When I get an endorsement "Jeff Chatterton is great at event planning," I know it's the latter. It's just someone trying to curry favour. How do I know that? I hate event planning. I don't do it, because I suck at it, and I know that. Here at Checkmate Public Affairs, if I need to stage an event, I have other people that I know will do a better job than I do the work. I've had one person, who I met at a speech I gave in Iowa, endorse me upwards of 20 times. Another former colleague is running for political office, and I've probably received a dozen endorsements from him. All it does is clog my inbox.
The way LinkedIn works is such that you cannot see someone else's LinkedIn connections unless they agree to connect with you (i.e. a 1st connection). What's concerning is some LinkedIn users are now leveraging an option in their privacy and settings where their 1st connections are hidden from their other 1st connections. In my view this defeats the entire point of LinkedIn.
The days of potential employers, employees, investors and/or clients simply contacting three references you provide are over. Should they do some due diligence and are connected to someone within your LinkedIn network and ask about you, what would that shared connection say?