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Hitting the Mark: Adding the Right Skills to Your LinkedIn Profile

According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities than those with incomplete profiles. Taking the time to optimize your profile increases your ranking within the LinkedIn system, increasing your odds of being found in search results.  

Think of your profile as a mirror – you want it to be a robust representation of your expertise and professional capabilities. Having a fully completed profile makes you visible, giving you the opportunity to leverage your network and engage with those who matter most to your professional development and business growth.

Equally as important, your profile is the place to distinguish yourself from others competing for the attention of your clients and prospects. More than ever before, a quick check of your online presence is becoming the de facto starting point for anyone “looking you up”.

One area of the LinkedIn profile that is important to the completion of your Skills and Expertise section. LinkedIn allows users to add up to 50 skills to their profiles. It is important to consider what skills are most important to you as a professional. Focus on your business, thought leadership and what resonates most with your target audience.

Once you have successfully completed your Skills and Expertise, other LinkedIn users can endorse your skills. When viewing someone’s profile, you will also be prompted by LinkedIn, asking you to endorse that particular user. Unlike recommendations, which are written references supporting you and your work, endorsements are easily done with a click of a button, as simple as “liking” a post or page on Facebook.

Take this as an opportunity to consider what could be relevant to those who visit your profile. You don’t just have to consider the business skills, but also those skills you exercise in giving back to the community, volunteerism and any philanthropic pursuits you may have. This provides context to those who seek to establish a perception of you as a person. You can amplify this in the section titled Volunteer Experience & Causes.

Editor’s Note: Financial advisors are welcome to add skills to their profiles. However, for compliance reasons, it is recommended that they turn off the endorsement feature. Please assess your social media policy to ensure compliant use of LinkedIn. To disable endorsements, follow these simple instructions.

Additionally, while you may not be able to publish these endorsements (along with Recommendations) – certainly take the time to thank each person providing them with a very brief note where you can describe your appreciation.

When viewing someone's profile, LinkedIn will suggest skills for you to endorse.

Endorsements are great way to validate your skills and areas of expertise, but don’t feel like you have to accept every one you receive. You want to ensure they are accurate and will leave profile viewers with the right impression. LinkedIn offers your connections the opportunity to endorse you for suggested skills based upon those you already have added to your profile. When someone endorses you for a new skill, LinkedIn will notify you of the endorsement and ask if you would like to add it to your profile.

When someone endorses you for new skills, LinkedIn will notify you and ask whether
or not you would like to add the skills to your profile.

It is recommended that you be judicious about adding new skills that you didn’t choose to showcase. Sometimes the new skill is relevant to your profile and you will gladly accept the endorsement. However, despite its attempt to suggest skills that match your profile, LinkedIn can miss the mark and suggest skills that don’t truly speak to who you are as a professional. For example, I recently received an endorsement for Time Management – while I appreciate the attention from my colleague, this wasn’t a skill I necessarily found relevant to my professional profile.

Remember, the Skills and Expertise section factors in to LinkedIn search – you want to be found by the right people for the right reasons. It’s easy to quickly click the accept button when receiving endorsements, but as a best practice, consider whether or not it’s relevant to your personal brand. It’s about quality, not quantity. You want your profile to look genuine; overstuffing your profile with keywords can come across as dishonest, leaving viewers with a bad impression.

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