This at least the fourth four major revision to the LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements section over the six years of its existence. So we can assume this section is fairly important in the overall scheme of how LinkedIn works. Perhaps most importantly, we can assume this section is critical to 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.
How to Optimize the LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements section
The Skills & Endorsements section is confusing to many people. So I will give you some overall strategies for capitalizing on it. In addition, I’ll discuss the exciting new features. Implementing these strategies will help the viewers of your profile better understand how you can help them. The result? Great, new relationships that lead to improved business and career success.
How to Manage the Skills and Endorsements Section
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 Add a new skill, 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.
You can delete a skill. Click the pencil icon in the top right corner. Then click the new trash can icon to the right of the skill you want to delete, and it’s gone—along with any endorsements of that skill, of course.
You can pin and reorder your skills. This brand new feature enables you to pin your three most important skills at the top of your new subsection titled Top Skills—providing greater visibility and credibility for you. Simply click the pencil icon next to Add a new skill on the top right of your Skills & Endorsements section, and then click the pin icon next to the three skills you’d like at the top of your list. Viewers will only see these three skills until they click Show more. These should be your three very best keywords.
Review Other Categories
Next, review the skills in the other new categories (Industry Knowledge, Tools & Technologies, Interpersonal Skills, and Other Skills). Then reorder the entries in each category, from most important to least important, by dragging the four-line icon on the right.
Other than the three entries you’ve pinned in the Top Skills category, you cannot move skills to a different category. Also, you may not have all four of the categories on your profile if LinkedIn doesn’t think you have skills in all four categories. For instance, I don’t have Tools & Technologies on my profile.
Because you can now put your best skills at the top of these new lists, 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.
Things to Remember
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 I were you.
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.
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 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).
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 pinned section or near the top of a category. You may not have any endorsements for them yet, but you’ll get them over time.
Benefits of the LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements Section
You might get someone’s attention if you endorse them. Your face and name may appear on the person’s profile, and LinkedIn will also send the person a message saying you just endorsed them.
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 may be inclined to choose the person with 120.
Endorsements are great, but LinkedIn recommendations are still important. I recommend you get at least two 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 with your specific skills shown in the LinkedIn Skills area of your profile.
Greater visibility and credibility is sure to lead to increased revenue.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. An experienced businessman, speaker, and author, Wayne shares his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine and also the American Marketing Association, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with him on Twitter.