LinkedIn Tip for Solopreneurs: Go Light on your “Skills & Expertise”

More isn’t always better – especially when posting your “Skills & Expertise” on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn recently introduced a “Skills & Expertise” feature to enable us to enhance our profiles by adding single words or phrases that represent our specific talents, organizational and interpersonal skills, software aptitude, sales and marketing prowess, technical abilities, industry knowledge, etc. It’s nice in that it adds keywords to your profile to help others find you via the Skills & Expertise page of the LinkedIn site. But resist the urge to splurge!

LinkedIn lets you add up to 50 skills and areas of expertise to your profile. Fantastic, right? Great in theory, because it seems logical that the more you have, the more impressive you’ll appear to prospects. Unfortunately, that can backfire as your connections seek to help you by endorsing your specific capabilities.

I discovered quickly, that if you have too many options listed under “Skills & Expertise,” people might very well endorse those that really aren’t what you want front and center on your profile. Not that any particular skills or areas of expertise are bad (unless bank robbery or money-laundering happen to be among them!), but they could pull attention away from the talents that truly matter to prospects. If your connections endorse your “lesser” or “in the past” skills more prolifically than those that are pertinent to your current status as a solopreneur, potential clients might not feel as confident about your ability to meet their needs.

How can you ensure that your top traits get the spotlight?

Keep these things in mind as you set up or review your LinkedIn “Skills & Expertise” list…

  • 50 is overkill. I have 22 on my list and need to whittle it down even further.
    1. Check your own list to see if you duplicated any skills.For example, if you’ve listed “Marketing,” “Marketing Strategy,” “Product Marketing,” and “Marketing Management,” you might eliminate one or two of them so only those that you’d like emphasized on your profile remain.
    2. Remove skills that are implied in other skills.I axed “Microsoft Word” from my list. As a freelance writer, I believe people will correctly assume that I have proficiency in using Word or some equivalent word processing software. If a skill naturally “goes with the territory,” you probably don’t need to list it.
  • LinkedIn prioritizes and puts your skills and areas of expertise with the most endorsements at the top of your list.
    If you have any that you would rather not highlight, remove them so your connections don’t have the option to endorse them.
  • Don’t feel obliged to keep endorsed skills and expertise in your profile.
    Even if others endorsed you on them, pull the plug if they are diluting your professional focus.

Of course, there is the double-edged sword effect of not being found if someone searches on the LinkedIn Skills & Expertise page for a capability that you removed from your profile. However, if you’ve got a comparable skill there instead, users will see it among the list of “Related Skills” provided. And if they’re seriously looking for professionals with your specific abilities, they’ll continue their research to view profiles (yours included) that have the related skill. No guarantees, of course, so the choice is yours! My preference is to work toward a profile that displays a meaningful Skills and Expertise list with appropriate endorsements, rather than bulk load for the sake of search. Your thoughts?


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