The Skills and Endorsements section on LinkedIn has become a staple of the LinkedIn profile. Because you can have up to 50 Skills listed, it can be challenging to decide upon a strategy with them. Which do you list, which do you highlight, how do you get your network to endorse you?
While those are valid questions, don’t let them stop you from using this section. It’s a keyword bank that the system uses to return better results when users search.
Here’s my advice: While you are deciding what your strategy is, add some skills so that you can start building endorsements.
LinkedIn Endorsements Matter
From a networking and relationship-building perspective they are invaluable because they provide another level of credibility to your LinkedIn profile. It used to be that you could put anything in the Skills and Expertise section and there was no external “check” on what you added. (I could have said I was an expert in sky-diving even though I’m terrified of heights.)
Now, you can still add any skill you want, but if no one endorses you for that skill, it won’t matter because it will drop to the bottom and it won’t be as relevant or credible. So if you put “Being Awesome” as a skill, but no one endorses you for it, it won’t have a big impact.
Conversely, if you are looking at a profile that has “Marketing” as a skill, and it has 28 endorsements next to it, there’s a much better chance that the person does know something about marketing. So you want to make sure that your profile accurately shares the message about your specific skill sets.
- Check to see that you are in profession that allows endorsements. If you are in a field that has compliance requirements (financial or legal, for example) you might not be able to use endorsements and you should hide them. If not…
- Add at least 20 relevant entries to the Skills and Expertise section. This will encourage people to endorse you for skills that you think are your strengths. If you aren’t sure which ones to use, look at colleagues and peers that you respect, and see what they have used. And then…
- Endorse the people in your network. You don’t have to endorse everyone for every skill they’ve listed. But if someone is good at at something, say so. This will encourage them to endorse you back and makes everyone’s LinkedIn profiles more accurate. And it’s a nice thing to do!