Help Me Help You

By Matt Kerr, Vice President Search Operations, Executive Search – Kensington International

There are more than 500 million LinkedIn profiles, but how many of them are “searchable” or reflect a personal branding statement? Having a LinkedIn profile that isn’t searchable is the same as having a commercial website to sell products that is not search engine optimized (SEO) and cannot by found by Google or Bing (no site traffic, no visitors).


Tom Cruise said in his 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire, “Help me help you.” Recruiters want to connect the right people with the right opportunities. When searching LinkedIn, recruiters, sourcers and search firm researchers use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT, etc.) and KEY WORDS to narrow the potential candidate pools that they identify. KEY WORDS they look for are typically nouns, not verbs. These KEY WORDS tend to be titles, industry jargon, functional vernacular as well as those that describe operational scope or size.

Most every field within a LinkedIn profile is searchable by keyword by LinkedIn users. The graphic shows several fields within a profile where key word optimized sentences can be placed. The Summary and Position Description fields allow for the most use specified characters.

Is your LinkedIn profile optimized for increased “searchability”?

Working through a “Listening To The Market” exercise may help. This is a multiple step research and matching process that involves:

  • ┬áListening to the marketing
  • Analyzing data
  • Identifying recurring themes for employer wants and needs
  • Matching and aligning experience and expertise to identified themes
  • Transferring the research to create a market ready profile

One method of listening to the market is to utilize a vertical job search engine such as Indeed to find posted positions on the internet. By gathering a sampling of positions and analyzing them, recurring themes can be identified. These often include industry terms, standardized job titles and detailed terms within functional experience requirements.

Here is an example of a non-optimized profile entry for a human resources generalist at William Wrigley Company.

An optimized profile might instead contain a more traditional job title and be more descriptive. Here is an example:

By utilizing a paragraph that describes the company, as well as a second paragraph that restates the current title and describes scope and responsibility, a sentence structure be developed that includes heavy use of both industry and functional vernacular. Keep in mind key words (nouns) will be driving the query. Review your profile for the usage of nouns. Less searchable profiles tend to have low noun counts. Rewording your sentences to ensure they contain keywords might just be the differentiator needed to bring you more to the forefront of search queries conducted by talent seekers who are often reviewing hundreds of profiles.

Make it Easy for the Recruiter to Connect With You

Edit your account settings on LinkedIn to include your name and email address under the box “What advice would you give to users considering connecting with you.” You may wish to create an email address that is specific to LinkedIn for this purpose. Corporate Talent Acquisition, Executive Search Consultants and Researchers with LinkedIn Recruiter versions of LinkedIn can see this information. If you decide to include a different email address, make sure that you visit the setting section of LinkedIn and add this different email address as a secondary email that is verified and associated with your LinkedIn account.

“Help me help you” by creating a robust, searchable profile that contains key descriptors reflective of your background, industry and scope of experience.