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Employers and recruiters on LinkedIn seek out their prospective candidates in a number of ways, perhaps most straight-on by searching for specific work-related skills. For this reason, the LinkedIn Skills function is now an essential section for today’s job seeker. This is an area of your profile you can’t afford to neglect. This is where you get specific about what you offer. This is also where your colleagues will attract attention to your profile by endorsing you. It’s a very powerful tool.

Make The Most Of LinkedIn Skills

Use Skills to send a strong SEO message to your contacts who want to endorse you — and the people who might be searching for you. Since you can only choose 50 skills to put on your profile, how do you know which to pick? Follow these steps for the best results:
  1. While logged in to LinkedIn, go to http://www.linkedin.com/skills.
  2. Enter a skill you possess into the search box, beginning a wide, encompassing and fairly generic word for what you do. (I put in “Resume Writing.”)
  3. LinkedIn will take you to a page that defines your skill. (It’s a good idea to read that definition and make sure it’s an accurate description of what you do.)
  4. Below the definition, you’ll see a list of other professionals with the skill. By clicking on their profiles, you can get more ideas for other skills you might include. You can also get inspiration for filling out your profile — just be careful not to plagiarize others’ content! Not only is that seen by employers as unethical, you can get in trouble by LinkedIn for that.
  5. Once you’ve reviewed the definition and checked out your competition, return to the skills page for your initial search results. In a column on the left, there will be a list of a number of more specific skills. Make a note of which ones apply best to you.
  6. On the right, you’ll see a graph that will show you statistics for your search.
    • You will see a Relative Growth graph, which will show you whether a particular skill is currently in growth mode, or retrenching, compared to similar skills. Your choice here is easy; choose the skills that are going up. Avoid the skills that are going down.
    • Click on “Size” and the bar chart will show you how many others on LinkedIn list this skill. This will help you gauge how much competition you have for this skill.
    • You can even break the information down by “Age,” to analyze the size of the age groups that list that skill.
  7. At the bottom of your skills description box, you can see whether or not you’ve included this skill in your profile.
    • If you have, you’ll see a check with “Listed on Your Profile.”
    • If not, you’ll see a clickable button to “Add Skill.”
    • Based on the research from the graphs on the right, you can decide whether it’s a good one to include.
  8. Repeat this search for the more specific skills you noted in Step 3 to get additional ideas of skills you want to include on your profile.
This function is awesome not only because it allows you to choose the skills you currently possess that are most in demand, but also because it can provide an impetus for future developments you might want to strive for in your career. It gives you an idea of where you might want to grow. Now, you can build your entire library of up to 50 skills, focusing on a variety – those unique to you, those more common but less in demand, and so on. Now, your next step will be to get lots of endorsements. Need help with your LinkedIn profile? Contact me through my website at ProfessionDirection.com or on LinkedIn to set up a consultation. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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