The article first appeared on Mashable last February 22, 2015.
LinkedIn recently released its list of most hireable skills in 2014 — and, perhaps unsurprisingly, all of the top 10 are for techies.
If you’re employed (or hoping to soon be employed) in a tech-related field, this list is helpful. But what if you’re not a techie, hacker or self-proclaimed data geek? What about the plethora of salespeople, marketers, executives, entrepreneurs, consultants and writers also using the platform?
The skills you display on your profile matter — and in case you missed the update, LinkedIn recently tweaked its search engine so that you can filter by the skills on a user’s profile (i.e., your LinkedIn Skills affect your search rankings). So instead of simply guessing what to list or waiting for a colleague to endorse you randomly, try following the below steps to get more eyeballs — and more importantly, the right eyeballs — on your profile.
Below is an expert trick I’ve learned as a professional LinkedIn profile writer.
1. Find the schools with graduates in the companies and functions you are targeting
Using LinkedIn’s little-known University Finder tool, choose the filters that you are targeting, such as companies you want to focus on, locations where you want to work or roles you want to take on.
For example, I might pick Google as the target company and my function might be marketing — I would get a list of schools including Stanford, U Penn, UC Berkeley and Harvard. Write these schools down to reference in step two.
2. Find the skills students graduate with in those universities
Now, pick any of those top schools from step one and visit their University Page, and click on the ‘Explore Careers’ link. A search interface should come up similar to the one in step one — but this time you can see a list of skills graduates have on their profile.
In a spreadsheet, create a column A labeled “Skills,” and list the top 10 skills shown under the column labeled “What they’re skilled at” for each school. Don’t worry about repeating the same skills; just write them all down in one long list.
Using the example above, I would pick the target company, Google, and my function, marketing. What appears is a list of the top skills that alumni who are working in marketing at Google have on their profile. Write the top 10 of these skills in the spreadsheet, then move on to the next University Page, filter by company and function, and record the skills until there are at least 50 in your list.
3. Pick the skills with the most frequency
Go through five to 10 schools for each target company and function, recording the top 10 skills that pop up for each school. This shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. The output of your research will be a long list of 50 to 100 skills in column A in a spreadsheet. There are a lot of recommended LinkedIn profile writing services out there that can do LinkedIn profile consulting to help walk you through the process.
Now, look at the frequency of these Skills using the pivot table function. Create a pivot table with the entire range of column A:
- Step 1. Add a row grouped by skills
- Step 2. Add values, summarized by COUNTA
- Step 3. Rank your skills based on frequency. The pivot table will tell you which skills appeared more frequently. Use those in your LinkedIn profile.
Note: You’ll want to ensure that these skills are actually in your skill set before listing them on your profile — be sure that you can speak to them in an interview setting and have proof to back up your claims if called upon to do so by a potential employer!
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