Can you ever have too much of a good thing?  That’s what I’m starting to wonder, at least when it comes to LinkedIn, since the developers there seem to be maintaining a breakneck pace of adding new bells, whistles, and features to the site.  I mean seriously, I think there’s a decent chance we might see actual bells and whistles on the site in the near future.  They’ve pretty much already programmed every other possible option into the bloody site by this point!

All kidding aside, their latest addition, the “Skills” feature, is a pretty interesting little contraption.  Have you heard about this new feature yet?  If not, you’ll find it here under the “More” menu of the main LinkedIn toolbar.  In a nutshell, this new page basically measures the growth/decline/frequency of various professional skills and competencies by aggregating this data (I’m assuming) from the millions of individual profiles people have put up on the system.

The benefit of this new feature, as stated on the Skills page itself, is that it will let you “Discover the skills you need to succeed” and “Learn what you need to know from the thousands of hot, up-and-coming skills we’re tracking.”  And that’s pretty much what it delivers.  If you type in any individual skill (e.g. Project Management or Human Resources) it will not only pull up a graph that shows you the relative growth (or decline) of that skill over a certain period of time, but also tell you how many users on the system (if you click the “size” button) have added that keyword to their profile recently.

Far more importantly, however, you’ll see a long list of “related skills” on the left side of the screen.  It’s this feature, in my opinion, that is the absolute goldmine — at least to people going through a career transition!  Upon viewing this long list of other related competencies, you’ll probably spot at least a couple of terms that you SHOULD have included on your own profile — but overlooked — and that you should also immediately build into your resume, as well.  For example, even if you’re an old pro at financial analysis, you might have forgotten to mention “variance analysis” or “valuation” on your profile.  Or if you’re in the chemical engineering field, you might have neglected to sprinkle words like granulation, colloids, gasification, or transport phenomena into your materials.  Whatever those nerdy terms mean.

So play around with the new Skills page and see what you think.  As you’ll see, it does have a few other nifty components, too, in addition to the ones mentioned above.  For example, once you search on a particular skill, it compiles a set of  job leads that relate to your field, as well as lists of companies/people most associated with the Skill in question.  But these features are nothing new if you already know how to search the system effectively.  It’s the laundry list of related keywords on the left side, I believe, that is the real “crown jewel” of this new feature.  Don’t overlook it!