Choosing the right skills on LinkedIn

Have things gone too far when it comes to LinkedIn skills? It recently came up on my LinkedIn feed that a contact of mine has been endorsed for “talking”. Although I do not doubt that this is true, I have some doubts about its usefulness to potential employers. With members being endorsed for everything from “breathing” to “drinking”, how can you make sure you get the quality/quantity ratio of skills right?

Checklist for LinkedIn skillsThe argument for including as many LinkedIn skills as possible says that it allows you to cover all your bases in terms of recruiter searches. Doing so to excess, however, may cause recruiters to see you as something of a jack of all trades. If you list skills which you cannot demonstrate to a high level and are not a particularly relevant part of your CV, this may also  diminish the credibility of your more legitimate skills.

A high quantity of endorsements is also key when making sure you rise to the top of the LinkedIn search engines for a particular skill, and listing unnecessary skills may cause you to spread out your endorsements more thinly. So, in short, it’s best to choose your skills wisely.

Adding LinkedIn skills

How many LinkedIn skills should I add?

A quick analysis of professional recruiters’ profiles show that they tend to include anything from 10-30 different skills. Bear in mind, however, that these people are likely to be using the social network more and thus receiving far more endorsements overall than you. A decent amount of skills to aim for might be around 15-20, depending on what it is you do and what stage you are at in your career.

Which LinkedIn skills should I add?
To get an idea of what sort of skills would be relevant, take a look at typical requirements listed in for the type of work you’re applying for, and think about how you can pick out keywords to list as skills. If you’re not applying for any particular job, you can also use LinkedIn’s little-known Trend Tracking Tool for a general picture of which skills are currently most in demand, too.

It’s also a good idea to take a sneaky look at profiles of those with a similar job title to you to check there’s nothing you’ve left out (and equally, that there’s nothing you should be learning at the minute).

What should I avoid listing?
A LinkedIn profile is more cohesive than a CV and generally serves as a storage base for all kinds of information about your work history, so it’s ok to list skills that aren’t directly relevant for jobs you’re applying for. More than anything, however, you want to avoid listing LinkedIn skills that anyone could claim to have. If in doubt, ask yourself how you could prove that you possess the skills on your list if asked to do so.

And to finish off, here’s a list of some of the most eclectic LinkedIn skills out there:

  • Talking
  • Breathing
  • Drinking
  • Laughing
  • Lifestyle
  • Insomnia
  • Working (we would hope so!)
  • Books

…do you have any more to share?

We’ve shared more tips for creating your LinkedIn profile here.

Image: Tapping pencil from Rennett Stowe (CC)

Penelope for JobisJob

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