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6 Ways to Keyword-Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile


Simply setting up a LinkedIn profile is not enough to get you hired nowadays, given the sheer numbers of qualified candidates. If you want to learn how to stand out in the crowd, then follow these six easy steps below to help you get discovered online!

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(Photo Credit: Coletivo Mambembe/Flickr)

As the job market begins to recover from the devastation of one of the worst economic downturns in American history, hiring managers and recruiters are now hungry to fill new job positions and are turning to social media to find candidates.

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What does this mean for professionals? It means it’s time to stop being lazy and actually put forth some effort to get your social media self together if you ever want to get hired! Here are six easy ways to keyword-optimize your LinkedIn profile and get recruiters knocking on your inbox’s door.

1. Headline – This section of your profile will be displayed directly under your name, where most people list their professional title. You can also use the headline area to list variations of your title to better the chances of your profile ranking higher in search results. For example, instead of just putting “Operations Consultant” consider also including “Operations Manager, Processes Specialist, Organizer” in order to broaden the spectrum of searchable titles for your qualifications.

Note: Think of it as a matching game, in a sense, where you are trying to figure out what words or phrases hiring managers will be using during their search for someone with your credentials and qualifications on LinkedIn. You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner (formerly Google Keywood Tool) to help identify other variations of keywords or phrases to ensure that you’re covering all bases for potential search terms that recruiters may use. 

2. Summary – This is probably the most important and most scanned portion of a LinkedIn profile – it’s the section where you’re allowed to be free with your words and not be confined by a template of start/end dates and drop-down menus. Use this space to convey YOUR message and incorporate keywords that relate to your industry, passions, and experience. The summary section is your selling point, so use it wisely and make a good impression.

3. Job Title – You don’t have to limit your job title to just one; get creative and incorporate industry-related keywords into variations of your title as well. But be cautious in how lengthy you make your job title and try to keep it to under five titles or one sentence long.

4. Experience – This is a no-brainer. The Experience section should be laden with keywords to effectively outline and highlight your professional qualifications. Remember to use natural language and try to use lists as much as possible, rather than typing out long, lengthy paragraphs. Also, it’s a good idea to steer clear from naming what duties and responsibilities (“answering phones and scheduling meetings”) you completed in the past, and focus more on accomplishments (“created and implemented administrative efficiencies”). Really, at some point in our careers, recruiters stop caring that you have experience answering phones and filing papers properly.

5. Skills – This is where you can list a plethora of skills and have them endorsed by others within your network. Adding new skills is a piece of cake, too. All you have to do is type in a keyword (“operations”) and a list of pre-existing skill sets pops up for you to choose from. You might want to make note of what pre-existing LinkedIn skills populate, because you can also use those throughout your profile.

4. Interests – Many people think of this section as a place to list things like “snowboarding, sewing, and fishing,” but don’t limit yourself to just that. Use the Interests section to incorporate keywords and outline your professional passions as well. For example, instead of listing “reading” as one of your interests, try to insert a keyword or two to optimize this phrase by listing it as, “reading up on operation strategies and efficiencies” or “catching up on the latest Harvard Business Review articles.” By incorporating industry-related keywords in this example, you not only optimize your profile, but you are able to convey exactly what type of reading you enjoy while highlighting a well-known publication. Win-win situation!

For ranking purposes, it’s quantity over quality, so you will want to incorporate as many keywords as you can to rank at the top of the search results, however, that doesn’t mean you can put a bunch of gibberish in your profile. Be smart about it.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you ensure that your LinkedIn profile stands out from the crowd? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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