Building Your “Skills” Section on LinkedIn

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In this digital era, keeping your social media profiles up to date is a key component to success.  This is especially true if you are using social media to find new career opportunities.  LinkedIn, the most popular professional oriented social media site, can help increase your chances of getting hired if you use it properly.

1.      Use Multiple Keywords.
The new skill section allows job seekers to use multiple keywords to describe their skills.  An engineer can include CAD, MathCAD, and Computer-Aided Design to highlight their knowledge and experience with design programs.  Since there isn’t a pre-set menu for skills, you can include acronyms, as well as phrases, to give recruiters an accurate picture of your capabilities.

2.      Target Your Strengths.
The goal of completing your skills and certifications sections on LinkedIn is to make yourself easier to be found online for the type of job opportunity you want.  It’s important to pinpoint your strengths, so the right recruiters will contact you.  Selecting only the key skills and credentials you want to be known for will allow recruiters to make a better judgment when deciding if what they have to offer is what you’re looking for.   Having a long list of skills can be confusing and overwhelming.

3.      Steer Clear of Ambiguous Skills.
A good rule of thumb is to not select any skills from the drop down menus.  Instead, focus on being concise. Having too many vague skills such as “planning” or “teamwork” will only clutter your profile and distract from your relevant skills.  If you target your skills and list your actual experience, the ambiguous skills are assumed.  Hence, if you’ve held a position as a lead test engineer, a recruiter will know that you possess “leadership” and “teamwork” skills.

4.      Don’t Lie.
Even though having an optimized profile is essential, you shouldn’t use the skills section to manipulate your background.  Recruiters are looking for candidates based on their skillsets, and if you get contacted for an interview based on a particular skill you listed, you’ll have to prove what you claimed is true.  Listing only your true skills will show recruiters where you differentiate from other candidates.  Don’t portray yourself as an expert in your field online if you aren’t an expert offline.

5.      Take Control of Your Skills.
Until you have added skills to your profile, LinkedIn will make suggestions to your connections of skills you may have.  They’re trying to be relevant by extrapolating based on the content of your profile, but they’re not always spot on.  This can cause frustration if you feel the skills your connections are endorsing you for are irrelevant or conflicting with your expertise.  If you want LinkedIn to make reasonable and logical recommendations, then add the skills you’d like to be endorsed on to your profile.

Also, if connections are endorsing you for skills that you don’t want featured, you can hide them.  When looking at your Skills and Expertise section, there is a small gray arrow beneath the pictures of people who have endorsed you for each particular skill.  Click the gray arrow and a window will pop up allowing you to hide endorsements of that skill.

LinkedIn is always making improvements to make the site more effective, and if you haven’t utilized the new sections, they’re worth checking out.  If you need more advice on your online job search or are looking for opportunities for engineering and architecture contact a recruiter at RealStreet Staffing or visit our Career Site for open positions. Start laying the foundation for a better career today.

RealStreet has been an excellent partner in understanding our programs’ unique staffing requirements-skills, experience, clearances, seasonality—and consistently provides qualified and highly productive team members who are often recognized by our customers for their performance.

Cheryll Bissell

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