Why LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements matter – it’s SEO for your LinkedIn profile

Many people ask me “Why bother with this section? Doesn’t my profile explain that I’m accomplished within the medical community as a pediatric allergist?”

The answer is, yes, your profile supplies the validation of your skills. But when any LinkedIn user is searching for a pediatric allergist (or whatever profession), it’s your LinkedIn top skills (shown below) that may improve your ranking when someone is conducting an advanced online search. It is SEO—search engine optimization—the “secret sauce” in elevating your profile among all the others in the category. They are keywords.

Select a skill your audience would use to search for someone who does what you do. Is it tax preparation or accounting? Create your own skill, or simply choose one from the pull-down menu, but choose mindfully. Keep it to the top skills only.

Which ones are relevant?

Think in terms of your client’s language, not yours. More skills aren’t better; be selective and use keywords most relevant to your expertise. (For Florida lawyers, you’re welcome to add this section even if not board certified.)

Be found for what you do best.

Did you know you could rearrange the order of the skills as they appear on your profile? Select ‘edit profile’, then click and drag each skill to arrange in relative order of importance. This is important, since most people will tend to endorse the first couple of skills they see.

Give to your internal network.

A few weeks ago I wrote about what Reid Hoffman, co-Founder of LinkedIn, calls “small goods.” Take time to visit your network’s profiles and endorse them for skills that you’ve observed from personal experience.

Recommendations (different than Skills & Endorsements).

Written recommendations are invaluable because a professional who knows your work is vouching for your capabilities. These are in the first person, by someone with specific knowledge, written in their own words.

This personal validation is important to obtain for each and every position that you have held within your career. Try to find at least two or, even better, three recommendations for each position.

Your Takeaway #1: Review your top skills and reorder them, prioritizing the most important ones near the top of your list. And show appreciation to your network—set aside time each Friday afternoon to “like” skills for someone else within your network.

Your Takeaway #2: Seek the right colleagues and request a written recommendation for each position within your profile. Two per position, at a minimum.

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