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5 Ways to Make it Easy for Recruiters to Find You on LinkedIn

This article was authored by Alyson Weiss and originally appeared on Alyson Weiss works for a career services nonprofit in Boston doing outreach and communications.


According to the 7th Annual Social Recruiting Survey by Jobvite, 95% of all recruiters and hiring managers search for candidates on LinkedIn. 79% have hired a candidate they found on LinkedIn.

But that doesn’t mean you can update your LinkedIn profile and then rest on your laurels – there’s a lot of competition out there! There are more than 300 million LinkedIn users and the job market, while recovering, is still tight. You need to strategically write your profile to maximize your chances of being found and to pass a recruiter’s six-second scan.

What recruiters look for on LinkedIn

According to Dan Stiffler, a sales recruiter and LinkedIn Recruiter Corporate account user since 2011, job seekers must meet five areas of qualification for a recruiter to consider them:

  • Can they find you? If you not show up in LinkedIn Recruiter search results, you cannot be considered a candidate.
  • Do you catch their eye? Recruiters who have a Talent Solutions premium account see a small snapshot version of the profiles of every job seeker who comes up in a search. The information recruiters see in the snapshot profile is similar to the information contained in the top box of your profile. Pretend you were a recruiter looking to fill a position you are qualified for. Based just on the information in the top box of your profile and your photo, would you click to learn more?
  • Are they able to view your full profile? If you have a basic, free LinkedIn account, you can only see the full profiles of your 1st and 2nd degree contacts. Luckily, most recruiters use some form of premium account. This gives them access to the full profiles of their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree contacts. However, if you are out of network (farther removed than three degrees), a recruiter will not be able to see your full profile and will move on. Therefore, it behooves you to expand your network. Keep in mind that not everyone appreciates receiving connection requests from people they have never met! Personalize your requests and expect some rejections.
  • Are you a good fit for the job? A recruiter will want to make sure your skills and experiences match the qualifications for the job. But remember: they spend an average of six seconds looking at your profile, so you need to make your qualifications immediately obvious! Some factors they may take into accounttodetermine fit (in order of importance) are: Professional experience, Length of professional tenure, Industry related posts, Mutual connections, Specific hard skills, Cultural fit, and Examples of written or design work
  • Can they contact you? To maximize how easy you are to reach, consider putting your email address in your Summary section AND in the “Advice for Contact [Name]” sections.

1 / 300 Million: How can recruiters find you on LinkedIn?

Though a lot of fuss has been made about the importance keywords have on your search results, Stiffler says keywords are actually only the 5th most important factor. The top five most important determinations of your search rankings are, in order:

  • Location
  • Job Title
  • Company
  • Industry
  • Keywords

While it may sound like the first four are out of your control, they may not have to be:

  • Location: Many recruiters set their advanced search to only bring up candidates living within a 25 mile radius of the company. If you live further than 25 miles from a major metropolitan area that you would be willing to commute to, consider changing your zip code on LinkedIn to locate you somewhere between your actual zip code and the major metropolitan area’s. This will allow you to be a viable candidate for both local and less-local jobs.
  • Job title: LinkedIn’s search engine is not smart enough to understand synonyms. If your job title is uncommon, you may consider a hybrid title, such as Marketing Ninja | Communications & Marketing Coordinator. If you have a multi-dimensional job, you may even consider breaking it down into its parts, such as Marketing Strategist | Communications Content Specialist | Event Planner. It is also important to have something listed as your current job on LinkedIn even when you are between jobs in order for you to be visible in searches.
  • Company:  If you work for an organization that often goes by its acronym, such as The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), you may want to include both the acronym and the written out name in your profile in the same way that I included both in this sentence. This will ensure that you show up for searches for both terms.
  • Industry: LinkedIn’s pre-determined industry choices leave something to be desired for many of us. The ONLY industry choice for the nonprofit industry is Nonprofit Organization Management! If you are not sure which industry you should choose for your profile, search for employers or colleagues in the field you would like to be in and choose the most commonly occurring one.
  • Keywords: Finally! We made it! Once you have optimized your opportunity to be found by criteria 1-4, it’s time to incorporate keywords. Choose 4-5 keywords that you see recurring in job descriptions you are interested in and embed them in several areas of your profile, including your headline, summary, experience, and skills.

In summary…

In order to stand out to recruiters on LinkedIn, you must:

  • Maximize your chances of being found by search engine optimizing your location, job title, company, industry, and incorporating keywords.
  • Make sure that once you are found, your snapshot profile convinces the recruiter to click to read your full profile, your experience and skills are obvious matches for the job even during a quick scan, and you are easy to contact.

But don’t let this information make you complacent! A successful LinkedIn strategy will involve active participation from the job seeker. Anyone who has ever attended one of my LinkedIn workshops knows that I call the belief that you can create a profile, never log on ever again, and wait for the jobs to magically come to you The Sleeping Beauty Myth. But that, my friends, is another post entirely.

Want more tips on using LinkedIn? Sign up for the Idealist Careers LinkedIn Boot Camp.