Start 2015 Out Right with the Power of LinkedIn Endorsements ... And Something New This Year
Everyone knows how effective product and service endorsements can be in building a business. The same holds true for building your executive career. You may have worked hard on creating compelling and engaging content for your executive resume and LinkedIn profile, but have you considered how important verifying your skill sets by accumulating LinkedIn endorsements is to being found by recruiters?
There is a good bit of warranted skepticism regarding how meaningful these LinkedIn endorsements are, given that more than one billion have been given since the feature was introduced. But whether they mean anything or not (people who barely know a person are routinely asked by LinkedIn to endorse them for particular skills), they do increase your prominence in search results and do make an impression on a visitor to your profile.
It is important to make sure that the skills you list are actually ones you do possess, and that they are important skills for the types of executive positions for which you wish to show you are qualified. Before adding a skill to your list, go to LinkedIn's Advanced Search and input your current or targeted job title, then select "Current" from the drop-down menu. This will bring up individuals who are currently exercising the required skills for the job, and examining the skills they list for prevalent terms will guide you in determining which skills to list on your profile.
Something else to consider regarding the Skills section on your profile is whether all of the skills listed are relevant to your current executive position or targeted position. Since your connections will be asked by LinkedIn if they want to add and endorse a skill, you may wind up with one or more skills that are not consistent with how you wish to be perceived. Don't hesitate to simply remove these skills, as they will dilute the impact of relevant skills listed, and perhaps lead others to endorse you for those skills instead of the ones you wish to highlight. The principle on your LinkedIn profile is the same as for your executive resume: Showcase relevant skills and do not include anything that is irrelevant or perhaps positions you as a lower-level executive candidate.
Segueing to something new on LinkedIn: The site has just made it easier to feature your technical or professional certifications on your profile. The new feature lets you add certifications with just one click, and is available globally to all certification providers. LinkedIn has compiled a list of Top 100 Certification Providers to make it easier for members to search and add them to their profiles. Since recruiters will often use particular certifications (such as PMP, CPA, etc.) in constructing their database searches, including them can increase your prominence in search results.