By Michael Feder
In a competitive job market, job seekers often look for ways to make themselves stand out. To that end, the professional social media site LinkedIn® has introduced a range of assessments for users to showcase their talent with “badges” that make those skills visible on LinkedIn profiles.
While these assessments may be a good opportunity for individuals to bolster their profiles, it’s important to understand they have limitations. The skills, assessments and badges found on LinkedIn are not the same as those earned by students in educational institutions, like University of Phoenix (UOPX).
Understanding what LinkedIn assessments entail and how they are created can help job seekers better understand the benefits and limitations of this feature. These badges likely won’t secure a job by themselves, but they are one of many elements that can make a LinkedIn profile potentially more attractive to a recruiter.
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A LinkedIn skill badge serves as an endorsement of competency and validates claims of a specific skill or set of skills. It’s important to underline, again, that this endorsement and validation are according to LinkedIn’s standards, not a third-party organization.
LinkedIn skill badging is built into the broader “LinkedIn Learning” platform. This platform is for LinkedIn users looking to develop new skills and insights in a variety of fields. It provides a number of videos featuring (whom LinkedIn considers) experts in these fields.
LinkedIn offers a number of assessments. If individuals complete these assessments in the top 30% (compared to a benchmark established by LinkedIn), they are given the option to display a “badge” indicating proficiency in the assessed skill, according to LinkedIn’s standards.
The badge appears on the user’s profile a few days after completion of the assessment. Badges can be found in the Accomplishments section of a profile. They are also visible to people viewing a profile or searching for an individual on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn skills assessments are timed online exams that generally consist of 15 multiple-choice questions. Each question has a time limit to submit an answer, and the entire assessment must be completed in a single session.
The assessments are optional. People who are interested in taking a course or exam should not feel obligated to take one. Upon completion of a course or exam, LinkedIn users receive a digital certificate of completion. However, to earn a badge for a specific skill or topic taught in that subject, they will need to complete an assessment.
If individuals decide to complete an assessment, their score will be made available to them through a LinkedIn-generated report. This can be found under the Results tab on the Skills page.
If users fail to reach the 30% threshold to earn a badge, they can retake the assessment once within six months. Additional attempts are not publicly visible on a LinkedIn profile.
According to LinkedIn, “Skill assessments are produced by subject matter experts and leaders in the LinkedIn learning community, who have extensive experience in generating exam and certification content.”
It’s important to mention, however, that there is little to no available information as to how LinkedIn defines a “subject matter expert.”
LinkedIn lays out four main aspects of quality control for their assessments:
1. Generating questions from a number of sources, instead of one expert
2. Peer review of assessments
3. Timed questions
4. “Adaptive testing,” which dynamically adjusts the questions asked according to how the user is progressing through the assessment
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Because LinkedIn offers so many skill badges, it can be difficult to decide which to pursue. To help you get started, here is a list of some popular badges.
Data analysis is the process of examining, manipulating and analyzing data to gain insights and make decisions. Data analysts use various tools and techniques to interpret data, identify patterns and trends, draw conclusions from the findings and create actionable plans for businesses.
An assessment in this area will typically include questions related to data collection, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and predictive analytics. You can expect to be asked about various data models and algorithms, tools and programs as well as how to apply them to real-world situations.
Assessments in this area include:
Information technology (IT) professionals typically maintain and manage computer systems, networks and other tech applications. They might also design and implement software solutions. This can look like anything from coding and testing applications to ensuring network security.
An IT assessment will likely include questions about operating systems, algorithms, databases, programming languages, cloud computing, using specific tools and programs, and more. You can also expect to be asked about cybersecurity protocols and best practices for safeguarding networks and how to troubleshoot problems.
Assessments in this area include:
A number of skills are helpful in the world of business and design. Whether in marketing, leadership or finance, a level of aptitude and familiarity is necessary with a number of tools. LinkedIn skill assessments in these areas focus on evaluating proficiency with common software products.
Assessments in this area include:
LinkedIn skill badging has some potential benefits that may be useful for users.
Skills badges are meant to be a concise and visible signal that indicate competency in a specific skill. Allowing users to put their badges front and center makes it easier for those perusing their profiles to quickly gain a sense of areas of experience.
LinkedIn allows recruiters to search for specific badges. This should (in theory) connect recruiters with job seekers who have specific skills. It can be useful for recruiters looking for an additional way to narrow down their options to a reasonable size.
Regardless of their specific merit, LinkedIn badges serve as an additional piece of content to “fill out” a user profile. Along with an accurate work history, endorsements and other profile features, badges help give the impression of an active user profile.
While LinkedIn skill badging may prove useful, it’s possible it could cause confusion as not everyone is familiar with skill badging and what badges stand for.
While in theory these badges are meant to make users easier to find and connect with potential recruiters, it’s difficult to assess the impact the badges actually have since the feature is somewhat new.
While badges are a fine way to bolster a profile, they are not going to replace genuine experience and solid references. If a user wants to work in a particular industry, particularly in experienced roles, they should probably look toward bolstering their actual resumé before taking assessment after assessment to fill their LinkedIn profile with badges.
Users should know what they’re getting into when it comes to LinkedIn badges. Are they likely to diminish a job seeker’s chances of landing a job? Probably not. Are they going to be what lands them that job? Probably not.
LinkedIn badges should form part of a general strategy to make a LinkedIn profile as attractive and relevant to recruiters as possible. When taken as part of this general strategy, they can be a positive and useful tool.
To further help students demonstrate and articulate the new skills they are acquiring in classes, UOPX has introduced online badges, or digital badges, aligned to career-relevant skills.
More than 200 verified digital badges are available through Credly digital badges. UOPX has issued over 200,000 badges since September 2021 for skills obtained in undergraduate, graduate and professional development courses. Currently, more than 85% of UOPX programs open for new enrollment are now skills mapped.
As a leader in connecting educational programs to in-demand workplace skills, UOPX is bridging the gap between what employers want and what students can deliver. Learn more about the online programs UOPX offers.
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