With over 277 million members in 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is the undisputed powerhouse of professional social networking. In fact, last year an astounding 94% of recruiters acknowledged using LinkedIn to vet candidates. Despite the fact that it is one of the older social networks out there, LinkedIn continues to see sizeable growth year after year. Without a doubt, LinkedIn can be an incredibly valuable tool for both businesses and individuals.These sort of overview statistics are interesting, but, more importantly, how can you utilize the power of LinkedIn to advance your own career? One of the best places to start is by improving your rank in search results in order to get more exposure to recruiters or potential clients. You may not be aware of the fact that you can actually optimize your LinkedIn profile to help you show up higher in search results. However, the process is relatively simple and can have huge benefits over time. First of all, you want to make sure that you complete your profile. A profile that is 100% complete will show much higher in search results than one that is not complete. In addition, you should identify the most relevant keywords and then include those chosen keywords throughout your profile.
There are 4 main areas that are key to optimizing your LinkedIn profile for search:
- Profile Headline. Your profile headline is important for a number of reasons. First, it explains in a few words what it is that you do and how you do it, similar to a meta description. Secondly, it follows you everywhere you go on LinkedIn, including search results. Therefore, it is by far the most important field to optimize on your profile. However, you need to make sure that you use keywords that clients or recruiters would be using in their searches.
- Profile Summary. Your summary gives you an opportunity to tell readers who you are and what you hope to accomplish. While it is important to add keywords and related terms to your summary, you want to make sure that it still reads well for a human audience. You definitely don’t want to stuff your summary with your targeted phrase, because that would ultimately work against you.
- Job Title and Description. As long as you are truthful, your job description does not have to repeat the verbiage from your job offer letter. Your company may use different verbiage to describe your job than what has become the new industry standard. Since recruiters and hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to spend when reviewing job applicants or proposals, keep your description succinct.
- Your Connections and Group Memberships: The number of group memberships and the total number of connections in your network help to determine your ranking in LinkedIn’s search results. Make as many connections as possible, but don’t try to connect with complete strangers since that is considered bad form. However, joining relevant groups and connecting with a few LinkedIn Open Networkers in your industry can go a long way toward helping your search results ranking.
Although those four areas are most important, there are other profile areas that can be optimized to improve your search ranking. For example, recommendations that contain your keywords will also help. In addition, changing your LinkedIn Profile URL to include your name will also improve your search ranking and make it easier for people to find you on LinkedIn. Finally, completing the “Specialties” section underneath the Summary section will also allow you to use keywords in your profile that will boost your ranking.
Keep in mind that you want your LinkedIn profile to keep evolving over time. Continuing to fine tune it will give you the best results over time.