Is LinkedIn turning into a skills search engine?

by Matt Hames

Quick: when you meet a potential new business partner, do you Google them when you go back to the office? Do you Google them on the phone before even going back to the office?

If you Google Matt Hames, LinkedIn is high on the list of results. Since that is true for many of the people who have a LinkedIn profile, I wonder when people will begin to skip Google and go right to the source.

Is LinkedIn turning into a people and skills search engine?

 I think the answer is yes, and proof is how many times “Matt Hames” comes up in search. From June 5th to August 14th, I came up in search 1,271 times. 6% of the time, it was for Matt Hames. 6% of the time it was for “Social media.”

 The other 88% of the time I came up for various keywords and skills (for example, my profile comes up for a search for “Matt Fisher” since my LinkedIn profile says I’ve done work for Fisher-Price.

Irrelevant yes, but I happen to think LinkedIn will get better as a search engine for people and skills. Already, anyone can go to and fill in all their skills. As more people do this, LinkedIn will have more data on people’s skills. Soon, people will learn to search for skills to find people.

What does that mean for you? Make your LinkedIn profile keyword and accomplishment rich. If you have accomplished something, tell people about it using skills keywords.

If your company doesn’t have a comprehensive plan for optimizing LinkedIn, then it is most-likely missing this opportunity to make an excellent second impression with new business prospects. Optimization starts with the individual.

Matt Hames has over fifteen years of Marketing and PR experience working with large companies like Fisher-Price, First Niagara Bank, ClosetMaid as well as professional firms across the country. He has spent the past five years focused on social media and analytics. You can learn more about him at or follow him on Twitter @mhames


Are you beer-worthy?

(As originally published in the National Law Journal August 10, 2011)

Let’s face it, many lawyers are introverts. They feel more comfortable working at their desks than at a networking reception filled with strangers and awkward moments. Perhaps this is why introverts are drawn to the idea of social networking and business development through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. They hope they won’t have to put themselves out there to build new relationships. Unfortunately, in my experience this is not reality.

When I traveled to Australia and New Zealand in February to speak to a variety of organizations about social media, I often started my speaking engagements with an anecdote involving a can of Coca-Cola. After sharing this story a couple of times, and not getting much of a response, I realized that perhaps Coke wasn’t the same icon in Australia that it was in the United States. So I asked a group of lawyers: What is the comparable soft drink in Australia? Read more