In my previous article, I talked about the Zero Moment of Truth concept. I said that, as a job seeker, you need to carefully manage the first impression you create, by ensuring your LinkedIn profile does an excellent job of showcasing your experience.
I also reminded you that recruiters and companies are filling a lot of roles by searching the LinkedIn database.
So before someone can read your excellent profile, you need to ensure that it gets found.
It’s the same principle of search engine optimisation (SEO) that websites use to ensure they appear on page one of Google’s search results.
Here’s how it works.
Let’s say I have been retained by a company that’s looking for a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Because I don’t want to run a job ad which will result in 200+ applications, as part of my identification strategy I search the LinkedIn database to find people who have the right skills and experience.
I might start by looking at people who are already in this sort of role. So I open a new search on LinkedIn and put “Chief Financial Officer” in the title search field. Let’s say the client will only consider someone who has already worked in the construction sector, so I put “construction” in the keyword field. The client might be planning to list on the Stock Exchange, so I also search on keywords like “listing”, “public company” or “IPO” to find someone with relevant experience.
I click on Search and, almost instantly, a list of the people whose profile includes those keywords will appear. I scroll through the first four or five pages of results and, from those pages, I will build my “long list” of people to contact.
Just like Google, the further you go down the list, the less relevance the results will have. So I won’t bother looking through the whole list.
There are many other options available for me to search, such as geography or qualifications. I can also look for current and past employers, if my client wants to hire from a competitor.
What does this mean for you?
I’m sure you have instantly realised that any profile that does NOT contain the keywords I choose, will not appear in my search results.
You need to make sure the keywords for the job you want are appearing in your profile.
Please be aware that, just like a Google search, the more often the keywords are found in your profile, the higher you will appear in the search results.
But I want you to use some intelligence here. Don’t just fill your profile with the same keywords over and over again. Firstly, LinkedIn is able to delete your profile if you do this. Secondly, you won’t fool anyone who’s searching. If I came across a profile that was just stuffed with keywords without any proper context, I’d disregard them instantly.
So having the relevant keywords included in your profile is critical to being found in searches. But there are a couple of additional things you can do to boost your search ranking.
1) Join the LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to your profession, as Group memberships are a factor in the search algorithm.
2) Profiles that have lots of Recommendations also rank higher in search results, so make sure you get (and give in return) recommendations from your colleagues, clients and classmates.
With the relevant keywords, your profile will easily be found. With excellent content, your profile will get you onto shortlists.
And then I’ll be calling you, to ask if you’re interested in hearing about an exciting potential opportunity for your career.
Until then, my best wishes for your job search success.
Richard Triggs is the Founder and Managing Partner of Arete Executive, one of Australasia’s leading executive recruitment companies. He has championed the practice of helping people to “headhunt their own job” and you can find more advice about this in his book Uncover the Hidden Job Market (available from Amazon). You can also follow Arete Executive on LinkedIn for great articles and notification of leadership jobs.
Richard has an organically built network of over 20,000 connections on LinkedIn and you are warmly invited to join his network.