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Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn endorsements’

i-love-linkedinI’ve been spending quite a bit of time reviewing the member profiles for those in my LinkedIn network.  For the most part, it has been a wonderful journey to memory lane.  Most of the nearly 800 are in my network for a good reason–I appreciate them for our shared experiences and I greatly respect them.

About 100 have asked me to join their network, and I agreed.  I suspect many of them know me through my blogging efforts.  I am hopeful that some day I’ll be able to contribute positively to their network.

In addition, I’ve been reviewing profiles of people with whom I’ve come into brief contact.

I’ve come to several conclusions.

The first and foremost advantage to LinkedIn is how you describe your self, skills, work experiences and education.  I am appalled at how many people, both in and out of my network, list where they work and possibly from where they received the most recent degree.  And that’s it.  I meet many, many people from day to day. In this information available age, I turn to the Internet and LinkedIn to find out more about them.  I seldom am satisfied.  When I shop, I do so on the Internet.  When I research something, I do so on the Internet.  When I want to information about a person, I do so on the Internet.  If you aren’t adequately describing yourself, now is the time to join the 21st century.

CPAs should be listing the skills that give them both identity and competitive advantage.  But more than a list of skills, CPAs should be providing descriptions.  Too much verbiage is bad, but I’ve only seen 1 or 2 cases where too many words were used.

Academics are worse.  Many accounting professors never even mention the word accounting. Professors don’t, but should describe their program of scholarly pursuits and highlight key accomplishments.

I have two contacts on LinkedIn without their full name.  One is listed as “Dr. firstname,” the other by initials.  Neither wants to release too much personal information. Well, in this day and age we expect a minimum of a person’s name.  How else are we to find that person?

One of the basic advantages to LinkedIn is how it enables network assembly and management in the Internet and social media ages. I’m amazed at how many professionals (and academics) have small networks of less than 100.  In this day and age, accounting professionals should be LinkedIn connected to all of their clients and work colleagues, both current and from the past.  I think it’s possible to be both selective and inclusive.  If you have a beneficial relationship with another professional, then why wouldn’t you include them in your LinkedIn network?

Once a LinkedIn network is built up, then you have a responsibility to it.  Use it to stay in contact.  Also, endorse those in your network.  Endorsements should be handed out sparsely, only when it is deserved.  But if you respect someone enough to add them to your network, then what prevents you from endorsing them?

LinkedIn endorsements for skills are valuable because they provide affirmation and validation from those who best know the professional.  Professors especially miss the boat here.  Many do not list accounting (or tax or auditing) as a skill.  If the professor has professional skill, then the professor’s network will validate it.  I am surprised at how many professors don’t list college teaching as a skill.

And finally, why not put up a nice professional picture.  I’ve seen pictures of dog and owner.  I certainly hope I don’t meet the dog.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Is there a fit between accountants and social media?

My first thoughts go back to some old accountant jokes.  How do you identify the party goer who is an accountant?  He/she wears a lampshade.  How do you tell if an accountant is an extrovert or introvert?  The extrovert looks at your shoes, not his.  What is the favorite form of accountant birth control?  Personality.

So maybe we shouldn’t expect non-social accountants to be at the cutting edge of social media.  Never-the-less, surveys have repeatedly shown that for those accountants who use social media, LinkedIn is overwhelmingly the favorite platform.

LinkedIn has for six months been letting users endorse their 1st degree connections for skills. Viewed by some with skepticism, the endorsement feature is being used at an increasing rate.  Over the past few months I’ve received a few e-mails alerting me to a new endorsement I’ve received.  Finally reaching a critical mass, my curiosity is piqued.

LI-endorsements-3-3-13

ProfAlbrecht is endorsed for accounting, college teaching, and blogging.

I’ve received 70 total endorsements, with 52 in the most popular categories for the 14 skills I list.  The skills for which I am most frequently endorsed seem to describe me well.  I am an accounting professor who writes about accounting, so being endorsed for accounting knowledge is appropriate.  I’m very good at helping students learn, so an endorsement for college teaching fits.  And because my two blogs (The Summa and Pondering the Classroom) have totaled more than a half million reads, being endorsed for blogging seems right.

Receiving an endorsement is a good thing, I think.  And I appreciate every one.  They can only come from people who know you the best.  Most LinkedIn users seem to be stingy in issuing endorsements.  If the endorsements come from a large enough group, they are reliable measures (in a similar fashion to IMDB film ratings).

Ever keen to understand how my world actually works, I did a bit of research.  Although I could have selected professors or bloggers as a reference group, I decided to select professional accountants.  I’m a member of Social CPAs, a LinkedIn group.  I fairly randomly selected 20 members of the group.

This group seems to be active in LinkedIn usage.  11 of the 20 have more than 500 connections in their network. Six have between 250 and 500 connections, and three have less than 250.

endorsement-sample

Only 14 out of the 20 list any skills.  The groups of 14 with skills and 6 without seem similar in terms of number of connections.

For the 14 who show skills, the median number of skills listed per person is 14 (minimum = 8, maximum = 49).

For the 14 who show skills, the median number of endorsements is 102 (minimum = 6, maximum = 330).

For the 14 who show skills, the most endorsed skill has received a median value of 19 endorsements (minimum = 2, maximum = 104).

I think the LinkedIn endorsement feature has enormous potential to validate your brand.  It seems to have done a fine job in validating who I am. Please leave a note if LinkedIn endorsements seem to be working for you.

For more information on LinkedIn endorsements, Forbes writer Susan Adams has written an article, “Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Endorsements.”

How often are different subgroups of accountants using LinkedIn endorsements?  What do the accountant users of endorsements think of the new feature?

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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