This article was first published on LinkedIn 18 January, 2017.
Last week I published fresh research on the most valuable marketing skills on LinkedIn. This has proved a very 🔥 topic. Over 60,000 people have already read my posts on LinkedIn alone. Let me follow up now with more tips uncovered by our research. Here is a practical guide to optimize your LinkedIn Profile based on the top keywords in marketing.
Keyword Optimization Basics on LinkedIn
If you are already familiar with keywords through search engine optimization (SEO), you may want to skip ahead to the next section.
Keywords are words that can be used as a reference point when looking for relevant information among many documents or a complex set of data. Most people use keywords when they search for information on Google across the billions of websites on the internet.
Like search engines, LinkedIn uses keywords to match relevant information across millions of professionals and job roles. For example, LinkedIn allows recruiters to search for relevant candidates based on keywords and encourages professionals to include relevant keywords in their profiles. It is, after all, LinkedIn’s mission to “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Using LinkedIn Premium to Optimize for Keywords
Most LinkedIn members won’t see how keywords relate to their profiles, but LinkedIn Premium members do get additional insights that can be used to keyword optimization.
In the screenshot above you see what a LinkedIn Premium job seeker can see when they look at a relevant job role in their industry. LinkedIn gives a 1 to 5 rating of past experience and current role and also ranks you against all the other candidates for the job opportunity. If you’re only in the top 50% of candidates, you’re unlikely to get much interest from recruiters.
If you are patient and really like a specific job role you can tweak the keywords in your LinkedIn profile to improve your relevance. In one example, I helped a friend go from 2/5 rankings to 5/5 and become a top 10% candidate for a role at Facebook. Even with no contacts at Facebook she was asked to come for interviews. Not bad, considering the amount of job applications Facebook gets each year!
So how does keyword optimization work in practice?
Here is my theory…
Theory: Current and Previous Roles on LinkedIn
Job ads come in all shapes and sizes. Recruiters around the world have different ways to describe the same things. Some describe “roles” and “requirements,” while others highlight “responsibilities” and “experience.” The lingo and semantics may vary per region, but generally job specifications split out into two sections:
- Role requirements – what the candidate is expected to do
- Past experience – what the candidate is expected to already know
LinkedIn profiles don’t directly match the structure of most job specs written by recruiters, but the information provided to LinkedIn Premium candidates hints that they follow a similar pattern in matching candidates to roles.
You don’t have a “Current” and “Previous Roles” section in your LinkedIn profile, but where you include a specific keyword does seem to make a difference when LinkedIn evaluates keyword relevance. Through tweaking my profile and referencing the 1 to 5 relevance bars shown to LinkedIn Premium members, I believe the closest correlation is the following:
Keywords Considered for Current Role:
- Professional Headline
- Current job listed in Experience
Keywords Considered for Previous Roles:
- Previous jobs listed in Experience
If you have access to LinkedIn Premium and you see that you’re falling short of 5/5 for your past experience or current role for a specific job role, try and include more keywords in the relevant areas of your profile.
If you don’t have access to LinkedIn Premium, you can use our research findings to optimize your profile. These recommendations are based on the top marketing keywords mentioned in over 850 recent job roles posted on LinkedIn. To get a cohesive list of keywords, we’ve organised them based on themes. For example, specific channel marketing skills like “Google AdWords” or “SEO” have been bulked up into “channel marketing.”
Top MARKETING ROLE keywords for LinkedIn Profiles
What does the research show about keywords related to marketing roles?
Keywords listed in the “current role” requirements looks to match closely with the top skills for marketers uncovered in our research. In particular, recruiters look for marketers able to drive strategy and develop marketing plans, and not as much marketers with specific role related tasks.
Remember, that recruiters may sometimes look for candidates on LinkedIn with keywords such as “SEO,” or “marketing automation,” or “Eloqua,” to fill specialist roles, but for the generalist and senior marketing roles our research covered they don’t look to have as much importance.
Top MARKETING EXPERIENCE keywords for LinkedIn Profiles
How about keywords related to past experience?
Let’s start with the obvious. Most marketing job specs included a prominent mention of “x years of experience.” It certainly wouldn’t harm to include a mention of how many years you’ve worked in your professional summary. Also, most marketing roles did look to have mention of specific educational requirements, whether it be a Bachelor’s degree or MBA, so education is also important.
It’s not about what you did, it’s about what you learned doing it.
The key other observation about past experience is that it’s not about what you did, it’s about what you learned doing it. You may want to include keywords in the description of your professional experience that refer to analytical, organizational, or management skills you’ve developed during your career.
Conclusion: Every LinkedIn profile can be optimized
Our research of over 850 recent advertised job specs proves that recruiters have very different ways of describing the same things. There is no definite list of keywords for marketers to include in their LinkedIn profiles, but every marketers’ profile can be optimized based on the roles they are looking to apply for.
If you’re interested in a specific role advertised on LinkedIn, I highly recommend signing up for the free trail of LinkedIn Premium and checking out how well your profile rates against the other candidates.
It can be quite a lot of fun to push your way from the top 50% to top 10% of applicants on LinkedIn, so tweak your profile and let me know if the tips I shared work for you.
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