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LinkedIn recommendations based on fact or fiction?

Our esteemed editor emeritus, Grant Robertson, tipped us to a not so well-known security breach at LinkedIn that allows you to re-engineer your work history to reflect, well whatever you want it to. The way it works is: after you get a recommendation, you can go into your profile and edit the title of the position you held -- say.. lowly intern -- and change it to CEO, just for kicks. Then you edit the name of the company to one that you make up, and voila! Now you have a recommendation for a job that didn't exist at a company you made up and your referral (the person who recommended you) is none the wiser.

Yah, sure that's what people do on their resumes all day long. But the issue here is, the person who referred you is an unwitting accomplice to your puffery. Unless they take the time to review your profile every so often, they will never know you changed their recommendation to a bogus job with an inflated title.

Solely for the purpose of illustrating this issue (ahem), I changed my title from blogger at Download Squad to Editor in Chief at World Comics, a company I just made up. Unfortunately, Grant who referred me when my information was blogger at Download Squad, might never find out. Of course, if he did, he could withdraw the recommendation outright. It would be more secure though if LinkedIn directly alerted people of edits made to the position and company of the person they recommended. And I don't think the weekly LinkedIn Network Updates email counts because does anyone really read them?

One way to assure your recommendation on LinkedIn doesn't get misrepresented is to write the person's title and company within your recommendation. That way you will have assurance your recommendation will be aligned to the position and company you are writing on behalf of and won't get "misused" down the road.
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Tags: linkedin, news, security