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SEO Your LinkedIn Profile for Greater Exposure


10/24/2011 3:41:39 PM

By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

We’ve praised LinkedIn's capabilities as a networking tool many times, and we’re not alone. It seems that almost every career-oriented website out there recognizes the value a LinkedIn profile and carefully built network can deliver when you’re hunting for your next job. It’s important that you’re maximizing the ways your profile can be found by recruiters and that means paying attention to SEO.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a technique that assists search engines (such as Google) in finding and ranking your website, blog or even LinkedIn profile. When you optimize your profile, you’re basically giving the search engines what they want –namely, relevant keywords. If a recruiter or hiring manager is searching for someone in your industry or with your qualifications to fill a position, these keywords increase the likelihood that your profile will appear in the search results.

Sounds complicated, right? Fortunately, for this application anyway, it’s really not. You just need to determine what keywords you want to target and then place them appropriately within your LinkedIn profile. Start by looking at your career objective and employment history from a recruiter’s perspective. What industry does this person work within? What position are they trying to fill? What skills would their ideal candidate possess? It may be helpful to search current job postings for positions of interest to you. What skills do they mention? What job title do they use?

Make a list of potential keywords. These will include your location, the industry or field you want to work within (for example, biopharma), the positions and job titles you would like to target, and skills you possess that are mentioned within similar job titles. Include variations on these keywords within your list as well, in case recruiters search by different yet related terms. For example, if you’ve held positions in sales and want to pursue another job as an account representative, you may want to include the keywords “sales representative,” “sales rep,” “account rep” and “account executive” somewhere within your profile as well.

Fortunately, a LinkedIn profile provides a great deal of opportunity to use keywords. You can use them within the summary, professional experiences and goals sections. You can use them when describing your past positions. Use keywords within the specialty section. Select relevant skills on your keyword list for the skills section. Don’t “stuff” the keywords in awkwardly. Work them as naturally as possible into the text. In general, a density of two to three percent is recommended. This means within a paragraph of 100 words, you would include no more than three keywords.

As you begin to network with other professionals in your industry, look for keywords within their profile text. Are there any you could benefit from using as well? Don’t hesitate to tweak your LinkedIn profile text periodically to test the results. Sometimes a little fine-tuning is all that’s needed to land your profile on a recruiter’s radar.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - October 27, 2011.

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