12 Most Effective Uses for LinkedIn Skills

12 Most Effective Uses for LinkedIn Skills

12 Most has had some great writers weigh-in on LinkedIn. Can you blame them? They have a user base of 175 million and they continue to grow. The statistic that impresses me most is this, 4.2 billion searches were performed in 2011.

I hear people who say that one should optimize their profile for search engines, but they neglect to appreciate that LinkedIn has its own. You have to ask yourself which is more important — ranking in Google search or ranking on LinkedIn itself? How do you get noticed when people do a search?

I found an answer in the form of Skills. I have a gut feeling that this will become an important feature in the near future. Consider that endorsements for Skills were launched in September.

Here is how you can use Skills effectively to manage your LinkedIn presence.

1. Language

I struggle with the proper language to describe my accomplishments. With Skills I can see how other industry professionals describe them and get an idea of how I should say things.

2. Trends

One really neat thing about Skills on LinkedIn is the trends box. It shows a graph were green bars represent related skills that are popular and red bars representing declining skills.

3. Connect

When you research a skill, you get a text box with information from Wikipedia or similar source. Underneath you also see a sampling of professionals who have listed that skill on their profiles. This is one way to add people to your network.

4. Discovery

On Skills, you will see a summary of related keywords on the left. Sometimes I see listings for skills I have not yet thought about adding. Clicking on the link easily allows me to see if my abilities match. If so I can add it to my profile.

5. Job search

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? If you are still looking for your dream job then try out Skills. Each search result page shows you companies and professionals related to your query. This can give you a quick snapshot of the industry and perhaps some professionals you can connect with to set up an informational interview.

6. Endorsements

Endorsements have made filling out the Skills section of your profile imperative. Use Skills search to add some new ones you may not have thought of. Remember to ask people who know your work to endorse you.

7. Tracking

Viveka Van Rosen wrote an excellent post about what metrics you can measure for LinkedIn. I think we can add Skills to that list. The trending box can show you the number of professionals on LinkedIn listing the skill on their profile. Click on “size” to see the totals.

8. Location

Skills allows you to see what country professionals are working in. Clicking on the location will take you to an area specific to your LinkedIn search.

9. Groups

When you do a search using Skills, it also pulls in information about related groups. I think that it is important to join a group or two in your industry. This is the easiest ways to add people to your network on LinkedIn.

10. Suggested skills

This is a time saver. LinkedIn will actually take you to a page where it will find skills that match your profile! Yep, you can skip a lot of the research in the above steps by clicking on suggested skills.

11. Hiring companies

Skills pulls in related companies that hire people with your skill set. They make it easy to follow them for updates, which may include open positions.

12. Keywords

I use the trending skills like I would keyword phrases in SEO. I try to sprinkle in the top trending skills related to my industry in my profile. I doubled my views using this method.

I remember the occupational handbook that I had to read in high school for my career education class. LinkedIn is similar, but reflects the self-reporting of a sample population of those working in the industry. In that way, it offers a qualitative insight into working life. It also reflects positions that are not included in handbooks because they are unique.

Social media has opened doors for a new wave of professional careers. Skills is one way to understand this new world of work.

How do you feel about LinkedIn and endorsements? Are they useful for hiring talent?

Featured image courtesy of fdecomite licensed via Creative Commons.

Susan Silver


Susan is a copywriter who crafts content strategies that rank. She is also the community manager for Gygax Magazine. She shares information on business, social media, and writing.

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