For those fully leveraging LinkedIn, most will agree that this social platform is one of the most effective when it comes to lead generation, branding and enhancing trust and credibility with prospects.
Skills & Expertise – An Under-Utilized Optimization Opportunity
The LinkedIn’s Skills & Expertise section – an area on your profile where you can add up to 50 keywords — is becoming an increasingly important consideration when it comes to optimizing your profile for LinkedIn search. Not only does this section help with search, but it also helps establish credibility and authority – in addition to the obvious benefit of helping others better understand what you do.
Adding, Editing or Deleting Skills
To add, edit, or delete skills in your Skills & Expertise section:
- Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your home page and click Edit Profile.
- Scroll down to the Skills & Expertise section.
- Click the Edit link. You can type the name of a skill, edit existing skills, or click the X next to a skill to delete it.
- Click Add Skills & Expertise to save your changes.
Alternatively, you can add a skill from the Skills & Expertise page – found under
“More” at the top of your home page. From here, search for your skill or expertise, and then click the Add Skills button. That skill will now be displayed on your profile under the Skills & Expertise section.
Endorsing Skills & Expertise
To further enhance the value of adding skills & expertise to your profile, LinkedIn has just recently given users the ability to endorse 1st degree connections’ skills with a single click.
To endorse someone's skill:
- Scroll down to the Skills & Expertise section of a connection's profile
- Click the name of the skill, or the + symbol next to the skill.
Once endorsed, your name and thumbnail image will be displayed next to the skill on that person's profile, and an update regarding the endorsement will appear in both of your network update streams. An email will also be sent to the person you've endorsed. The most endorsed skills will move to the top of the Skills & Expertise section.
So What's the Difference between Endorsements and Recommendations?
As we have described, an endorsement is simply a one-click way for your connections to endorse the Skills & Expertise listed on your profile. There is not an automatic way to request an endorsement within the LinkedIn platform. A recommendation, on the other hand, is a written statement of recommendation from a connection. You may request recommendations from your connections, as well as proactively recommend your connections.
Critics of Endorsements
Critics of LinkedIn Endorsements will say that because it only takes a split second and little, if any, thought to endorse a connection (as opposed to more time and thought required to make a recommendation), LinkedIn is opening itself up to opportunities for those less scrupulous "professionals" to attempt to game LinkedIn search results. Unfortunately, these critics have a legitimate concern. Afterall, LinkedIn has been known to display results for those profiles that are stuffed with nothing but keywords, profiles that consist of 20+ fake jobs and job titles that are nothing more than buzzwords. Now it's up to LinkedIn to be sure Endorsements — and these other unscrupulous strategies – aren't given excessive weight in its Search algorithm — and that those professionals who do have legitimate skills, experience, endorsements & recommendations continue to rank well when doing LinkedIn searches.
For the moment, LinkedIn continues to be a great platform for building trust and credibility with clients and prospects. Furthermore, Endorsements seems to be an effective mechanism that allows others to identify or verify your professional strengths. Let's hope it continues to be so.