Should I join Linkedin to help a friendly coworker or two?
May 31, 2023 1:07 PM   Subscribe

My company has been hit with layoffs and one coworker has already reached out to ask for endorsements on Linkedin. Should I create an account?

I am very happy to give this person a reference but I do not have my own account on Linkedin and was never their supervisor. So, I don't know if a regular reference would make sense.

I don't plan to keep my profile updated or do much with it. Is that going to provide any value to my endorsement if I don't appear active? There is at least one other person who may or may not be let go that I would do this for if they needed it. I don't think I would use it for myself if I did lose my current job.

I just find Linkedin (the organization) a bit creepy. I was invited years ago by two relatives and they just kept emailing me for years. I am not concerned about identity theft or anything like that.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not the biggest expert, but while I think that endorsements are a nice-to-have, I don't think they have enough of a positive effect to warrant the hassle of creating a LinkedIn account if you're never going to use it. Did the person reach out to you specifically or to a bunch of people? That might make a difference too.
posted by iamsuper at 1:11 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]

If you don't plan to use LinkedIn and don't want to use LinkedIn, I'd say "no." The value of an endorsement from a person with little presence on LinkedIn isn't going to be very high - certainly not high enough to justify you having to create a presence if you haven't had one previously. If you're willing to be a reference for them outside LinkedIn then that's plenty.
posted by jzb at 1:12 PM on May 31 [6 favorites]

Most of the recommendations people get on LinkedIn aren't from supervisors.

I don't think it matters whether you keep your profile updated.
posted by jonathanhughes at 1:13 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]

You can let your coworker know they can list you as a reference in any of their job applications. In other words, potential employers can call you or email you and you would speak to them about your colleague. It would be more effort / time than a short paragraph written up on Linked In but also more powerful and influential than that.

For something equivalent to a LinkedIn writeup, you can offer a signed letter which they might scan/post an image of to their LinkedIn profile. Just a paragraph or two endorsing their work ethic and skills and excellence as a colleague/teammate. It is slightly unorthodox but it's also perfectly cromulent and will carry the at least the same weight as a LinkedIn platform endorsement.

(Probably carries more weight because tbh it has always seemed to me that nobody pays attention to LinkedIn platform endorsements - but that's not something you should say to your colleague. Similar to how you shouldn't tell your colleague that an endorsement on LinkedIn from you won't be worth much because you aren't their supervisor or whatever. Don't try to argue them out of seeing LinkedIn endorsements as valuable, instead just say what you are willing to do for them.)

Bottomline: there are lots of ways be supportive of your colleague and give them what they need without crossing your own personal boundaries of what you're comfortable with.
posted by MiraK at 1:16 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]

Eh, is there a downside? I hate Linkedin, but I have an account, and I've written recommendations for people before. You are the product and all that, yeah, but how much value does your data have if all Linkedin knows about you is your name, email address, and that you used to work with Bob from Accounting? It seems like the positives (helping a friend find a job) outweigh the negatives to me.

And also, if your company goes through more rounds of layoffs, you might find you need a Linkedin anyway.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:39 PM on May 31 [11 favorites]

My partner lost his job last December. He didn't have a LinkedIn profile then (and had always loathed the idea of one) but it became clear he would need one for networking purposes. He quickly added all of his former coworkers; this became a huge asset when interviewing for his current role, as he was connected with several people that the new company's CEO knew, and it got them talking about specific projects he'd worked on.

In short -- it can be super helpful for people to have a digital representation of their network (regardless of endorsements). If you don't really mind creating a profile, it'd be nice to offer this to your former colleagues.
posted by third word on a random page at 7:10 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]

I help hire people for lucrative tech jobs and pay 0% attention to LinkedIn endorsements, so I wouldn't suggest you create one just for that.

I don't think I would use it for myself if I did lose my current job.

Why wouldn't you? It is a useful site in many industries for finding jobs and declining to use it is potentially shooting yourself in the foot. Not using LinkedIn for job searches now is kind of like saying that you won't use a telephone for a job search in 1940 and will only conduct correspondence with potential employers via postal mail or telegram.

My current employer, who I'd never have even thought of to look at for job postings, approached me out of the blue based on my profile there and it's worked out quite well for both of us. I don't spend much effort on it - I treat it as a publicly accessible resume that I update every now and then.

There's that increasingly old bit of wisdom that if the service is free, you are the product. In the case of looking for a job, being the product to recruiters is actually a good thing. You just have to filter out the chaff.
posted by Candleman at 10:28 PM on May 31 [6 favorites]

One other note on the hiring stuff - I definitely notice when a candidate for a job checks out my LinkedIn before the interview and the best staff that I've hired were the ones who did so.
posted by Candleman at 10:32 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

Should I create an account?

posted by flabdablet at 12:10 AM on June 1

Aside from your coworker's request -- as someone who hires employees, once you set up your LinkedIn, you're pretty much obligated to keep it up to date forever.

Like, it's pretty obvious when I get an applicant who once heard they needed a LinkedIn profile to get a job, because when I get their resume and search them online and find their LinkedIn profile, it has no photo and the only job listed there as their 'current' employer is one that's about five employers ago on their resume. It's not a dealbreaker, but you should be aware of how you look to employers with a half-hearted LinkedIn profile.

So, my vote is for not creating a LinkedIn profile unless you're planning on actually using LinkedIn for yourself.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:41 AM on June 1 [1 favorite]

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