new look of the profile page caught me by surprise. Fortunately, the design is still pleasing to the eye and fairly navigable.

Another recent feature is the option to “endorse” a person in your network for their expertise or skills set. At first, I thought it was spam. I received an email stating that one of my connections had endorsed me. The wording (endorse) was fishy, considering the many emails I receive asking for “recommendations.”  My skepticism grew when I saw how the Endorse feature worked. Basically, users look at a screen displaying their connections and random skill sets are next to them. If you agree with the suggested skill, you click on it and endorse the person.

Sounds simple enough, right?

The algorithm LinkedIn is using isn’t always accurate. Some suggested skills are totally off base in my opinion. Sometimes skills also appear for the same person after you’ve already endorsed them. For example, I know a Java developer who is an outstanding developer. LinkedIn asked me to endorse him for his “managerial skills.” This developer has never been a manager in his career.  Then there are the resume keywords that are not real skills.  Is analysis a skill?  Shouldn’t endorsements be more specific?

Here’s me endorsing our Mac McCarthy.

And Chris Poirier and Joy Ma also from

The suggested skill sets are populated based on the skills people add to their profiles.  Here’s a thought: Consider applying a filter preventing the addition of random keywords or stuffing bogus skill sets in profiles. Slippery slope?

I hope LinkedIn doesn’t move away from its core value to connect professionals to opportunity. As a user of the site, a larger concern other than mismatched skills set worries me. Is LinkedIn doomed to go in the way of the next Facebook-like social network? I use the term doomed because I’ve noticed my LinkedIn stream has a torrent of posts that aren’t what I consider professional. What are they? Posts ranging from unusual articles to zany Twitter jokes. I understand that this is a case-by-case scenario and not everyone’s stream will look the same but it’s happening.

Sure I have shared random items on LinkedIn that I think my professional connections will enjoy. Most of my relevant technology writing is shared on LinkedIn. My personal blog is not, of course. In my opinion, LinkedIn is social, but not to the extent of Facebook or Twitter.

I hope with the new look and feel, LinkedIn’s mission continues as a professional platform and a conduit to career opportunities. Do you, aNewDomain reader, use LinkedIn? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

To see all of Ant’s stories, click here.