LinkedIn Skills

How To Pick LinkedIn Skills That Get The Attention Of Employers

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Most people let their network determine what Skills appear on their LinkedIn profile. Sure, you might pick the first 10 or so before getting bored. Then, pretty soon, you start getting endorsed for things you’ve never even heard of.

The trouble is that many of these skills aren’t searched very much by employers or they are way too crowded for you to get noticed for.

Yes, employers use skills to search. They either use them as keywords, or through the LinkedIn Recruiter product where Skills are a search parameter. Therefore, in order to improve your chances of 1.) getting found by employers, and 2.) getting endorsed for the most relevant Skills, use the following strategy to pick your LinkedIn Skills.

Not All LinkedIn Skills Are Created Equal

Head on over to http://linkedin.com/skills and look for Project Management. You’ll see that this is the 8th most popular skill used by all LinkedIn users.

So if you are a project manager, it certainly makes sense to use this skill. However, you’ll notice the top 10 people in your network with this skill. Click on the #1 project manager listed there. (On my list, the #1 project manager has 321 endorsements for the skill).

If you have more experience than them at a higher rank in a company, then you don’t need this article. If that person out-ranks you, then keep reading.

Step 1.) Start With A General Skill

First, you want to start high level. Pick a Skill that is all encompassing for what you do. Using the Skills’ pages’ auto-suggest, begin typing the name of your Skill. LinkedIn will suggest the most commonly used version of that name.

Open up that skills page and add it to your profile if its not already there.

Step 2.) Triangulate Down To More Specific Skills

Once you’re on the high-level skills page, there are a number of important research tools available to you.

On the top right of the page, look for the graph called Relative Growth:

Relative Growth

This chart tells you which skills are growing, year over year, relative to other, related skills.

Pick a skill with a positive growth rate.

You may find many skills with a negative growth rate, avoid these.

Next, tab over to the Size chart. You’ll see that your high-level skill will eclipse it’s closest competitor, much like this:

Size Chart

Click on the next one down to get a better view:

Size Chart 2

Begin picking Skills that are related but have a smaller size and a positive growth curve. For example, I found that Creative Resourcing is a skill with relatively fewer competitors (only 460 people use it) but with a very high growth curve (23% year over year growth).

Bingo.

Step 3.) Build Your Skills Library

By starting at a high-level skill, and adding several related smaller, high-growth skills, you’ll be building a strategic skills library that should look something like this:

I                                   (Large size, low growth)

I-I-I                               (medium size, medium or level relative growth)

I-I-I-I-I-I                        (Small size, high growth)

Add up to 50 total skills, sit back and wait for your endorsements.

Learn More Advanced LinkedIn Strategies

For more unconventional advice on taking your career to the next level, check out my webinar, “3 Secrets to Getting Hired with LinkedIn” where I reveal some of the most powerful online tools.

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  • Avoiding the pitfalls of coming across as “unprofessional” online.
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Joshua Waldman

Author of Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies, Joshua is recognized as the authority for helping people find work using social media. His blog, Careerenlightenment.com, won the 2013 About.com Reader's Choice award for best career blog for original content.

7 comments

  1. Interesting Joshua. I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. When I check key word SEO, placing words in the Skills & Expertise section doesn’t seem to bring my clients up any higher in search results at all. I have read that LinkedIn will likely change its search algorithm at some point to include this section. Do you have any insight to offer on this?

    Thank you,

    Donna Svei
    AvidCareerist.com

  2. A problem with listing skills is that many of the skills are actually tools. For example, “programming” is a skill; Java is a tool.

  3. thanks for the advice and counsel her.
    I am an amateur who needs to learn.
    and whether an amateur like me, can join you?
    I love reading your articles, and thank you for sharing.
    sorry I really can not speak English.
    I can understand your language, because I use a machine translator.
    success always for you, and it will be a rewarding experience for me.

  4. Teddy Burriss (@TLBurriss)

    Good article Joshua. Picking skill words that clearly represent who you are and what you can do is important. Two other important points about skills are:

    1 – Make sure you use these words in your experience and summary sections of your resume. A list of words by themselves is not enough confirmation that you have these skills

    2 – Have a story about each skill word. Often a recruiter will ask, “Tell me a story about skill XYZ” You need to have a great story about how you used that skill.

    Thanks for sharing Joshua.

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