With over 770 million members worldwide, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform for professionals looking to network, market themselves, and advance their careers. One way LinkedIn users showcase their skills and achievements is through digital badges displayed on their profile. But do recruiters actually look at these badges when evaluating candidates? Here’s a closer look at how LinkedIn badges work and whether they make a difference in the hiring process.
What are LinkedIn badges?
LinkedIn badges are icons that appear next to a user’s name and are designed to highlight certain skills, achievements, and certifications. There are several types of badges available on LinkedIn:
- Skill badges – These showcase proficiency in various skills like marketing, leadership, or software programs.
- Course badges – These are earned by completing educational courses on LinkedIn Learning.
- Event badges – These show participation in specific LinkedIn events and programs.
- Certification badges – These validate professional certifications from various organizations.
- Organization badges – These verify employment or volunteer work with specific organizations.
Badges serve as visual symbols to summarize a LinkedIn member’s background and qualifications. They aim to provide a snapshot of users’ key skills and accomplishments to make their profile stand out.
Do recruiters look at LinkedIn badges?
In short – yes, many recruiters do pay attention to LinkedIn badges when evaluating potential candidates. Here are some key reasons why:
- Badges quickly communicate skills and interests. For recruiters screening large volumes of applicants, badges allow them to rapidly glean information about technical abilities, soft skills, organizational affiliations, and more.
- Badges act as vetted credentials. Skill badges must be confirmed through either a skills assessment or work experience. Certification badges are connected to verified credentials. This adds more credibility than simply listing skills on a profile.
- Badges show initiative. Earning badges requires users to actively engage on the LinkedIn platform through assessments, courses, events, and more. Badges demonstrate motivation to build skills and participate in professional development.
- Badges differentiate candidates. When reviewing many similar profiles, badges can highlight unique qualifications and make a candidate stand out from the competition.
However, while recruiters may glance at badges, they are still unlikely to solely make hiring decisions based on badges alone. They provide useful supplemental information to evaluate candidates, but recruiters will still look at the full work experience and skill set.
Do certain badges matter more than others?
Not all badges hold equal weight when it comes to influencing recruiters. Some badges tend to catch a recruiter’s eye more than others:
- Skills: Skill badges linked to in-demand hard skills (e.g. analytics, coding) or important soft skills (e.g. communication, time management) are more meaningful.
- Prominent certifications: Recognizable certifications like PMP, CPA, CFA are valued by recruiters as they represent investment in professional development.
- Relevant organizations: Badges connected to well-known companies or associations in a specific industry grab attention, especially from recruiters hiring for related roles.
- Select courses: Course badges from influential LinkedIn Learning instructors/schools or completion of extensive programs stand out.
More niche skills badges, local event badges, and organization badges unrelated to the job tend to have less impact on hiring decisions.
How can you maximize LinkedIn badges for recruiters?
If you want to strategically leverage LinkedIn badges to make your profile more visible during job searches, consider these tips:
- Earn skill badges that align with in-demand hard and soft skills for your target roles.
- Complete LinkedIn assessments to showcase proficiency in specialized areas within your field.
- Obtain certifications from respected certification bodies and display the badges prominently.
- Finish LinkedIn Learning courses relevant to your aspiring career path – consider showcasing course completion badges in your Summary section.
- Join influential professional associations and volunteer groups then display their organization badges.
- Participate actively in LinkedIn events and training programs to accumulate event badges.
- Curate your badges wisely – remove clutter from outdated or irrelevant badges.
Strategically selecting which skills to validate through badges and prominently displaying the most meaningful badges can help your profile stand out.
Do other social media badges matter?
In addition to LinkedIn, some other popular social networks also offer digital badges you can display on your profile, including:
- Facebook Career Certifications
- Twitter Professional Profiles
- Instagram Creator Badges
- Youtube Certifications
However, currently these badges on other platforms are far less influential when it comes to recruiting and hiring processes. LinkedIn remains the dominant professional social network leveraged by recruiters.
That said, as more digital badging programs emerge on leading platforms, social media badges on sites like Instagram and Youtube may carry more weight in the future, especially for roles related to content creation and digital marketing.
For most traditional professional roles though, LinkedIn skill badges remain the primary digital credential valued by recruiters. Facebook, Twitter and other social media badges have limited impact at this time.
Should you pay for LinkedIn Premium badges?
LinkedIn offers some additional “premium” badges and features to paying members who upgrade to its Premium and Recruiter accounts. This includes badges designating the account type like “LinkedIn Premium” or “Open for Business”.
Premium account holders can also take free Skill Assessments to earn badges that would otherwise require a LinkedIn Learning subscription. However, paying simply to display a Premium badge is not necessary.
While the Premium and Open for Business badges may get slightly more visibility, their impact on recruiting is marginal. The most important element is still having skill badges relevant to your profession, rather than the type of account.
Shelling out money solely to get premium badges generally won’t provide a significant return on investment for most job seekers. Focus instead on engaging meaningfully on the platform to earn substantive skill and certification badges.
In conclusion, many recruiters do pay attention to LinkedIn badges when vetting candidates, seeing them as credible indicators of skills and qualifications. Not all badges hold equal weight though – badges linked to in-demand skills, influential credentials, organizations and training tend to matter most.
Job seekers can maximize their profile’s effectiveness by strategically earning and displaying the most relevant LinkedIn skill badges aligned with their target job path and industries. While other social media badges are emerging, LinkedIn badges remain the gold standard digital credentials valued by hiring managers and recruiters.