LinkedIn's Skills & Expertise function can be used for more than just endorsements.
In a recent post, we recommended LinkedIn users update the Skills & Expertise section in their profiles and fill in all available 50 spots for skills. Besides the ability to showcase your expertise and abilities, it also prevents people from manually adding additional skills to your profile, via endorsements, that you've not pre-approved. And of course you immediately went to your LinkedIn profile and promptly updated, right? Even as wordy as we are, we understand that coming up with 50 self-descriptors can be a little daunting.
If you've gone to update your profile and find yourself at a loss after filling 30 or so of the available keyword slots, you can always let LinkedIn suggest which ones to add based on relevant skills similar professionals have used. The search feature for LinkedIn's Skills & Expertise is located under the More tab on the navigation bar, at the top of your screen. This feature can be used in a few different ways. As mentioned before, you can use this to generate ideas for additional skills to add to your profile. Type in a term and it will bring back a sidebar with similar skills. Additionally, you'll see a button under the primary skill that says that says "See Suggested Skills." This will give you even more suggestions.
Under this section, LinkedIn lists other users who have these same skills. This can be used to find new networking contacts, but it also illustrates how easy it can be for a potential client to find you when searching for targeted professional skills and services. Move a little further down the page and you'll see suggested LinkedIn Groups. If you've had a difficult time finding groups that might match your interest and skills, this feature will point you toward a few to help get you started.
Another interesting feature on the Skills & Expertise page is the feature that shows you the stats for how often the term is used in searches. For example, I ran a search on "Business Tax Planning," with a screen shot below for reference. Next to the term, LinkedIn reports that searching for this term has gone up by 2.2%. You can use this stat to see which terms are used most often in searches, which ones are gaining in popularity and which ones are waning. By adding those skills that are popular, you stand a better chance of showing up in those searches. Also, on the right side of the page, a bar graph shows how this term performs compared to similar terms. This is just yet another way to see how people are combining terms when searching and to help you target the messaging in your profile.