With over 500 million LinkedIn users globally, how can you ensure you're maximizing your opportunities to be found by recruiters looking for the exact skills you have, or a prospective client searching for the exact product or service you offer?
The answer: 'Keywords.'
In order to boost your discoverability, you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile for search using relevant keywords.
How to Add Skills and Manage Your Endorsements so You'll be Found
One of the easiest ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters or your prospective clients will find you is by adding relevant skills and managing your endorsements.
According to LinkedIn, members with more than five skills added to their profiles are 27x more likely to be found by recruiters or other users in searches.
Remember these points when working on your skills and endorsements:
- You can add up to 50 skills, which search engines recognize as 'keywords.' The more skills you add, the more likely that you'll be found. You can choose to add all 50 skills or be selective on which skills to include.
- Endorsements, on the other hand, are what LinkedIn calls the 'one-click way' for your connections to recognize your skills. Only your first-degree connections can endorse you for your skills. The same principle applies if you want to make endorsements.
- To endorse your connections, simply go to the 'Featured Skills & Endorsements' section of their profiles and click on the + icon.
- If you want to see who has endorsed you for a particular skill, just click on the skill to see the list. You can opt to hide or unhide an endorsement.
- Any hidden endorsement will not be included in the total number of endorsements you gained for that skill. So, in my case, if I hide one endorsement, I will only have 214 endorsements, instead of 215 for 'social media'.
- Delete any skill by simply clicking on the X beside it. You can also reorder them by dragging the icons on the right side.
You might ask, "Why would I delete a skill?"
Here are some possible reasons:
- Sometimes a connection endorses you for a skill you didn't add. For example, you might get a lot of endorsements for 'Microsoft Word' (which used to happen very often), and if you think it won't help in branding yourself, then, just delete it.
- If you're adding certifications from LinkedIn Learning courses to your profile, it adds skills that you are expected to have learned after watching the videos. If you don't want the skills suggested, you may also delete them from your profile.
- Depending on how you want to brand yourself, or on what skills you want to be found for, it might be best to delete some skills and add new skills that will be more useful in your positioning.
Reordering your skills is also important. Arrange your skills according to relevance and importance to you. Only the top three skills are automatically shown on your profile and the rest will be visible only upon clicking 'View more.' Most LinkedIn users will endorse you only for the three visible skills, so better place on top whichever skills you want to be endorsed for.
Remember that the more endorsements you have, the higher you're likely to rank in the search engine for that specific skill. This is the reason I'd rather have fewer skills with several endorsements for my key skills than a lot of skills with fewer endorsements on my core skills.
As you change your career focus, you'll also have to add or delete skills or reorder endorsements.
Your endorsements are a form of social proof, and LinkedIn works to enhance this factor by showing whether your connections with the same skills or your former colleagues recognize you for your skills.
So, now that you know the value of adding skills and managing endorsements on your LinkedIn profile, what are your next steps?
Here's what I recommend:
- Be strategic. Be intentional. If you have the top skills that companies are searching for, add those skills to your list and get as many endorsements as possible.
- Start going to your first-degree connections' profiles (ideally, those that you have actually worked with) and endorse them for their skills. Endorsing them means you want to help them rank high on LinkedIn search, hence, giving them higher chances of being found.
- If you do #1, I assure you that most of those you endorsed will do the same in return. If some don't, that's fine, as well. You'll see, though, that most of them will. Don't forget to thank them for endorsing you for your skills.
- Finally, I won't suggest sending your connections this kind of message just to get endorsed:
With the 'Skills & Endorsements' feature, LinkedIn puts in your hands the power to control how you want to be found.
Add the right skills, manage your endorsements and be discovered.