I have tracked how much LinkedIn Skills matter for profile SEO for years.
As of 2023, they matter more than ever. LinkedIn now includes 39,000 entities in its Skills Graph, knows detailed relationships between skills, and uses skills to power multiple products, including (most importantly to job seekers) Recruiter Search.
LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements — Way Back
Early on (2013), I tested several skills keywords. My research found 4 factors that propelled profiles to page 1 of my search results:
- Connection level (1st was best)
- Keyword listed as a skill + number of endorsements
- Number of times keyword appeared on the profile
- Number of recommendations the person had
These were the counts for the profiles displayed on page 1 of my search results for one of the keywords I tested:
As you can see, it was hard to hit page 1 without acing those 4 factors.
LinkedIn Skills — What Has Changed?
But in 2023, we have a different LinkedIn.
LinkedIn now segments its members into “Non-Premium” and “Premium” categories.
It further segments Premium members by the products they use.
Let’s talk about recruiters. Among other choices, they can buy the Recruiter Lite or Recruiter products.
Thus, a recruiter might be searching for candidates using one of several memberships. That matters because each membership comes with a different set of search filters.
My latest research (2022) found that skills and endorsements don’t impact non-Recruiter searches.
LinkedIn Skills — Recruiter & Recruiter Lite
However, skills do impact search results for Recruiter and Recruiter Lite users.
Look at this video to see how Recruiter users search LinkedIn profiles for skills:
LinkedIn makes it easy for recruiters to add skills to candidate searches.
Further, 2022 LinkedIn data shows that 40% of recruiters use skills searches:
Knowing that, don’t you think adding skills to your profile is a good idea? And keep them updated!
LinkedIn Skills Assessments
By the way, LinkedIn will also assess you for some skills.
If the platform offers an assessment for your skill(s), take it (them). I’m sure the algorithm uses certifications as a ranking factor.
How to Enable LinkedIn Skills Endorsements
Now, back to endorsements. To get endorsed, you have to enable Endorsements:
- Go to your profile.
- Scroll down to Featured Skills & Endorsements.
- Click the edit pencil.
- Click the 3 dots to the right of “Take skill quiz,” then click “Endorsement settings.”
- Look at the screenshot below.
- Click the first 2 boxes.
- I also click the 3rd box.
- As you receive endorsements, be sure to thank people for giving them.
Step 5 looks like this:
Use Standard LinkedIn Skills
One more pro-tip:
LinkedIn wants to create a global skills library. They call it the Economic Graph. It shows
Microsoft employers where they can find specific skills.
Because of that, when you add skills to your profile, it will suggest completions as you type. It will also offer a list of similar skills.
To the extent you can, use LinkedIn’s standardized language. Why? Because recruiters get the same suggestions and often use them.
Here’s what LinkedIn tells Recruiter users about its Skills filter:
“The Skills filter allows you to type a skill or select skills from a list of common skills for the job title you entered.
The filter looks for specific skills that candidates have explicitly listed in the Skills section of their profile as well as keywords included in relevant sections of their profile where skills are most likely to be listed.”
Thus, LinkedIn nudges both parties into aligned language, which helps recruiters find you. So go with it when you can!
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Updated March 2023
© 2013 – 2023, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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