Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If yes, you have a lot of company! As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn has become the go-to place for jobs. Companies post jobs, job-seekers search for openings, and recruiters seek good matches. With hundreds of millions of members, that perfect match is just a matter of time, right? Maybe. I’ve been a LinkedIn member for many years, and my original profile was nothing more than an extension of my resume with a photo thrown in for good measure. But when I decided to pursue a new job, I realized I needed to optimize my searchability and increase my exposure. I want to share a few tips on one of the most powerful tools in the LinkedIn toolbox: keywords.
Virtually everything on your LinkedIn profile is indexed and searchable. Near the top of this index in ratings is your professional headline, which serves as your branding message and can be up to 120 spaces long. The default headline is your current job. In my previous profile, I had the generic “IT Teacher,” followed by my school name. My first step in optimizing my profile was to expand my headline to “IT Teacher, Software Developer, Web Designer, and AI Enthusiast.” By highlighting several of my technology-related roles and adding an interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), I increased my searchability in specialty areas where I have experience and an interest area I hope to pursue in the future.
Other LinkedIn areas where you can insert keywords are your Summary, Skills & Expertise, and Projects sections. In my original profile, the Summary section included generic excerpts from my resume. A re-write highlighted specific accomplishments while weaving keywords such as “Java” into the narrative. I also added “Python” to my Skills and Expertise section, and included “Trello” and “Microsoft Project” keywords in Projects.
Keywords increase your LinkedIn profile exposure and help you get noticed. For a more in-depth look at LinkedIn and other social media sites, visit the Walden University Career Services Center’s Networking and Branding tab and watch the webinar, Maximizing Social Media to Proactively Manage Your Career. When you are in a pool of hundreds of millions of networkers and job seekers, optimizing your profile is critical to your overall LinkedIn strategy. Keywords are a quick and effective way of upping your odds for that dream job!
Written by Martin Culberson, Walden DIT Student, Career Services Technology Graduate Assistant