Wait…Important Changes to My LinkedIn Profile Skills Section?
By Wayne Breitbarth, Andersen Alumnus and CEO-Power Formula LLC (Author of “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-Start Your Business, Brand and Job Search’)
LinkedIn's Skills profile section has been rather confusing from its inception, but they've been improving it over the years. With the latest feature changes, you now have complete control over the section, which could have a significant impact on your business and career.
Because LinkedIn has made at least a dozen revisions to the Skills section over the ten years of its existence, we can assume this section is fairly important in the overall scheme of how LinkedIn works and, most importantly, in the way the critical search ranking algorithm works. I can't prove it, but I don't think LinkedIn would spend this much time and effort unless it really matters.
Speaking of LinkedIn changes, have you kept up with all the changes available for your LinkedIn company page? I will be covering many LinkedIn company page changes and strategies at my next virtual workshop on Monday, April 24, Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page & Effectively Market Your Business.
How to optimize your Skills profile section
To help you make the most of your Skills section, I will give you some overall strategies for capitalizing on it, in addition to discussing the updated, new, or revised features. Implementing these strategies will help the viewers of your profile better understand how you can help them, and the result will be great new relationships that should lead to improved business and career success.
1. You can only receive endorsements from first-level connections and for skills you have acknowledged you possess. If you receive a pending endorsement notification from LinkedIn saying, John Jones wants to endorse you for basket weaving, don't say yes if you aren't a good basket weaver or don't want basket weaving listed as a skill in your Skills section.
2. You can manage them. Scroll down to the Skills section of your profile, and then you can:
Add any skills that show what you're good at from a professional standpoint. If your job duties include sales, add keywords that relate to the products and services you sell. After you click "+" in the top right of your Skills section, type a skill in the box. LinkedIn will then suggest other skills based on the words you put in the box. If those skills are part of your skill set, be sure to add them to your list of skills.
Attach a specific skill to a specific job experience entry. Just click the pencil on a specific skill, and then you can check off which of your job experience entries you would like that skill attached to and displayed below that Experience section entry. This is the newest change and looks to be a very important one.
Delete a skill. Click the pencil icon in the top right corner of your Skills section, and then click the pencil on a specific skill listed that you want to delete. Next, click Delete skill in the bottom left in the specific skills box, and it's gone—along with any endorsements of that skill, of course.
Reorder your skills. This feature enables you to reorder your most important skills to the top of your Skills section, providing greater visibility and credibility for you. Simply click the three dots on the top right of your Skills section, and then click the up-down icon. You can then "drag and drop" to rearrange all your skills in the order of importance.
Because you can now put your best skills at the top of the list, your connections will be more likely to endorse you for those skills—and soon they'll be the most endorsed skills on your profile. This will help you get closer to the top of the search results when people search for those skills.
Choose (1) whether or not you want to be endorsed, (2) whether you want LinkedIn to suggest endorsements to your connections, and (3) whether you want suggestions for endorsing your connections. Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner of your Skills section. Then select Endorsement settings on the bottom of the page to revise your settings. I recommend choosing Yes for all three settings.
3. You can be endorsed for up to 50 skills. These skills are essentially keywords, and LinkedIn and other search engines love keywords; so I would use all 50 slots if you have keywords that would help people find you.
4. You don't have to endorse everyone who endorses you. If you want to endorse them, go ahead, but don't feel obligated to do so.
5. I'm pretty sure endorsements and the skills they attach to are part of the LinkedIn search algorithm. LinkedIn doesn't publicize its algorithm, but, as I mentioned previously, my guess is that skills are an important part of it, because LinkedIn doesn't invest this much time and effort into something that isn't going to help their top-line revenue. They are making a lot of money on their Recruiting Solutions product, and they obviously think this feature helps them deliver the "best" candidate for a certain skill ("best" meaning most endorsed).
6. List skills that are important and consistent with your current or future business strategy. The skills you include, especially the ones you pin and move to the top of the other categories, should be important for you on a moving forward basis—and these may not be the same skills that have been historically important for you.
Also, don't worry about putting new skills in the top three spots. You may not have any endorsements for them yet, but you'll get them over time.
7. You might get someone's attention if you endorse him/her. Your face and name may appear on the person's profile, and LinkedIn will also send the person a message saying you just endorsed him or her.
8. Endorsements may be the differentiator. If two profiles look similar in all respects but one has 120 endorsements for the skill you're looking for and the other has only 20, you will probably be inclined to choose the person with 120.
9. Endorsements are great, but LinkedIn recommendations are still important. I recommend you get at least three recommendations, because LinkedIn now displays them very prominently and in full on your profile. This is especially important if you're a job seeker. Great recommendations will increase your credibility—and the more the better.
You should now be ready to impress readers of your profile with your specific skills and affirmation of those skills by LinkedIn members—and greater visibility and credibility are sure to lead to increased revenue or a great new job.
SPECIAL OFFER To learn about terrific company page changes, address the mistakes you're making, and formulate a specific strategy for your company page, be sure to check out my April 24 virtual workshop Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page & Effectively Market Your Business.