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Guide to Being Found by Recruiters on LinkedIn (LinkedIn SEO)

By Susan P. Joyce

Guide to LinkedIn SEO - How to Be Find-able on LinkedIn

Over ninety percent of recruiters search LinkedIn for people who are qualified for their job openings. Most of us want our LinkedIn Profiles to appear in recruiters' search results, even when we are not actively searching for a new job.

Through LinkedIn, your next job may find you, if you understand and implement LinkedIn SEO ("search engine optimization") effectively. When you have successfully implemented LinkedIn SEO, you can easily be found by recruiters searching for someone with your qualifications.

Ideally, you will be visible much higher in those search results than your competitors, and you won't need to apply for your next job.

In addition to job offers, other common reasons to be easily found on LinkedIn are to be visible to new potential clients and members of your network as well as to old friends and colleagues

These are LinkedIn's reasons for existing, a giant online rolodex on steriods. LinkedIn's primary revenue stream is LinkedIn Recruiter, the service used by recruiters access to LinkedIn's 500+ million member database. If your Profile cannot be found on LinkedIn, you have a serious problem, unless your career requires invisiblity (spy?).


How Recruiters Search LinkedIn

To better understand the LinkedIn sourcing search results concept, think about how you search online job boards for job postings. You go to a website ( Indeed, CareerBuilder, etc.), and enter a series of keywords. You may also click on an industry or job function from a drop down box. Then, you then get presented with a series of job listings.

Do you click on all of the search results? Likely not. Instead, you only click on those that catch your eye and are most relevant. You probably pay more attention to the listings on the first page, some attention on the second page, and may not even consider looking at the entries on pages 3, 4, etc.

Recruiters search for and choose job candidates in a very similar way. To search through a database of resumes or job candidate profiles, they type their keywords into a search box, possibly clicking on some options like industry, location, or other criteria.

Then, they scan the search results, and click on those entriesthat are most appealing and relevant to the jobs they are filling.

After more reviews and, usually, a Google search on candidate names, they reach out to the candidates to begin the hiring process. [Read Managing Your Google Resume for more on how to succeed in this part of the process.]

Typically, like everyone who does an online search, recruiters pay the closest attention to the first page of search results, with less attention paid to the second and subsequent pages. Your appearance on the first few pages of results is very important to your visibility to recruiters.

More on how sourcing works: Get "Sourced" to Get Hired and How to Find Jobs Working With Recruiters, Head Hunters, and Staffing Firms.

What Recruiters Are Seeking on LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers many options for recruiters to find job candidates, and many recruiters also search outside of LinkedIn for LinkedIn membersYou need your name and your LinkedIn Profile to appear high up in the search results on LinkedIn when a recruiter does one of these typical searches:

  • Your name

    They have your business card, your application or resume, or you have come to their attention some other way, and they are checking you out.
  • Your profession/job title

    They are searching for professionals like you who may be qualified for their opening. Note that they do NOT search on the term "professional" (as in "marketing professional"). Rather, they search on the job's actutal title or the job title of the person who would be qualified for their job (e.g. "inbound marketing manager").
  • Your skills

    They are searching for someone with the skills required for their opening. LinkedIn has made this easier by adding a section called "Skills and Endorsements." You can be endorsed only by your first level connections, and each member can have a maximu of 50 Skills.
  • Your current (or a former) employer

    They are searching for someone who works or has worked for a specific employer.
  • Your location

    They are searching for someone who is "local" for them. If you would like to relocate, use your target location in your LinkedIn Profile to attract employers in that area.
  • Your college degree(s) and certification(s)

    They are searching for someone who has been taught the knowledge and skills required for their opening.

If an entry for you doesn't appear on the first page (preferably) or the first two or three pages of search results, you are invisible because, typically, few people look past the first page.

NEXT: Improve Your Ranking in LinkedIn Searches in 10 Steps

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.


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