Keywords in your LinkedIn profile can mean the difference between appearing in the top of LinkedIn’s results and several pages deep. Keyword placement and density can also help you move to the top of the search results.
However, some people stuff keywords in their LinkedIn profiles thinking it will boost their profiles. And some use too many different keywords, which dilutes the results. Both approaches can work against them as it looks like they’re gaming the system.
The smart way to use keywords is to identify the ones that describe what you do and what are most important to your career. Then, list keywords people use to find someone with your skills. How do you differ from everyone with the same job title and keywords? Jot those down. Find a balance of words that describe you while having some uniqueness.
Once done, do these four steps to post your keywords in your profile:
- Create your LinkedIn headline.
- Review your summary.
- Check your experience.
- Add keywords to your interests.
1. Create your LinkedIn headline.
Beginning with your headline, ensure it displays more than your current job title and company. Put the keywords in order of importance. (Do this for all sections.) Keywords can include job titles, roles, skills, experience, value offered to employer, certifications and so on.
Here are some examples:
- President & CEO, Company Builder, Investor, Business and Corporate Development, M&A. This lists the individual’s role plus areas of expertise.
- Seasoned Improvement, ISO, Lean professional in high tech/auto/mfg/e-Waste/CDP implementation. This individual works in process improvement and lists industry specialties.
- Software Developer | Technical Writer | Editor-in-Chief | Team Coach | Space Science Journalist | Lecturer. This individual has a diverse background and these keywords make it easy to understand what the person can do.
- Sr. Software Engineer/Systems Analyst. Embedded Real-Time Firmware, Problem Solving, Troubleshooting. This headline describes the person’s role and includes the person’s most important and strongest skills.
- Keynote speaker, digital marketing expert, board member. This person makes it clear the person is available to speak, do digital marketing consulting and sit on a board as an advisory board member.
2. Review your summary.
If you’ve filled in “Summary,” revisit it to see if it contains your important keywords. The summary tells your professional story without the constraint of talking about a specific job you held. Here, sum up your career and skills.
3. Check your experience.
Go over your “Experience” and ensure your keywords appear there and as often as possible, within reason and where it makes sense.
4. Add keywords to interests.
When you enter keywords in “Interests,” LinkedIn turns them into links. So it won’t be the place to write sentences describing your professional and personal interests. Again, list them from most important to least.
When you’re done, review your LinkedIn profile as if it belongs to someone else. If anything bothers you, revise it until it passes the test. Better yet, ask a few friends and colleagues to review your profile and provide feedback.
Please share your suggestions for using keywords in a LinkedIn profile in comments.