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30 LinkedIn Tips: #15/30 – Select & Sort your Skills

30 short, useful, actionable LinkedIn tips in 30 days from Doctor David Petherick. #30by30 #TheDoctorisIn

#15/30: Choose your skills carefully, and place them in the right order.

  • Originally written: October 15, 2017
    Text & Images Updated: June 30, 2020

Take a look at the skills listed on your profile.

Then take a look at your job title or headline.

Is there a natural match between the two?

If not, here are some tips for exactly how you can fix that, along with a few examples of disconnected profiles I've come across.

I've split this article into five sections for you.

But before you start - check that you are allowing people to endorse you on your profile for your skills.

Pin Your Top Skills and Group congruent skills on LinkedIn

The Endorsement checklist below is what you'll see if you click through on the near-invisible link 'Adjust endorsement settings' which is at the bottom left of the screenshot shown above:

Make sure you can be endorsed on LInkedIn for your skills!

1: So, why do skills even matter on a LinkedIn Profile?

Four main reasons -

  1. Search. If you use a Recruiter Premium Account, you can now choose to sort a list of candidates by the skills required for the position. And guess who uses Recruiter Premium Accounts? You got it - Recruiters.
  2. Alignment. If you see a job title like CFO, or Chief Financial Officer, you'd naturally expect that there were some associated fiscal skills: Business Planning, Budgets, Strategic Planning, Business Development. Where that's missing, it's a red flag.
  3. Credibility. It's simple social proof - if you have dozens of endorsements for your skills, you look more credible than someone with few, or no endorsements.
  4. Search (again). Skills are also 'weighted' in standard and advanced LinkedIn searches - and so a lot of endorsements for skills relevant to your position help you to be found. And recruiters just love to search on skills. No skill = not found = no job offer.

2: Show me the problem

To protect the guilty (and keep to LinkedIn's terms and conditions), I've anonymised the screen grabs in the examples below.

Example #1: CTO. This individual appears to be a skilled web developer and coder. But there is no mention of bigger skills, like Strategy, Business Process or Leadership.

Does this look like the CTO of a large organisation?

Does this look like the CTO of a large organisation?

Example #2: CFO. This is oddly aligned more towards strategy, and some congruent skills that could be grouped together are scattered around. seem to be missing. Some of the skills I'd expect to see in any Chief Financial Officer are there, but why are Managerial Finance or Strategic Financial Planning not in the Top 3?

Does this look like the CFO of a large organisation?

Does this look like the CFO of a large organisation?

Example #3: Business Coach. These skills ticks the boxes with relevant skills, and high scores for most of them. Also seems to focus on Marketing and Strategy, which works for me. Credibility. However, missing a trick with no endorsements for 'Business Coach'.

Business Coach skills are well algined. But no endoresements for 'Business Coach'!

Business Coach skills are well aligned. But no endorsements for 'Business Coach'!

  • So as you can see from these simple examples, looking at the skills in relation to the actual job title or job function shows that when there's alignment, it adds instant credibility - and when there's not, it puts questions in your mind.

Of course, very often the reason for this discrepancy is that your skills have not been added to your profile in a structured, strategic way in the first place - and you may have been endorsed for skills that you do have, but which are not actually meaningful in terms of your job function.

For example, I know how to use the MS Office suite, and know how to use both PCs and Macs. I also know how to write HTML and CSS, and use WordPress, but these are not skills that I need to advertise.

3: Why are skills important to recruiters?

Many recruiters use a version of LinkedIn that is designed just for recruiters, giving them search, sort and 'filing' capabilities that ordinary users don't have access to. The bottom line is - they will carry out a search based on skills.

If you don't have the right skills, they don't find you. If they don't find you, they can't offer the position to you, because you are invisible to them - you do not appear in the search results.

4: What should I do about my skills?

There are seven key steps to take -

  1. Look around you. Check out the profiles of people you admire or respect, and see what skills they list. Make a note of the most important or impressive, and copy/paste into a note file the key skills that they and you have, but which may not be on your profile now. It's as easy as typing in a skill to add it to your profile.
  2. Ask your friends and peers. Ask people what skills they'd say you have. You can sometimes be surprised by the results, and find that people recognise you for skills you'd not really considered you had.
  3. Prioritise. In terms of how skills are viewed, there's a Top 3 which are visible without a click, and then up to another 50. In my view, 50 skills are too many for the mind to assess - I can't enumerate 50 skills for anyone that I know. Try aiming for a maximum of 30. And decide what your Top Three skills are, and list them in order of importance - not just in the order of popularity so far, which is what LinkedIn shows as default.
  4. Group. Placing related, congruent skills together makes it easy for people to endorse you for the skills they recognise in you. So put Marketing together with Marketing Strategy and Digital Marketing, and don't leave important skills lost on their own. You simply drag and drop to move them around so your congruent skills are alongside each other.
  5. Edit your skills. You can add new skills (An AI will often add suggestions), and re-prioritise and group similar skills. Make this a regular habit, and revisit your skills at least every quarter.
  6. Ask for endorsements. And an easy way to start getting endorsements for your skills is to give them. I also changed my notification settings to that I receive an email when people endorse me, so that I can spend time thanking them, and as appropriate, also endorse their skills. Yes, it becomes a bit of a game, but it has an important purpose.
  7. Don't sit back. Is it SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation or Search Engine Optimization people are searching for? And as you now work optimising Apps for search, do you call it ASO or App Search Optimisation / Optimization? Things change, and people use different ways of naming things, and phrases evolve. Anyone remember describing working in 'New Media' or 'Web 2.0' in the early 2000s? Keep it fresh.

Switch on email notifications so you can reciporcate endorsements and spark new conversations

Switch on email notifications so you can reciprocate endorsements and spark new conversations

5: What if I get stuck?

Ask for help. I'm happy to spend ten minutes with you to help you enhance your profile - no sales pitch, no fee or email signup nonsense, just free, expert, unbiased advice. Visit mzs.es/free to make an appointment to talk by phone, zoom or skype.

I'm reading David Petherick's 30 Tips in 30 Days for a better LinkedIn Profile.Click To Tweet

About David Petherick

Doctor David Petherick is In. David writes LinkedIn profiles for a living and offers online and in person 'surgery'. He makes your online presence visible, legible and credible. Follow David on Twitter at @petherick. Click mzs.es/free to book a free ten-minute call, zoom or skype with David today for confidential, impartial advice on how you can improve your LinkedIn Profile.