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This common LinkedIn mistake can hurt your chances of landing a job offer—how to avoid it

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Your LinkedIn profile is a billboard for your career — to attract potential employers, it needs to be eye-catching and informative.

This second element, however, is where jobseekers often fall short, says LinkedIn career expert Andrew McCaskill. "If you don't include the skills or keywords hiring managers are searching for on your LinkedIn profile, you're automatically disqualifying yourself from those opportunities," he explains.

According to Jobscan, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet job candidates. People with five or more skills listed on their profile, LinkedIn reports, are contacted up to 33x more by recruiters and other LinkedIn members and receive 17x more profile views, than those with fewer skills listed. 

When recruiters search for job candidates on LinkedIn, they typically search for people by location, skills and other keywords in the role's description, McCaskill explains. 

Those skills are pulled directly from a user's skills section on their profile — so if you have fewer than five skills listed, or haven't updated that section in several months, you probably won't appear in the recruiter's search results. For LinkedIn to consider your profile "complete," you must list at least five skills.

How to hack LinkedIn's recruiter algorithm 

You can add up to 50 skills to your LinkedIn profile, but the first 10 are the most important, as those show up at the top of the skills section of your profile, along with any detailed endorsements you receive for said skills from your connections. 

While skill endorsements aren't a must-have, they can help you rank higher in LinkedIn search results, says McCaskill. 

One way to get endorsements is by endorsing other people for skills you know they possess, as they'll often reciprocate and add endorsements for you. Or, McCaskill says, you can ask a co-worker from a previous role, a friend who works in your industry, or a client you have a positive working relationship with for a skills endorsement. 

It's also important to customize the skills section on your LinkedIn profile to match the skills listed in the job descriptions for the positions you are applying for, as recruiters are more likely to contact you if you have the exact skills they're hiring for. 

Some of the most in-demand skills employers are hiring for include communication, project management, leadership, data analytics and AI, according to data from LinkedIn and Resume Genius.

Including — and updating — the skills on your LinkedIn profile doesn't just make it easier for recruiters to find you. "It gives people a better picture of what, exactly, you can bring to the table, and what your strengths are," says McCaskill. "You want to be able to tell a complete story about your career, and your skills are the thread that ties all of your work experiences together."

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