How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Search
As a recruiter LinkedIn for me is not a social network anymore. It is more of a daily tool that nearly all recruiters use to find qualified candidates. A survey by jobvite.com found that 93% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to find you.
Considering that there are 200 million registered LinkedIn member’s on LinkedIn as of January, 2013 it is becoming harder and harder to be found.
Let’s simply do a small test to demonstrate this problem
- Go to LinkedIn.com
- Click on Advanced Search right beside the search bar
- Enter in your city + your Job Title
- Look at the total search results
Amongst all these results how come one person LinkedIn profile is displayed 1st on while another could rank 2000?
The answer is keyword optimization; a few simple steps could easily place your profile on the first page. If you can achieve this you will get more recruiters and hiring managers to click on your profile. The results will be more phone calls, more messages and more opportunities to shorten your job search.
Now that you know how to create a LinkedIn profile; Let’s quickly go through the steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile for search
How to optimize a LinkedIn profile for search
In order to optimize our LinkedIn profile for search we first must gain a good understanding of how recruiters and hiring mangers find us. Most recruiters use keywords to uncover candidates, they do this by stringing a few keywords together. It is very much like how one would use Google to order pizza for example.
If you wanted to order a pizza, you wouldn’t simply type in pizza into Google. This would bring up all kinds of irrelevant results. You would most likely narrow down your search by city, by proximity to your location and if you have done this before then you will also type in the pizza company name.
Your search might look like this
Favorite pizza company + “near” “your zip code” or “street address”
Recruiters essentially do the same thing. For example if I wanted to find an Account manager, I would also use a few keywords to find the right person. Looking for people takes up a lot of time so most recruiters will be very specific with their searches. My search might look something like this
Account manager + Sales + Salesforce + BA
This would get me closer to what I was looking for and would display results with people who have a Bachelor degree, have held the title “account manager”, have done sales before and know how to utilize sales-force software to keep track of their accounts.
How to uncover which keywords recruiters use to find you
In order to optimize our profile we must uncover the keywords that are most closely associated with our profession.
If you are sales person for example you will want to list keywords like
“sales”, “prospecting”, “cold calls”, “sales goals”, “type of sales you did”, “salesforce”, “btb” etc.
The easiest way to do this is to simply do a few searches utilizing a broad keyword like sales manager for example and look at the LinkedIn profiles that display first.
Go though the top 10 results and try to notice which keywords are used most commonly for your position and write all the relevant keywords down.
How to Optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords
Now that we have a strong list of the keywords we need to use we can get to work.
Here are all the places where the keywords should be displayed prominently.
1) LinkedIn Headline
For our sales person this section could look like this
Account Manager, Salesforce expert, and Sales Manager
2) LinkedIn Profile Summary
This section is our next place where to optimization can take place. We are allowed exactly 2000 words to use. Again many people leave this space completely blank or they write a summary which does little to improve their search rankings.
We don’t want to just stuff our keywords in but want to sue them predominantly in our text. It should at the very least be readable and make sense.
Our sales person would write sentences that are structured like this
“Achieved 20% increase in Sales while building long lasting relationships with major sales accounts”. Utilized Salesforce on a daily basis to generate prospecting lists etc.
The more we use our keywords the better it will be, however do keep in mind that you are writing for a real person. If what you write does not make sense then keyword stuffing will really hurt your chances.
Our previous or current job title holds lots of weight when it comes to appearing in search results. We can use this are to our advantage by using multiple titles
Example: Company Name: Account manager and Salesforce Expert
Naturally is our next step is to use our keywords in our job descriptions as well. We want to list all the tools, software, and skills that one would look when trying to find a candidate.
Complete the same steps for all of your jobs. I would also advice to integrate our keywords even for the jobs that we did not use them.
Lets say that you held a part-time job as an administrative assistant. Here I would also use the words “sales” and “account manager”. You can simply state “Provided support to sales team and account management staff”. We simply want to make things look natural but do keep in mind that if a keyword is used in all of our past experience it will naturally improve our ranking.
To make the most of our skill section we want to use very specific skills that are relevant to our industry. If you are a programmer you want to use any and every program you have used in the past or have knowledge of.
To continue with our sales person example, we want to get very specific. If It was a product we sold then we can list a skill as “Automotive Sales” or “IT infrastructure sales” etc. Be specific and make sure to not to skip any of the obvious choices for example sales, prospecting etc.
Some keywords may seem common sense but remember that search engines are an algorithm, they do not understand common sense. A sales manager is assumed to know how to prospect or do cold calling but the search engine does not. Do not neglect the obvious keywords
Many people tend to skip this section or they list their actual hobbies. Recruiters and hiring mangers could care less about your hobbies. Instead we should use this space to optimize as well.
Our sales person could write something like: Reading Sales Literature, Studying Account Management Techniques, Attending Sales Conferences,
Keep in mind that the way one appears in search can always change over time. LinkedIn may decide to focus more on your skills instead of your titles for example to rank profiles. We always want to stay up on the trends and do some testing on our end.
Type in your keywords and see how you rank. Optimize and do it again. Over time you will find out what works and what doesn’t work.
One good way to gauge performance is to simply check how many people have viewed your profile. If this number keeps increasing then you have done a good job optimizing.
Now that recruiters and HR can find your profile its time to actually use it to network, learn how to network on LinkedIn
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