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Are you still confused by LinkedIn's Skills & Endorsements?

If you are, you're certainly not alone. I've found from my weekly one-on-one LinkedIn consultations that this profile section is the most misunderstood. It's sort of like the Rodney Dangerfield of LinkedIn profile sections. (Yes, I know—I'm dating myself!)

Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian in the 1980's whose main applause line was "I don't get no respect." I think that describes this LinkedIn profile section perfectly.

To help you optimize this very important section on your profile, I'm going to share with you the specific strategies and advice I give my consulting clients. These are summarized well in the following excerpt from the fourth edition of my best-selling LinkedIn book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Preorder your copy now from Amazon by clicking here (April 2 delivery).
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Skills & Endorsements

This section has gotten a lot of buzz because there is a lot more going on here than just a bunch of keywords that describe what you are good at. However, since you obviously want people to find you on LinkedIn, you should begin by including in this section words and/or phrases that describe who you are (experiences) and what you do (skill set).

For example, I include terms like LinkedIn trainer, LinkedIn consultant, LinkedIn keynote speaker, public speaking, social networking, and personal branding. LinkedIn allows you to include up to fifty skills in this section of your profile. Obviously, the more terms you include, the more likely you will be found by people who are searching on LinkedIn.

An additional benefit of having skills on your profile is others can endorse you for those specific skills or expertise. Similar to “likes” on Facebook, everyone can see the number of endorsements you’ve received. In addition, the names and faces of the people who endorse you are displayed.

Here are a few facts, thoughts, and strategies relating to endorsements that will help you frame your approach to this important profile section:
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  • You can only receive endorsements from first-level connections and for skills you have acknowledged you possess.
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  • Don’t feel obligated to endorse everyone who endorses you. Of course, if you can give a genuine endorsement of someone in your network, you should certainly return the favor.
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  • You control which endorsements are displayed on your profile. If you receive an endorsement from a person your network may view as not very credible, simply hide that endorsement.
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  • If your LinkedIn strategy going forward differs from your current strategy, add skills that will be important to your future goals.
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  • It’s not necessary to thank everyone who endorses you. However, if you are looking to strengthen a relationship, by all means, send a note of thanks.
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  • LinkedIn’s search ranking algorithm is top secret, but I suspect the number of endorsements on a profile is probably part of it. 
Thus, the more endorsements the better.
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  • Potential purchasers of your products and services can easily compare how many endorsements you have with how many your competitors have—another reason to actively seek endorsements.
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  • When you endorse someone, LinkedIn will notify her via e-mail, and your name and photo will appear on her profile. Th
is is a great way to get her attention.

If you want to draw attention to certain skills or encourage people to endorse you for those skills, simply reorder them. Start by clicking the pencil icon in the Skills & Endorsements section. You can then pin your three most important skills to the top of this section.

Start by clicking the blue pushpin next to a current pinned skill that you’d like to remove from the Top Skills section. Then click the pushpin next to a skill you’d like to pin in the top section, and it will move there.

You can also rearrange the skills within each subsection by dragging the Reorder icon next to the skill you want to move. From this same screen, you can also delete any of your skills by clicking the trash can icon next to the skill. By actively managing this section of your profile, you’ll make the most of the skills you possess.

Endorsements are a great way to boost your credibility, so don’t be bashful. Include a comprehensive list of your skills and expertise. Then get busy and request endorsements so the viewers of your profile can see just how good you are.

There you have it. Use these strategies to update your LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements section, and you'll start to "get some respect."

My new book is filled with other simple ways to get respect (and more business) on LinkedIn. Preorder your copy now on Amazon.com.