It is common knowledge that recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates for their job openings. Last year alone there were billions of searches to find people to fill their jobs. Here are a few tips to help you expedite being found on LinkedIn.
1. How recruiters search for you. They start with job title, zip code, and then keywords (they will put in about 7). These keywords are words you want to show up in your profile. When they search using these 7 keywords, they get back 2-4 people that match all 7. They do not want to get back a large list because they don’t have time to search through a lot of people. The 3 or so people that do show up in their search are on the short list. When they find these people they call to recruit them for an interview with their company.
2. Employee referral programs. Some companies are using employee referral programs where they encourage employees to help them find candidates for their job openings. The incentive is a bonus to the employee who recommends the person who is hired. LinkedIn is a convenient tool to use to find people to fit their organization’s needs.
Hiring managers and employees search LinkedIn differently than recruiters. They put the title and zip code (they don’t use keywords initially) and scroll through the results until they find people that fit. They usually only scroll down 1-2 pages.
3. Keyword research. If you are missing any one of the 7 keywords in your LinkedIn profile that recruiters are looking for, you will not show up on the short list. To stack the deck in your favor, you need to know what keywords might be searched. Go to the source where the recruiters come up with the words – the job descriptions. Analyze those descriptions for jobs you are seeking and soon you will notice themes or repeated words/phrases throughout those descriptions.
Another way to research keywords is to use word clouds. It’s easy with Wordle.net – just pull up job descriptions and paste it into word cloud. Within a minute the tool creates the cloud. The biggest words that show up are the most important. The goal is to pull out 2-4 new words. Just putting 20 new words into your profile could be enough to be found.
4. Keyword strategy. To show up at the top of the list on LinkedIn you need to have a good strategy in place. Start with your #1 desired job title. In your profile, after your name, use a 4-word title/phrase such as VP Marketing, Software, Branding. The combination of these 4 words should include (if possible) an industry word and a specialty word. No need to use “of,” and you can also use VP instead of Vice President. The LinkedIn algorithms are smart and accept abbreviations. This 4-word phrase allows you to rank higher on LinkedIn. Resist the temptation to use more than 4 words – the LinkedIn search engine really only likes the 4-word phrase.
5. Keywords skills. Search LinkedIn for skills to verify what people are searching for and then take those skill keywords and put them into strategic places in your profile: summary, tag line, current job title, past title, and specialties sections.
Of course, any job search should have a well-balanced approach, utilizing many forms of networking. LinkedIn is an important tool to add to your job search networking action plan.