A client of mine – a Chief Marketing Officer in global healthcare – posed a great question for me recently about LinkedIn skills.
He posted the new LinkedIn content I had written for him, and was aggressively leveraging all LinkedIn features:
“Quite a few people ‘endorsed’ me on LinkedIn, but they often endorsed me for skills I did not list. Is this detrimental to my SEO strategy with recruiters via LinkedIn? Should I delete the endorsements that are not in my top 3? Does it hurt to leave them?”
Similarly, when I looked at my own LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements section a few days earlier, I realized that I had the same problem he did.
Many of my most endorsed skills didn’t apply at all to me. And the first 3 in my list were not my most important ones. My list was sending the wrong personal brand message.
What Are Skills and Endorsements?
A skill endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse the skills listed on your profile. An endorsement is not the same as a “Recommendation”, which is a written narrative that a connection of yours submits to you, in support of your expertise and value.
A high number of endorsements for skills representing your best talents supports your personal brand and adds credibility to your candidacy in job search and in doing business. Endorsements validate that you really do possess these skills and they add value to your profile.
There is debate about how much weight the Skills and Endorsement section carries with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), compared with other critical spots for SEO, like the profile headline, name field and summary section.
However, executive recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn extensively to source candidates by searching relevant keywords. The more your LinkedIn content is search engine-optimized − in other words, saturated with the right relevant keywords − the more likely your profile will land higher in search results for those keywords.
You should have uncovered the right keywords for you when you researched your target employers.
How to Brand Your LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements
You’re allowed a total of 50 skills in your list. The first 3 are more prominently displayed and include the avatars of your most recent endorsers.
Pull together a list of your top 50 areas of expertise (or skills), and post them to your profile in order of importance to your target employers. After that, reach out to your connections individually and ask them to endorse you, to build up your numbers, and watch others you haven’t asked add endorsements.
This practice is all well and good. However, as my client noted, your prioritized list starts shifting to accommodate the endorsements coming in. Skills with more endorsements get listed first. Sometimes, new endorsed skills come in that are not even skills you possess. In other words, your list goes screwy over time.
How To Fix Your LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements
Luckily, you can reorder and delete skills. Here’s how to do it:
- Go into your profile
- Scroll down to the Skills & Endorsements section
- Click to edit that section
- Click and drag to re-order skills
- Delete skills that don’t apply to you
Come back every few months or so, and repeat to keep this section up to date.
Want a quick and easy way to connect with your network and stay top-of-mind with them? Take the time to go to their profiles and give them skills endorsements.