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Keywords are the driving force behind HR and executive recruiter searches, and thus they are critical to developing an effective and highly productive LinkedIn Profile. The competitive nature of the employment environment makes it essential for you to set yourself apart from the competition. On LinkedIn, the number of keyword hits you receive will affect how your profile is ranked during recruiting searches.

 

Increase your visibility by including the right keywords.



I recommend reviewing several positions that you find of interest for the next step of your career. Identify the keywords within the postings and collect a list of the required and preferred competencies. Align your competencies with your strengths.
 
Prioritize the competencies that you wish to focus on in your next position. For example, if you prefer working in business integrations and divestitures, use keywords Mergers & Acquisitions. Alternatively, if you thrive on creating and developing new organizations, use keywords Startup & Growth Situations.

 

Integrate keywords throughout your profile.



The Skills & Endorsements section allows you to choose 50 relevant skills, but only 10 of those skills are immediately visible when someone views your profile. The remaining keywords are condensed. Therefore, to increase your visibility and candidacy, consider including a more comprehensive list within the Summary section under a “Specialties” header. I also recommend providing a “Selected Skills” listing under each position below the brief job description.
 
As a Master Resume Writer, I know the importance of including achievements on your executive resume and in your LinkedIn profile. As you write your achievements, include keywords that correspond with the job postings and accurately convey your accomplishments. For example, an achievement bullet might state, “Generated 17% sales revenue growth via corporate merger and product line and portfolio rationalization.” The keywords in this sentence include Sales Revenue Growth, Merger, and Product Line & Portfolio Rationalization. Summarize the achievements focusing on the keywords you’ve identified.

 

Make sure your profile accurately portrays your leadership and abilities. 


 
The Headline and Summary sections of your LinkedIn profile are extremely important because they are the first (and perhaps only) section that will be seen by the executive recruiter. For the Headline, include your current or desired title in addition to one or two primary keywords. This strategy will help improve your keyword search due to an algorithm in the search system. Example: Vice President of Sales – New Business Development / Market Penetration & Growth. There are 120 characters available within this section, including spaces.
 
In the Summary section, you have 2,000 characters to quickly highlight your executive brand, leadership style, and a few of your career-defining achievements.Note the phraseology while you are reviewing the job postings.  You might see “highly analytical, decisive, and focused” as examples of descriptors of the ideal candidate. Consider this while developing your introduction, and recognize that it is the first impression of you that the recruiter will receive. What do you want to convey as the snapshot of your professional leadership?

 

Create a great first impression.


 
Though it is not keyword related, I must emphasize the importance of using a professional head-shot photo on your LinkedIn Profile. Once the profile is visible you don't want to lose an opportunity provided by keyword optimization because of an omitted photo, a poor-quality photo, or a picture that is unprofessional. This is your virtual first impression.
 
LinkedIn may be even more important than your resume because it is often your first introduction to a recruiter or employer. With the right keywords, your profile will attract the right attention. A profile that is well written and includes powerful achievements will keep readers on your page. Don’t overlook the importance of both keyword optimization and good writing!

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