3 Ways to Rework Your LinkedIn 'Skills' So that They Actually Help Your Job Search

LinkedIn "Skills" can be useful to potential employers...but only if they're framed correctly.

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Taylor Tobin
Taylor Tobin1.84k

With over 500 million users worldwide, LinkedIn regularly earns its reputation as the premier social-networking site for job seekers. It's a crucial resource for anyone in the professional world, and it's something everyone should know how to navigate.

Despite it's popularity, some LinkedIn features are still misused. One of the most frequently-misused examples? The “skills” section, which lets members list areas of expertise, which can then be “endorsed” by connections. While the skills area can be a helpful resource for hiring managers and candidates, LinkedIn users don’t always know how to maximize the section (and the rest of their profiles) to their advantage. If you’re looking to tune up your LinkedIn presence, consider these 3 skills-related tips:

1. The skills section should be a “Cliff’s Notes” of keywords, optimized for search purposes.

Above all else, the Skills section’s value comes from its ability to hold keywords that will help your profile gain visibility from hiring managers searching for candidates with certain qualities. For example, if you’re on the job hunt and want to be considered for social media roles at companies currently hiring, make sure to include “Social Media” at the top of your Skills section. Also, it helps to keep your Skills section tidy and to-the-point; if you’re interested in social media jobs, you’ll probably want to pull “Paranormal Romance” out of your Skills list. 

2. Skills should be communicated through achievements, and that info all belongs in your resume.

Because LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to upload your full resume, complete with descriptions of each position and what you accomplished, the information listed in the Skills section shouldn’t be surprising to anyone reviewing your profile page. According to Alison Green of Ask A Manager, your resume should focus on your achievements, specifically on measurable results that show off your skills. Introducing these abilities with evidence of their effectiveness goes a lot farther than a mere note in the Skills section.

3. “Skill endorsements” are completely subjective and often don’t hold real weight in the hiring process.

The Endorsements feature on LinkedIn, which allows past bosses and coworkers to “vouch” for your skills, can seem like a great way to show potential employers that other people agree with your own assessment of your talents. However, because these endorsements can come from any LinkedIn connection and require nothing more than the click of a button, their viability is frequently called into question by hiring managers. LinkedIn endorsements won’t detract from your candidacy, but if you’re investing significant energy and time into requesting them from past colleagues, your efforts could be better spent elsewhere.