This section has gotten a lot of buzz because there is a lot more going on here than just a bunch of keywords that describe what you are good at. However, since you obviously want people to find you on LinkedIn, you should begin by including in this section words and/or phrases that describe who you are (experiences) and what you do (skill set).
For example, I include terms like LinkedIn trainer, LinkedIn consultant, LinkedIn keynote speaker, as well as office furniture, interior design services, etc. LinkedIn allows you to include up to fifty skills in this section of your profile, and to have a 100 percent complete profile you must list at least five skills or areas of expertise. Obviously, the more terms you include, the more likely you will be found by people who are searching on LinkedIn.
What information is available?
In addition to being a great list of keywords, a wealth of information is compiled from the LinkedIn database for every skill that is part of their database. Here are the ones I have found to be most helpful:
- Popularity of the skill (relative ranking to other skills in their database)
- Growth trend of the skill (changes in popularity year to year)
- Related skills. This might help you find additional skills you can include in your profile.
- A bar chart that shows relative growth, size, and age. Click this on for your skill; there is some really excellent information here.
- Related companies. These are company pages that include the skill. I have a feeling these are some of the companies that pay some big dollars to LinkedIn already, and it is an additional benefit to be listed here.
- People in your network with the same skill. Everyone is wondering how you get on this list, but thus far my research has not uncovered LinkedIn's secret formula.
- LinkedIn groups relating to the skill. This is one of the most helpful sections. Make sure you are part of some of these groups. Remember, you can join up to 50 groups.
- Current job postings listing the skill. This is a goldmine for job seekers.
Here is what the LinkedIn Skills page looks like for the specific skill "Accounting."
What information should you include?
In addition to the broad skill of "Accounting," there are nine other specialty accounting skills in the database, including Financial Accounting, Tax Accounting, Management Accounting, and so on. Have some fun with this and explore which skills you should include in your profile.
You can have up to 50 skills, and my recommendation is to have 50. As I have mentioned so many times before, including keywords in your profile, especially in sections like Skills, will help you jump up in the search ranking when someone is looking for a person with your skill set.
Don't hesitate to include skills that might not show up in LinkedIn's database, like "Non-Profit Accounting" or "Office Furniture," if you think someone might be searching by those words.
I have personally discovered new groups to join and found new skills to add to my profile. I'm sure you will find your own great ways to use this vast collection of information.
For more information...
Check out LinkedIn's one-minute video for more great info.
How have you used the Skills section?