LinkedIn Skills Alternatives (oh yeah, it's now "turned off", sorry.)

We loved LinkedIn Skills. It was probably the largest skills synonym database for business inteligence, synonym research and skill explanations on the web. And now it’s gone. According to LinkedIn:

So that’s rather annoying. You remember LinkedIn Skills of course – the one-pager gem that had the definition of the Skill you were researching, 20 similar or related skills to that skill, a snapshot of 5 key LinkedIn groups which had members with that skill, top global locations for that skill, and top employers of that skill.

We’ve spent the last few days pulling hair from heads, scouring the web and here’s what we’ve come up with as alternatives to get synonym ideas for your Boolean searches.

1. Wikipedia

Essentially we’re just following the recipe LinkedIn used. Researching the skill on Wikipedia will help to clarify the skill’s meaning, and often it contains similar skills.

2. LinkedIn Advanced Search

Conduct a search in LinkedIn Advanced Search to see the top employers of people with that skill. The nice thing here is that we can now refine it by location, which LinkedIn Skills didn’t do before. We can similarly see the top Universities that people with that skill attended too, again narrowed by location.

3. Google X-Ray Search plus a Word Cloud tool

This is a bit tricky for some of you, for our fellow Sourcers and Black Belters, no harm to you. So, conduct an x-ray search of LinkedIn, like:

site:linkedin.com -inurl:company -inurl:jobs “skills * expertise” [skill]

If you’re using a plugin like AutoPager (click here to get the plugin for Google Chrome, and here for the Firefox version), scroll to search for about 5 or 6 pages at once, CTRL + A to grab all text, CTRL + C to copy, and then paste the whole thing into TagCrowd (exclude common words like LinkedIn, Search etc), and you’ll get a pretty decent word cloud with great synonym ideas. Typically the most common words are the biggest, least common are the smallest. This helps you to see which words most relate to the skill you’re researching, and which common skills are also the most attained by your target market. Thanks to Balazs Paroczay and Irina Shamaeva for this tip.

4. TalentBin (really only for IT skills only though…)

TalentBin is actually a fantastic product in general – it’s an open-web search for potential candidates across the internet (as in, anywhere BUT LinkedIn), but it also gives you some great synonyms in its search databank. When you type in your skill, it’ll also give you a list of other related synonyms to this skill. Simply expand the synonyms to reveal the list, and jot those down as your synonyms for your Boolean search.

Certainly not an exhaustive list, but if you have any to add, tell us in the comments.

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