So, what are the top professional skills you want to list on your LinkedIn Profile? My private clients always want to know whether they are interested in finding a new job or building their profile so that they can protect and enhance their current career.
The answer is a bit more complicated because you can list all the skills you have but unless they are presented correctly and reinforced with actions then your linked profile just sits there doing very little for you.
We all know that a LinkedIn profile is indispensable these days and not just for the networking. If you were not sure then consider this: LinkedIn currently has over 610 million members and 92% of Fortune 500 companies use LinkedIn. What do these companies, actually all companies us it for? Hiring, recruiting, networking, and finding clients. So if you want a job or to be ready for the next promotion then 90% of the time you will want to showcase your professional skills on Linkedin
Your LinkedIn profile is usually your first chance to make a good first business impression; it is an extension of your all-important “personal brand”. Think of it as a mini-website where you are the “product” and people come to see what you offer and the professional skills you claim.
This is actually a very good way to think of it because your LinkedIn profile is indexed by Google and other entities and every job search platforms scan LinkedIn profiles for keywords in order to find applicants to target. As such you need to think of:
- Keywording: Your profile has the right skills listed and showcases your expertise and achievements
- Product presentation: how does your profile look? Is it visually appealing and looks “professional”
- Advertising: you are reaching out to connect with others AND sharing career-relevant and industry-leading work with others and the groups you belong to
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This might sound like a challenge but the consequences of not treating your LinkedIn profile as a major piece of your personal brand is that your profile will not boost you past other job candidates or potential competition within your own organization. It will just sit there on the platform and be like all the other boring, inconsequential profiles languishing there doing nothing for the profile writer.
A well-crafted profile will work for you 24/7/365 boosting your brand and driving potential partners and opportunities to you. This is one of the dirty little secrets we tell my private clients
Your online profile is so incredibly important these days because it serves as:
- Your business card,
- Your resume,
- Your platform /website
- Catalog of who endorses you
- An indication about how well you’re “connected” and to whom.
For these reasons, you will want to spend some time on a strategic plan for your LinkedIn profile and not be someone who tosses up a selfie, and their 10-year-old resume and call it a day.
The skills you list should be considered the top keywords that recruiting systems like the applicant tracking systems (ATS) and hiring managers will scan for when they look you up …and the will look you up on LinkedIn. The only thing worse than having a bad linked profile is not having a LinkedIn profile at all.
In general, we’ve found that humans are not the first review of your resume or your LinkedIn profile. Rather Applicant tracking systems scan and review either your resume or LinkedIn Profile (or both to see if there are any inconsistencies) and just like Google scans websites to rank them, ATS systems will scan your profile and look for keywords/skills and the number of times you mention that particular professional skill. This is called Keyword / skill density. We pay close attention to this for my private clients.
Check out this article on how ATS systems and Artificial Intelligence are impacting your career and job search to learn more: https://onlineprofilepros.com/artificial-intelligence/
The skills you present and the frequency you mention them all matter. They must be industry relevant and also truthful. I’m not suggesting that you stuff your profile with “skills” you do not possess, nor could you prove. However, there are ways to demonstrate skills even if they were not a direct part of your job description.
You will know what some of the key skills (keywords) are relevant to your particular industry. These should be worked into your written profile/description as well as, in the Experiences section. In addition, you can use LinkedIn Pulse to further reinforce these skills for your profile, more on that later.
Besides skills pertinent to your industry you will also want to include the “power words” that make hiring managers and the people within your company who decide promotions stand up and pay attention. When people had paper resumes these were the words that were supposed to stand out on the page. The same is true in the digital world.
Review your resume and online profile and see if you can fit some of these professional skills into the mix in a realistic way:
- Emotional Intelligence
- Analytical Reasoning
These are the top power words at the moment, and they should show up 3 to 5 times in your LinkedIn online profile. This is especially true in your “experiences” where you will want to give concrete examples of these skills with numerical /statistical results.
For example, you might say ”Using my creativity, I designed a collaborative, interdepartmental workspace within the organization that sought consensus on our outbound lead generation strategy resulting in a 34% increase in leads and a 20% increase in conversions within 6 months. The value to the organization was $200,000 over 6 months”.
Another example in the same online profile that wanted to emphasize the “collaboration” skill set might write this for another work experience;
“Collaborated with internal groups and external consultants as a liaison to launch a new marketing channel targeting social media influencers between 25 to 45 specializing in beauty products sold primarily to Latino women in the US, resulting in 47%increase in signups and 15% increase in sales over 3 months”
These core professional skills should definitely be in the description but then fleshed out in the experience section. Don’t just have a description of your job, have results, and reinforce that with the keywords (skills) you want to rank for.
Another thing to be aware of is using acronyms rather than the actual skill you want to rank for. Too many times I see my clients take a short cut and use and Acronym or abbreviation for the skill they want to be identified for or to “rank for” Did you know for a while that the LinkedIn algorithm identified “V.P of HR” and “Vice President of Human Resources” as two separate things? Thankfully the algorithm has gotten far better but when you spell it out then you maximize the chances that your online profile will be associated with this skill.
If you are on the more technical side of things, then you get to mix in some of the cool high tech that many companies are looking for. If you’ve got any of these professional skills, then make sure to add them to your description and point out your successes in your work experience.
Such hard skill as:
- Cloud Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
- People Management
- UX Design
- Mobile Application Development
- Video Production
- Sales Leadership
The same applies to soft skills. Give concrete examples and make sure to mention the skill several times to create enough skills density / keyword density that outside system and recruiting software will rank you for that particular professional skill.
Ok so now you have all your skills mapped out and made sure to have the skill mentioned several times to reinforce it …many of my private clients think that they are ready to go.
Not so fast there Buck-A-Roo, remember deep down this is all about your Personal Brand. How you present yourself has impact and value. People are making a first impression on you whether its to hire you, promote you or partner with you. It takes on average only a few seconds to make an impression. If it’s a lousy impression then that will stick with them for as long as they know you … don’t get me wrong, they might still work with you, but it won’t be because your personal brand inspired them
Imagine 2 LinkedIn Profiles with close to the same skillset…..
Profile #1: Includes just a selfie of a shirtless guy holding a beer, in sunglasses sitting on the beach. The remainder of the top profile has the default background. He’s dropped a few sentences in his description …something about how he’s a “People person” and like a good challenge. Next is obviously a cut and paste from his old paper resume and finally, he added a few schools he went to. Profile #1 has 150 connections.
Profile #2: Includes a professional profile photo of a businessman, he’s got a suit jacket on, he’s looking directly at the camera and his expression is one of confidence. His description defines what his skills are and his success. He’s completed his background with another image and includes an eye-catching background with some logos of the companies he’s worked with (very slick). His experiences section is all action and accomplishments. His education and awards section are filled out. He’s been network and has the all-important 500+ connections. In addition, he has some articles he’s written on his top skills or industry trends and added them to his Pulse account ( …if he’s’ a real overachiever then he’s added a few video s as well)
So, which of these guys gets hired? Hint… it’s not Profile #1
However, you say, profile #2 probably took years to complete and I want a job or promotion now! That’s not the case. You could build a Linked Profile like profile #2 by yourself in about 6 weeks (I mean we can do it in less than 2 weeks but it’s still do-able for you)
The point here is that the personal brand presentation of the guy with Profile #2 is so far more powerful than profile #1 that he always wins. That’s the guy people want to work with, hire, and promote.
Here is another fun fact, people take less than 3 seconds to look at your LinkedIn profile picture and make a judgment about you.
Like it or not everyone judges your LinkedIn Profile Photo. They make snap decisions about your professionalism, how smart you look, whether you look “nice” and the list goes on. Since we cannot control what others think, we can only put ourselves in the best light and hope for the best. That is why I insist that all of my private clients invest in a professional LinkedIn photoshoot.
Here’s where it gets surprising, but I’ll just state it anyway. I don’t care how casual a person you are or how casual you think your company or next company is …everyone likes to work with someone who is “put together”.
To that end, I tell my private clients, prior to the shoot: 1) get your hair done/cut, 2) take a shower, 3) wear something you’d wear on an interview (like a suit jacket or nice outfit).
Here is the thing. Your photographer will take a variety of at least 50 photos of you in a couple of outfits. Get a few more “formal” headshots and then you can start to alter your wardrobe to be more casual. A single photo shoot can yield a number of different looks that can be used across your social media.
If you are curious how your profile photo makes you look then you can use this App that we recently built just for you:
Not sure what people think of your LinkedIn profile photo? Let our artificial intelligence tool, code-named A.N.N.I.E, test your profile photo: https://onlineprofilepros.com/annie-photo-review/
If your LinkedIn profile is sort of like your website platform then promoting your skills is like advertising. Remember, just because you build a great profile doesn’t mean that anyone will see it you need to leverage it to get some recognition and to get people to start seeing you and the expertise you bring to the table.
The easiest is, of course, to just invite people to connect with you. You find interesting individuals or people you know and then simply come up with a nice invitation to connect with you.
Hint!! Don’t use the default LinkedIn invitation to ask people to connect with you. Write out a message (that fits) and give them a reason why you should connect with them, One powerful way to do that is to mention all the connections you tow have in common. For some reason, it’s like a vetting process. If my friend or colleague is connected with you then you must be a decent human being so I’ll connect with you too.
Another method is to use (sparingly) some of the automated tools that exist out there that can help you to connect with people on LinkedIn. These tools have other features that can help you build your personal brand much more quickly thought out the LinkedIn universe
If your LinkedIn profile looks good then when you invite these people you have a much higher probability that they will want to connect with you.
Now here is a very powerful secret you can use to boost your personal brand, really make your LinkedIn Profile stand out and get people to connect with you and increase hiring offers ( if that is what you were going for)
Create and submit articles through LinkedIn Pulse directly through your profile on the professional skills you want to highlight or industry trends you want to be recognized for. Try to create articles that are around 2500 words and focus on one topic per article. I’m sure you have a number of industry trends you can comment on this are one of the best ways to draw people back to your profile to learn more about you.
Your LinkedIn Pulse articles are the way you promote your personal brand and it’s how you showcase your professional skills on your LinkedIn profile. The more people that check out your profile because of your article the more people that learn about your skills.
Extra credit! Invite people in your groups to read your articles.
If you consistently write articles and make mention that you have a new article about a particular topic then people in the groups will start to recognize you and be more inclined to read your articles. If they read your articles they will want to learn more about you and check out your LinkedIn Profile
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, I wanted to double down and give you a few more skills that you will find useful to add to your LinkedIn profile.
So here are 10 professional skills you might want to add on your online profile. You won’t have each and every one of them but when they fit, try to work them into the conversation about your skills on your LinkedIn Profile. Keep reading to learn more.
Many companies revolve around team environments. Employers want to know that the people they intend to hire work well with others. They also know that a friendly office environment can improve morale and job satisfaction.
Make sure to list ‘teamwork’ or other similar words in the professional skills and qualifications section of your online profile so employers can see it. Avoid terms like ‘friendly,’ and choose phrases like ‘team-oriented’ instead.
Just as teamwork is an important aspect of running a successful company, independence, and the ability to work alone matter too.
Employers want to know that job candidates have a mind of their own so that ideas are more likely to be unique. Independence also indicates strength and mental agility.
You can be creative with your expression of independence in the workplace. Phrase it so that your employer knows that it’s not your only best skill but one that stands out.
Regardless of how well you work on your own or in a team environment, it doesn’t matter if you can’t communicate effectively.
Written and verbal communication is one of the first professional skills employers look for in prospective candidates. They want to be sure the candidates can clearly express themselves and get to the point of matters.
In business, effective communication can mean the difference between success and failure.
If you’re a good problem solver, then why wouldn’t you put it on your profile? Companies rely on those who can navigate unexpected challenges.
In case you choose to list this at the top of your professional skills, make sure you can follow up with an example during interviews. Employers will hire candidates based on how they came up with a solution over why.
You can also think of this as flexibility, meaning that you’re capable of handling whatever is thrown your way. Employers want staff that can adapt to changes while remaining flexible enough to work through problems.
If you’re adaptable in a certain arena, such as technology, list it on your profile so employers know what questions to ask when they meet you.
Personal development in the workplace is desired and admired because it shows that you want to perform your best.
Employers are concerned with how well you will evolve in an environment that is constantly changing or stays the same. No matter what the situation, they want to make sure you won’t bring others down with a bad attitude.
List ‘lifelong learner’ or ‘self-motivated’ as professional skills on your profile where employers will find it.
Critical thinking is a professional skill that is a huge asset because companies thrive on it in most situations.
Decision making and problem-solving go hand in hand. Employers want to know that you have the professional skills to think your way out of things.
Critical thinking has been known to save both time and money which is important for businesses. So, don’t leave it off of your profile!
Your online profile is a presentation in itself. If you’re not confident about it, then don’t add presentation skills on your page. But if you’re the type of person who enjoys getting in front of people and sharing information, list it.
Employers need people they can count on when it comes to making formal presentations and putting together business materials.
Besides solving problems and thinking critically, it’s important to have analytical skills in the business world. Many employers in the field of research will seek this skill specifically.
List your previous work where analytical skills were required. Also, be prepared for the interview because the employer will probably ask questions about it.
If you’ve held a leadership position or proven yourself as a leader in the workplace, list it in your profile.
Employers look for people with a lot of self-confidence. Plus, it’s no secret that such people are usually natural leaders.
If possible, include leadership roles that you’ve had, and skills that you’ve polished along the way.
Your LinkedIn profile, or any online profile, is seen by people who are searching for information about you. Make sure that your presentation is professional.
Include a quality photo that puts you in a positive light. Refrain from sharing pictures that were taken in inappropriate settings, such as a bar or club.
Also, keep things simple. Don’t overcompensate with too much information.
List out only enough information to provide the reader with a synopsis of your personality and what you’re capable of. Leave the rest of the details for the interview. Basically, you want the reader to feel confident that contacting you won’t be a waste of time.
So in conclusion, what are the skills I tell my private clients? Well, you can see a list of the top skills that the hiring managers and the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will scan for. However, as I’ve pointed out just listing the top skills is not going to do much for you because your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your personal brand. Your skills are not going to get any traction if you can’t get your LinkedIn Profile in front of people and draw them to your profile.
I’ve detailed the best way to treat your LinkedIn Profile to amplify your personal brand and create a LinkedIn Profile that will not only highlight your skills but bring your opportunities, job offers, or job security.
Add your mini-bio or a modified version of your LinkedIn description with your skills as an “About the author” section at the end of each of your LinkedIn Pulse article.
About the Author
Gordon Gooch is the Co-Founder/COO of Online Profile Pros. An experienced entrepreneur and startup executive, who’s spent the last 10 years working in the online dating industry and personal brand industry to help individuals create, maintain and protect their personal brand through their online profiles and social media so that they can find a better job, get a promotion or start a new relationship. He’s appeared in numerous publications and news outlets including CNN, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer MSNBC, and a host of others.
Prior to that, he spent over12 years working for financial services and New Media companies including 8 in startups, 3 of which he directly founded. He’s an accomplished photographer and videographer with IMDB credits. Mr. Gooch has an extensive background in eCommerce, technology, marketing, and online strategy. He holds a BA from Washington & Lee University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.