How To Get Noticed By A Recruiter On LinkedIn
You might have heard that you need to be on LinkedIn and are wondering how to get noticed. Or you have a LinkedIn profile and are wondering why no recruiters ever reach out to you. LinkedIn has been around since 2002 and is considered a business and professional social media site. It has 590 million registered members and the vast majority of its revenue comes from selling access to its member's information to recruiters and sales professionals. LinkedIn also allows employers to post jobs. If you are not using LinkedIn effectively, you are potentially missing out on a great networking tool that could make your job search more targeted and shorter.
What is LinkedIn Recruiter and how do recruitment professionals use it?
LinkedIn Recruiter is a product that is sold to staffing agencies, recruiters and corporations. LinkedIn Recruiter is pricey, listing at nearly $10k for a year’s worth of access (there is a cheaper version, Recruiter Lite, that gives more limited access), but it provides access to all LinkedIn user profiles. People looking for talent can use search criteria to view the profiles of the members and have the ability to send something called an InMail through the system. Recruitment professionals use LinkedIn Recruiter for both active and passive searches. According to US News and World Report, 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a source to find candidates.
So how specifically do recruitment professionals do searches? They do a search of keywords relevant to the type of position that they are looking to fill. LinkedIn has a guided search feature that allows a recruiter to enter a job title, and the software will provide a choice of job titles that might be a good fit. The guided search also allows the recruiter to enter a location and desired skills from a drop down. The software will then look through a users profile, including headline, summary and experience areas, for those specific search terms. Recruiters can also use the profile of an ideal candidate to compare to other profiles or do a Boolean search and enter specific modifiers to find potential candidates. As you can see, if you do not have the right keywords in your profile, you significantly lower the chance that you will show up in these searches.
How do you optimize your LinkedIn profile to get noticed by recruiters?
When you are setting up your profile on LinkedIn, it is important to keep in mind the keywords that are important for the type of job and industry you want to work in. There are several ways to discover the important keywords for your particular job search.
Look at your own job description or for the type of job that you want. What words stick out?
Read job postings of jobs that you are interested in pursuing. Which words jump out at you?
What type of words do you find in industry journals or research in your field?
As an example, if you are pursuing an accounting role, you would want some if not all of these words featured multiple times in your LinkedIn profile:
Accounting Controls, Accounting Systems, Audit or Auditing, Budget or Budgeting, Cash Flow, Compliance, Cost Accounting, Credit, Financial Planning and Reporting, Income Tax, Internal Controls, Payroll, Mergers and Acquisitions or M&A, Profit and Loss or P&L, Revenue, Sales Tax
Notice that there could be a slight variation in a term. In the list is “Audit” and “Auditing”. One is a noun and the other is a verb. Make sure that you include both types of words, as you do not know which word might be used in a keyword search. Additionally, you should also use words and acronyms. In my list is both “Mergers and Acquisitions” and “M&A”, both common terms used in the industry.
How do you make a powerful, searchable headline?
A proper headline is very important in order to be found by recruiters on LinkedIn. You have 120 characters to put in the most powerful keywords in the most visible space on your whole LinkedIn profile. While no one knows the specific LinkedIn search algorithm, it is common knowledge that what you put in this area may be the most important for coming up on a LinkedIn search. So what is the right an wrong way? Let’s start with the wrong way.
Using the LinkedIn default
LinkedIn, by default, will set your headline as your most recent job title from the experience section and the company where you work. You will typically see something like this:
Project Manager at Acme Corporation
Your title doesn’t tell much about what you do as it is too broad. It also does not give any indication of your skills. I call this a “yawner” and not particularly helpful.
2) Using generic terms to describe your work
I see quite a few people that have changed the default LinkedIn headline, but they have not made it better because of a lack of specifics. As an example, here is a typical type of headline that is seen all over LinkedIn that does not help you come up in searches.
Experienced finance leader
The above headline uses two terms that most recruiters would not use in a search, “experienced” and “leader”, and if searching for someone with a finance background, they would likely be using more specific terms specific to finance.
3) Using the term “unemployed” or “#ono”
Currently unemployed looking for next opportunity
It does not really help to advertise that you are unemployed in your headline. That might be the case, but the headline is precious space, and you want to put words in it that will help you come up in a search. Recruiters would rarely search using the word “unemployed.” “#ONO” is a recent term some have been using and is short for “open to new opportunities.” Again, you may be open to a job change, but recruiters would not be using a search of “#ONO” to find you, they will be looking for keywords.
Now here is an example of a better way to resent yourself:
Sales Manager with 10+ years of inside/outside experience, enterprise and channel development in software and tech
This headline has a title, years of experience, keywords, and industries. All words that are commonly searched in the sales area. This headline is very descriptive and gives a recruiter a good idea of your areas of expertise.
Your location is important as well for recruiters to know
Most recruiters will have as part of your search your location. This makes sense, as searching locally for talent is preferred. In your profile, you have fields for zip code (if in the US) and location. Recruiters can choose to search on a zip code, in which case they will be asked the radius based on miles from the zip code that they want to search. You also can add a location. You can choose a specific city or a metropolitan area. If you live in a larger metropolitan area, it may be best to use that location, as a recruiter might want to cast a pretty wide net for candidates.
If you are looking to relocate to a specific area, put the zip code of that location and the location on your profile, even if you have not relocated yet. If you are looking to move to Dallas, it is unlikely that a recruiter looking to fill a position in Dallas would be doing a search keying in the zip code or a location of Chicago.
Job titles in the experience area are important, too!
How you write your title in the experience area may play a role in how you are found in search results. If a recruiter is searching on a particular title, you may not come up if your work title is an uncommon variance of that title. As an example, if your title is VP of Customer Happiness, it is unlikely that a recruiter would search on that particular title, as it would be an uncommon title for the industry. What you could do, instead, is put your title as follows in the experience area:
VP of Customer Happiness (Customer Service)
That way your profile would more likely come up in search results. Just make sure that whatever title you have on LinkedIn aligns with what you put on your resume. Any discrepancy will be a red flag to a recruiter.
Use the keywords for the job/industry throughout your summary
When writing your summary, it is important to tell your individual story. You want to summarize your work career and add details about what you like to do and are passionate about. Within this narrative, you want to sprinkle in the keywords that are important for the position and industry that you want to work in. You want to aim to repeat keywords two to three times throughout your profile, and here is a great place to do this. Just be careful that you do not do something that is called “keyword stuffing.” This is an attempt to “game” the system by putting in words that will make the algorithm show your profile higher in search results. This is especially frowned on by recruiters and tends to be readily apparent when reading a profile. Be mindful of including your keywords in your narrative but don't overdo it.
The skills and endorsements area is important. Do not overlook it.
Lower down on the profile and often overlooked is the skills and endorsements area. This area allows you to select applicable skills from a long list that LinkedIn provides. Only three of these are immediately visible on your profile but you can have as many as 50 skills on your profile. Remember, with the LinkedIn Guided Search, recruiters can pick skills as part of their search. That is why this area is so important. Choose skills that match the keywords you know are relevant. This is a quick way to up the number of keywords you have on your profile and be searchable for recruiters.
How can you tell if your LinkedIn updates are working?
Ok, so now you know what to do. Spend 30 minutes to an hour revamping your LinkedIn profile with my tips, and you should become more visible to recruiters. How will you know if your updates are working? LinkedIn has a feature called “Weekly Search Appearances.” This can be found in your profile area and below your summary. Here you can see who has viewed your profile, post views, and the number of search appearances that you have appeared in. When you click on the blue link in the Search Appearance area, you will see information about where your searchers work, their title (look especially for the percentage of Recruiters), and the keyword your searchers used. Click on the link in the “Who viewed your profile” area. You are provided with a nice little chart that shows the number of views of your profile over a 90-day period. You also can see the names of those that have looked at your profile if they have not made themselves anonymous when doing a search. Additionally, you will also see an area that tells you the number of people with the job title Recruiter that have looked at your profile. Those people will likely be recruiters that saw your profile from a search. If you starting to see that your profile is getting more views from recruiters, you will know that your tweaks have been successful.
A little knowledge about how LinkedIn works can be powerful. Knowing what to do to make your profile more visible to recruiters can up the odds that you will be contacted for a great job opportunity!