By Don Goodman
More than 85% of employers will "source" (find people to hire) through LinkedIn. There are now over 500 million people on the site, and this article will show you how to make sure that you show up in the searches relevant to your job search.
LinkedIn offers many opportunities to include appropriate keywords for your job search and career. It is smart to take advantage of that opportunity, given LinkedIn's popularity among recruiters.
Let's assume that you are an IT ("Information Technology") professional. Identify the 2-3 keywords that are most important to you. For example, if you are an Applications Developer, then you might want to have both Senior Programmer and Applications Developer as core keywords.
However, you can take this a step further by indicating your areas of specialization, so you might want to add "mobile applications" or "financial applications" to the list.
Be careful with management titles as a CIO in one firm is a Director in another, depending on the size of the firm, so use those titles only if it is the only one you want. A good tip is to include generic titles like: Senior IT Executive | VP IT | CIO.
To be sure you are using the best keywords for you, read How to Identify Exactly the Right Keywords for Your LinkedIn Profile.
Now your job is to get these keywords into your LinkedIn profile as much as you can. Having said that, there are certain parts of the profile that carry more weight.
Make sure the location in your LinkedIn Profile is accurate. Basic, but very important. Companies search for qualified candidates by geography, so make sure your location is correct - either your current location, or where you are planning to be located for your next job.
Probably the most important place to start is your Headline. Most people are not optimizing this as much as they should and there are a number of subtle tricks you can do here.
Here are 120 characters of prime real estate. You can have titles and/or a description of your talent. Beyond the keywords, you also want to communicate your key differentiators.
Some good examples include:
Sometimes you just want to stuff the same title in the headline as much as you can.
If you have /pub/ in your LinkedIn URL, then you MUST personalize it. Of course, you can try to get just your name, but with 500 million users, that is unlikely.
So, instead of having www.linkedin.com/in/johndoe1977 as your LinkedIn URL (which may be interpreted is signifying your birth year!), try --
Or, find some other reasonable variation, like with your Area Code or Zip Code added to the end (.../in/johndoemba10012). Just another way to get better keyword recognition and, in particular, if someone does a Google search for LinkedIn application developers in or near your Zip Code, you will be sure to show up.
Here you have up to 2,000 characters to describe your background, and you want to get these keywords in here as much as possible. There are a number of various theories about how to do a profile and my overall philosophy is that it should NOT be the same as your resume. Rather, it should be enough to express your value proposition and whet their appetite so they will want to call you.
Although LinkedIn eliminated the Specialties section they used to have, you can still include something similar in your Profile's Summary section, adding important and relevant keywords. This would look like:
Network Administration Tools
Cisco Network Administration
Windows Network Administration
Linux Network Administration
The LinkedIn Summary is often ignored or used minimally. Don't make that mistake! Read 5 Secrets to a Knockout LinkedIn Profile Summary for more ideas.
Another important area to drive keyword density is in your title and your experience description.
Important Tip: Don't skimp on the descriptions of your previous jobs!
Too many people include only the job title, employer name, and years of employment. WASTED OPPORTUNITY!
Again, as with the Summary, you have 2000 characters of space to use to describe each job you have held, so continue to emphasize the relevant experience you have that applies to your profession and the job you want next. List the technologies you used, the vendors you have experience with, your accomplishments, and the other details (keywords!) that a recruiter may be searching for.
IT Manager, Marketing and Sales Division, Managing US Systems, Example, Inc. 2009 through 2014
• Improved ability of sales team to identify prospects and place/track orders remotely by adapting Citrix tools to allow iPad access to CRM.
• Collaborated directly with the president and VP engineering to take over adjoining space to increase overall facility size by 50% in 2012, expanding remote connectivity for 50 employees including WiFi, VoIP, and VPN capabilities.
• Implemented server virtualization and SAN technology (using EMC's VNX and CLARiiON) resulting a reduction of physical servers by 33% while increasing overall server capacity by 50% in 2012.
• Used a vast array of additional tools and technologies including Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012R2, Exchange, tape libraries, VMWare, MS Hyper-V, Citrix XenApp, Active Directory, Group Policy, Cisco ASA, SonicWALL SSLVPN Appliance, and MS SQL
See all those great keywords -- and accomplishments -- included when this "old" job was described!
Important Tip: Even if your job title does not have your keyword in it, you can always add to it.
For example, if you are a senior user support specialist for a multi-national, you might want to add more to it as follows:
User Support IV, Senior Desktop & Technical Support, Global Systems
Or an IT project manager working with financial systems::
IT Project Manager and Business Analyst, SAP Financial Accounting Systems, Certified PMP and Six Sigma
Important Tip: If you are unemployed, make your current position look something like:
Position: Senior Network Administrator Experienced in Global Network Administration, AWS, and Cybersecurity
Company: the Next Career Opportunity
This will appear as Senior Network Administrator Experienced in Global Network Administration, AWS, and Cybersecurity at the Next Career Opportunity.
When you are in IT, you are often involved in major (and minor) projects. Sometimes these projects have official names, and more often they don't -- like the "fix the accounts receivables tracking" or some other informal name. Regardless of the name (or lack), describe these projects in the LinkedIn Projects section of your Profile.
Don't risk your job or any confidentiality contract you have with a current or former employer, but within those limits, make it clear what you have accomplished. Throw in the technical specifications and achievements that you are allowed to make public -- more great keywords.
For more information, read Grab Recruiter Attention with LinkedIn Projects.
Getting keyword optimization in LinkedIn is easy, and the impact is almost instantaneous. See how these tips help you get noticed.
Don Goodman is a triple-certified nationally recognized career professional (Expert Resume Writer, Certified Career Coach, and Job Search Strategist) with over 20 years of experience helping thousands of people quickly land their next job. A graduate of the Wharton School of Business and Stanford University’s Executive Program,