The top ranked personal skill or expertise on my Linkedin profile is currently ‘strategy’. It has been moving up the list over the last year.
I am flattered that hundreds of people have endorsed me for ANY skills and expertise on Linkedin. Until recently ‘Accounting’ was top – presumably by reference to my background in and knowledge of the UK accounting profession.
The reason for this post though is because of the question in my mind since I started considering why hundreds of people were endorsing me for ‘strategy’. As I admire so many other strategic thinkers and advisers, I am quite thrilled anyone should feel this word is relevant to what I do.
After I comment on this below I share some lessons that may be of use to you re your Linkedin profile.
Do I do ‘strategy’?
I have not, to date, referenced ‘strategy’ as a skill, topic or expertise in any of my online, author or speaker profiles. So why does it appear to be so popular among my Linkedin connections?
It could be simply a function of Linkedin’s algorithm such that it is the most often promoted skill when anyone visits my profile on Linkedin. Or it could be a down to the impression people get through much of what I write about, speak about and share. Or, most likely, a combination of these two reasons.
This has caused me to reflect on the impression others get from what I do.
I frequently find myself debunking over-hyped ideas and forecasts about the speed of impact of changes on the professions. I also tend to discourage anyone from chasing the latest fad without first thinking about their target audience and focusing on ways to engage with them. And I always encourage my audiences to clarify what it is they wish to achieve; then I recommend having a plan rather than just experimenting with new ideas all the time.
Hmm. And what is business strategy all about? It’s about identifying your objectives and creating a plan as to how you will achieve them.
So, yes, perhaps I should reflect on how others see my advice as being strategic. If you agree by all means add your endorsement to my Linkedin profile.
How much importance do you place on the endorsements you get on your Linkedin profile? Remember, that endorsements are very different to recommendations.
The skills and expertise on your Linkedin profile
When Linkedin introduced their endorsements facility in 2012 I saw it as a bit of a game. I determined that it wasn’t important to get loads of endorsements. I have however long maintained that it was key to only accept onto your profile endorsements for skills you really have and which you want to promote. (See: What I like about Linkedin endorsements – October 2013)
Linkedin asks visitors to your profile, with whom you are already connected, to endorse you for a range of skills. Some of those skills may already be on your profile. Others are on the profiles of people who Linkedin thinks are a bit like you. In theory people who know you should only confirm you as having skills you really have. But, in practice, many users think they are helping you if they confirm you have skills as suggested by Linkedin. There’s no guarantee that they really think you have those skills.
Over time though it seems that Linkedin stops asking about random skills – especially if you haven’t added new ones to your profile even after people confirm you have them. This is certainly true in my case. I don’t recall the last time I had rejected the addition of a new skill that someone had endorsed me for (prompted, no doubt, by the Linkedin algorithm).
I would encourage you to reflect on the top 5 skills/expertise currently showing on your profile. Do these reinforce the message in the summary of your profile and in your profile title? Or will these skills/expertise confuse your message?
My advice is to delete any reference to skills/expertise that you do not have or that you know are not relevant to what you wish to be known for. And then, maybe ask some of your close connections to visit your profile and to endorse you for just 3 or 4 skills/expertise that you genuinely feel are relevant and justified.
This will serve three purposes.
- It will help you to understand what people really think you’re good at;
- It will encourage Linkedin’s algorithm to focus more on those popular topics when it invites other people to endorse you; and
- It will enable you to revise your profile to better reflect what you’re known for which should make it easier to achieve your business or career objectives
So I suggest this is a sensible strategy to pursue ;-)