By now, the news has spread that 80 percent of recruiters look to fill openings through searching on LinkedIn.

Although I don’t think this is the best use for LinkedIn (sitting around waiting for a call), there is still a chance it could happen. So learning how to rank your profile for certain keywords is a worthwhile use of your time.

How Agency Recruiters Find You

During recruiter training, recruiters are taught to NOT use LinkedIn to search for LinkedIn profiles. They use Google’s advanced searching queries instead. Let me explain:

LinkedIn’s search algorithm often returns anonymous results, and it’s really not very sophisticated. Essentially, it counts the number of times the search term appears in a profile, and the profiles with more keywords win. As a consequence, people have started packing as many keywords as they can at the bottom of their profiles. It works – they rank. But they aren’t necessarily the best choices for recruiters.

Google’s search algorithm, on the other hand, simply overlooks keyword packing, and instead looks for “relevance” by finding the presence of keywords in five key areas of your profile:

  • Professional headline
  • The title of your current role
  • The title of your past roles
  • Summary statement
  • Specialties

For example, a recruiter might enter the following advanced search string into Google when looking for a CFO living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Try it yourself to see this in action: (inurl:pubORinurl:in) -intitle:directory -inurl:dir (controllerORCFO) “Charlotte, NorthCarolinaArea”

Make Your Profile Rank in 5 Easy Steps

  1. First, you need to know what keywords recruiters are using to find talent; read this article on finding job-related keywords to learn more. Identify the top five keywords that you want to be found by.
  2. Insert at least one of your top 10 keywords into each of the five key areas I mentioned above. This means you might not be able to be as cute in your headline. Sorry.
  3. Update your profile’s customizable URL so that it includes the BEST keyword. The end result will be:
  4. Be sure you have plenty of recommendations that contain your keywords.
  5. Be absolutely sure your profile is 100 percent complete and looks great. Watch this video for tip son how to polish your profile.

Why Paying for LinkedIn Will Help … A Lot!

If you are looking to get found on LinkedIn then there really is no way around this. You must get a paid account. Otherwise you are just half-assing the strategy. Here’s why:

  • Paid profiles will always rank higher when organizations post jobs. You essentially become a featured applicant.
  • You can turn on the “OpenLink” feature, which will allow other paid members to email you without depleting their monthly quota of In-Mails.
  • There are some third- party recruiting applications, such as Social Job-Search Matcher or Bullhorn Reach, who may look at this an indicator of your level of commitment.

Once you get your job, you can cancel the paid membership if you want to.

For more practical advice on winning your next job with LinkedIn, check out my new book, Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies.