Executive Job Search: How Recruiters and Employers Find Candidates on LinkedIn

by Meg Guiseppi on November 4, 2010

No doubt about it, LinkedIn is a fabulous networking and resource tool for job search. It offers so many features to actively uncover and pursue opportunities.

But LinkedIn also sits high on the list of best passive job search practices. A well-built 100% complete profile can be your ticket to landing high in search results for the thousands upon thousands of recruiters and employer hiring authorities who routinely scour LinkedIn to source best-fit candidates.

So, how do you make your profile search-friendly and attractive to key hiring decision makers?

According to executive recruiter Harry Urschel (@eExecutives on Twitter) in his essential post, A LinkedIn Profile That Works!, the key to being found on Linkedin is:

“Keywords – Keywords – Keywords!!! The only way anyone is found is by someone entering some keywords in the search box for what they are looking for.”

Social media and job search expert Marci Reynolds (@marcireynolds12 on Twitter) had this to say in her excellent Job-Hunt.org article, How to Be Found More Easily in LinkedIn (LinkedIn SEO):

“Recruiters search the LinkedIn database in a few different ways. Some of them use the free, “Advanced People Search” function available to all LinkedIn members. Some search members and activities within specific LinkedIn groups. And, many others are using a paid service called LinkedIn Recruiter  that provides significantly more search functionality.” (The demo video deserves a look.)

LinkedIn says this service for recruiters offers these benefits:

  • Widest search space available on LinkedIn delivers the most complete and relevant list of candidates’ names, along with complete profile details.
  • Dynamic refinements let you drill down precisely and quickly to the talent you need based on location, company, keyword, industry and more.
  • Up to 50 automatic search alerts proactively notify you of new candidates who fit your exact requirements.

Harry wants you to include these other critical components in your LinkedIn profile, to make recruiters want to reach out to you:

  • Keep your brand/ROI value statements short and to the point.
  • Put your phone number and email address in the Summary section.
  • Include a professional photo with close-up of your face.
  • Get at least 3-4 recommendations.

A few more pointers from Marci:

 If you put slashes between key words (“Global Commercialization/Sales & Marketing”), LinkedIn may not recognize each word separately. Instead, use either commas and a space or a vertical slash, as in “Global Commercialization | Sales & Marketing”.

→ Putting a fake job in the “current job” section (“Next Growth Oriented Company” or “My Next Job”) may negatively impact your search results and make a bad first impression on people reading your profile.

→ There’s a good chance that having a great number of connections will push your profile higher in search results.

And my further tips:

→ Get your most important keywords into your Professional Headline especially, but also in the Summary section. Search engines “notice” whatever lands above the fold, or the top of any web page, more than what lands below the fold.

→ Although it’s best to keep your paper or digital resume to no more than 2-3 pages, expand it for your LinkedIn profile and make use of all the space available for each section. Plenty of content means more relevant keywords and increased likelihood the right people will find your profile. You never know what words (or company names or industry names) they’ll search that will land them on your profile.

Related posts:

FREE E-book Second Edition: Executive Branding and LinkedIn Profiles

How to Get the Best LinkedIn Recommendations

Executive Job Search: Using LinkedIn’s Company Follow

LinkedIn: Best Tactic for Undercover Executive Job Search

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg Guiseppi April 1, 2011 at 8:08 am

Thanks for the lovely comment, Marie. Leveraging LinkedIn to build visibility and credibility for your business is much the same as using it for job search.

If you haven’t already, you can set up a company profile on LinkedIn, to supplement your personal profile, for even better visibility.


2 Marie Cruickshank April 1, 2011 at 6:00 am

Meg, thank you so much for this excellent and most informative article.I am looking for business and business people who would like to find me and use my services for personalized self drive holidays. These people are all very busy and don’t have time to surf the net and don’t know distances in Scotland or France so that is where we (all 1.5 of us!) come in as all is very bespoke. We are not the “big boys” but provide a quality hands on service.
Keep in touch!

3 Meg Guiseppi November 8, 2010 at 6:19 am

Hi Donna,

I’m glad you mentioned Twitter. I find that all too often, my c-level clients don’t see the value in leveraging Twitter, along with LinkedIn.


4 Donna Svei aka AvidCareerist November 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Hi Meg,

Great points! Your readers might also enjoy “12 Easy Tips to Help Recruiters Find You on Twitter.” Recruiters view both LinkedIn and Twitter as database. This post discusses the database “fields” recruiters are most likely to search on.

Thank you,


5 Meg Guiseppi November 5, 2010 at 8:45 am

Aren’t you kind, Marci!

Your Job-Hunt article was the impetus for this blog post. When you wrote it last year, I made a note to write a post around it, but it took nearly a year to get it! Thanks for providing the idea and critical information.


6 Marci Reynolds November 5, 2010 at 6:11 am

Meg.. this is an excellent compilation of ideas related to “being found on LinkedIn”. Thank you for quoting one of my prior blog posts. I am honored!

– Marci Reynolds

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