Not All LinkedIn Skills Are Created Equal: How to Pick the Right Ones

LinkedIn Skills ExpertiseAre you taking control of what skills show up on your profile? Or are you letting your connections determine what’s listed on your LinkedIn page?

Guilty of the latter? Big mistake. That’s a rookie move.

Many LinkedIn users will pick a few skills and leave things alone. What happens next is your network begins endorsing you for skills derived by LinkedIn’s software. Some are fitting, some are not. Either way, many of these skills are not optimized for what employers typically search for.

(Or even worse, they’re so generic it’s barely possible to stand out amongst the crowd.)

When an employer searches for skills, they either use them as keywords, or through the LinkedIn Recruiter product where skills are a search parameter. So to increase the likelihood of being found by employers, and getting endorsed for the most relevant skills, use the following game plan to pick your LinkedIn Skills.

Head on over to and look for Project Management. You’ll see this is the eighth most popular skill used by all LinkedIn users.

So if you are a project manager, it certainly makes sense to use this skill. However, you’ll notice the top 10 people in your network with this skill. Click on the number one project manager listed there. (On my list, the number project manager has 321 endorsements for the skill).

If you have more experience than them at a higher rank in a company, then you don’t need this article. If that person outranks you, keep reading.

Step 1: Start With a Basic Skill

First, you want to start high level. Pick a Skill that is all encompassing for what you do. Using the skills’ pages’ auto-suggest, begin typing the name of your Skill. LinkedIn will suggest the most commonly used version of that name.

Open up that skills page and add it to your profile if its not already there.

Step 2: Filter Down to More Targeted Skills

Once you’re on the high-level skills page, there are a number of important research tools available to you.

Next, look for the graph called Relative Growth on the top right of the page:

LinkedIn Skills 1

This chart tells you which skills are growing, year over year, relative to other, related skills.

Now pick a skill with a positive growth rate.

You may find many skills with a negative growth rate, avoid these. Act like you didn’t see them.

Next, tab over to the Size chart. You’ll see your high-level skill will devour it’s closest competitor, much like this:

LinkedIn Skills 2

Click on the next one down to get a better view:

LinkedIn Skills 3

Start picking related skills but have a smaller size and a positive growth curve. For example, I found Creative Resourcing is a skill with relatively fewer competitors (only 460 people use it) but with a very high growth curve (23% year over year growth).


Step 3: Build Your Skills Library

Quick Recap: We began with a high-level skill and added many related smaller, high-growth skills. This allows you to build a smarter skills library.

This is what your skills library should look like:

I (Large size, low growth)

I-I-I (Medium size, medium or level relative growth)

I-I-I-I-I-I (Small size, high growth)

Your last step is to add no more than 50 total skills. Then sit back and wait for your endorsements to trickle in.

It’s a beautiful thing.

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Joshua Waldman is an Author, Speaker and Trainer specializing in helping people re-gain control of their careers in today’s economic and technology climate. As the author of “Job Searching With Social Media For Dummies”, he enjoys presenting keynotes and workshops on personal branding, online reputation and advanced LinkedIn strategy. With the mission of helping professionals break away from outdated and ineffective job-searching strategies, he runs, a successful career blog. Joshua has been featured on ABC News, Mashable, International Business Times and Simply-Hired. For more information about Joshua or his book visit:

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  1. This is such useful information! Typically, we only think of the more obvious keywords when we should be looking at targeted ones. By listing a variety of skills that are more concentrated towards your talents, you’ll likely receive more positive results out of your LinkedIn experience.

  2. John Vincent says:

    Looks like LinkedIn may have changed this (or be in the process of changing it). I’m not seeing any of the charts. I just see the year to year growth number.

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