How do executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at your target companies find good-fit candidates like you?
In a word . . . keywords.
They go to the LinkedIn search engine and type in various relevant keywords and phrases that match the kinds of candidates they’re seeking.
All of the content in your LinkedIn profile should contain the most-searched relevant keywords specific to your targets, and supporting your executive brand and the value you offer them.
But the content in certain sections – typically those that sit higher on the web page containing your profile – rank higher with LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
Strategically placed, the right keywords elevate your search rankings in LinkedIn’s search engine, increasing your profile’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the likelihood you’ll be found and considered by them.
I’m not including the Summary section in my “Top 3″, because most people seem to know that they need to load keywords into that section.
I’m focusing here on 3 LinkedIn profile sections that people rarely use to their best advantage.
3 Key Spots to Add Select Keywords for an Optimally SEO-friendly LinkedIn Profile
1. LinkedIn Name Field
You may not realize that, along with your actual name, you can add a total of 40 characters in the name field for your last name, which allows most people enough room to add a bit more.
This is a great place to add in any relevant certifications that people are likely to search to find candidates like you.
If you fit the actual name of the certification, go with that. Otherwise (and if you want to put several certifications there), use the acronyms.
2. LinkedIn Professional Headline
If you haven’t changed the default headline LinkedIn automatically populated for that spot, you’re not making the best use of that prime real estate.
You can pack quite a punch with the 120 characters allowed. Use as many of the characters as you can, while keeping the headline comprehensible. More relevant keywords = more likelihood your profile will be found.
This is not the place to put phrases like “Open to Network” or “Seeking Opportunities in XYZ”. They use up precious space for keywords.
Here’s an example of a keyword-rich professional headline:
Senior Project, Program Manager – Process Design, Financial Analysis, IT & Data Systems, Risk Exposure, Six Sigma, Agile
3. LinkedIn Job Titles
Of course, you must use the same job title on your profile that you’ve used on your resume and elsewhere, to avoid sending up red flags that you’re exaggerating or misrepresenting yourself.
But LinkedIn allows 100 characters here, so you can add relevant keywords to each actual job title.
For example, this job seeker’s actual job title at one company is:
Senior Technical & Business Project Manager
But he can add a few choice keywords to improve SEO:
Senior Technical & Business Project Manager – Capital Markets Risk Management, MBS Disclosure
Be aware that LinkedIn may change the functionality or usage regarding the “Top 3” I’ve noted here, so check the Help pages for updates.