In the face of the Economic Mystery, online networking is really the only way to feel we're concretely helping ourselves and others.
A soon-to-be-laid-off communicator told me that one doesn't even appear on headhunter searches unless one has five "recommendations." So everyone is out gathering recommendations from everyone else, and I've gotten a number of requests to recommend people, and I imagine I'll get some more. As I've gotten requests from people I like and admire, so far it's been a pleasure.
I have couple questions, though:
1. So far, people aren't too shy about quid-pro-quo: "Recommend me and I'll recommend you." But don't you think in a competitive labor market, HR people are going to start checking to see: Of all the people who recommended Larry, how many did Larry also recommend? A colleague and I agreed to at least not recommend one another on the same day, so that we could avoid being seen as "log-rolling," as my friend put it.
2. And a speechwriter recently requested a recommendation. "I've already written it for you," he said, pointing me to a paragraph that was well enough written and just accurate enough—"I don't think I've claimed too much," he added—that I reluctantly acquiesced and pasted it in.
But this seems like a practice that could get out of hand, and that's the last time I'm doing that.* And in fact, the next time I get a self-written recommendation from a fellow writer, I'm going to retaliate by instead using the sample recommendation that LinkedIn provides: "_____ is a detail-oriented manager who watches the balance sheet like a hawk without losing sight of the strategic objective."
(Who would want to hire a communicator like that?)
What rules are you making on LinkedIn?