LinkedIn Profile Keywords

3 Places To Pack Your LinkedIn Profile With Keywords


Trying to get attention with your LinkedIn profile? It’s easier than you think – especially if you’ve employed a strong keyword strategy.

Here’s why you should power up your pack your LinkedIn profile with keywords: The more skills and job titles that match recruiter searches for candidates, the higher volume of traffic your profile will receive. In turn, better traffic means you’re more likely to be the target of a great new job.

3 Places To Pack Your LinkedIn Profile With Keywords

If you’re lacking in keyword knowledge, but need to be found more often on LinkedIn, add keywords in these critical places on your profile:

1. Your Headline

Not only will a keyword-centric Headline help your profile traffic, it just looks better to employers.

So, replace “Operations and Production at XYZ Company” (the default from your current position) to “Operations Director & Manager. Cost Savings from Lean Six Sigma & Process Improvements in Aluminum Manufacturing.”

The same goes for “Unemployed and Looking,” which only tells employers you’re desperate. Instead, pull in a job title and some skill sets (“IT Director | Infrastructure & Applications | IT Roadmaps | Global Growth Strategy, ERP, & Business Transformation”) that convey your value-add.

2. Your Summary

Along with a powerful opening line that stirs interest, your LinkedIn Summary should contain keywords relevant to your goal:

“Creating over-goal revenue by zeroing in on untapped markets is how I’ve blown past quotas (up to 185% of goal), using innovative prospecting and consultative sales practices as Director of Business Development and Sales Manager.”

Notice that this Summary is completely different from a traditional resume profile, which doesn’t contain enough specifics to be useful on LinkedIn.

3. Your Interests

A little-used area in which to place keywords, your Interests (under the Additional Info on your LinkedIn Profile) can be used to add even more terms related to your career goals.

However, you’ll also want to maintain the original purpose, with information on your areas of professional and personal interest. Here’s how you can use the 1,000 characters allowed in this section to achieve both objectives:

“As a Sales Director and candidate for VP of Sales, once I believe in a product and set a sales goal, I’ve always achieved it (translating my passion for emerging technologies into new market entries for Internet products, 143% of quota from relationship building at United Airlines, and cloud product sales that opened 3 territories). I continue to be interested in partnering with VARs to grow managed services and hosting service revenue.

I also like to take a hand in developing sales trainees and keeping up with cloud and managed services industry developments. Other interest and hobbies include fly fishing, spy novels, and spending time with my family and two dogs.”

Note how this Interests section specifies several job titles, as well as key product areas and other skills that can count in a recruiter search.

So, remember: all that stands between you and more LinkedIn traffic might be some additional keywords. Take the time to load up your profile in these areas, and you’ll experience a better hit rate and perhaps even more job offers.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Laura Smith-Proulx

Multi-credentialed executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is the #1 U.S. TORI resume award record-holder and a published global expert on executive branding and LinkedIn strategies.


  1. I agree that increasing search engine discovery of a job seekers profile is important, however I don’t agree with loading up your Interests with a long sentence filled with keywords. What happens is the search functionality of the Interest section get’s diluted if not fouled up. I suggest using keywords & phrases separated by commas. This way the search engine and specifically your individual search functions will work properly.

    What have you discovered as far as keyword search within the Interest section?

  2. I have so few connections. I think this may be one of the biggest downfalls to my job search. I do not know how to go about getting new connections. I do not know a lot of people on LinkedIn. How do you go about extending your network? Is it rude to request people whom you do not know but that are connected through friends?

    • First of all, get a new email.
      Second, here’s how you build your network:
      1. Get out a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. Down the center, from top to bottom, draw a line. On the left right down ever social and professional group you have been involved with. This could be high school classes, alumni groups, previous employers, vendors, religious institutions, community groups, etc.
      Write them all down on the left side.
      Now, on the right side, write down ever person you remember in each group.
      Now, go look them up in LinkedIn, and send them a customized invitation to connect.

      2. Start joining groups that you will relate to; again, back to your previous communities. Find those groups online, and join those groups. Then, look for more groups, professional, trade, local chambers of commerce, industry associations, etc. Find them all and connect (up to 50 groups).
      Then, listen to the conversations in the groups. Find something you Like, click the Like button. Find something to Share, click the Share button. Each of these activities will send a notification to the person who posted the discussion.
      Have something to add to the conversation… comment.
      Know of a great article, share it.
      Over time, adding-value and engaging in the conversation will help you build a powerful network.

      There’s more… but this is a great start.

  3. Hi Ken,
    Here are a couple that might work.
    You might need to use a little creative license.

    The first question I ask profile optimization clients is this:
    Are you currently using your professional skills in any way, either volunteering, consulting, part-time for a friends business, etc.?

    The point is this. Try to use your keywords and professional title in an active company.

    If the answer is Yes, you could do something like the following-
    (example of Attorney) (FYI, these are Very Basic Titles. If I were writing a clients profile, I would include more niche specific titles and identifiers).
    * Contract Corporate Litigation Attorney
    * Non-Profit Pro Bono Human Resources Attorney
    * Interim/Retained Corporate Counsel for Small Business

    If you are not using your skills, or have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, you could try something like:
    “Product Manager – Seeking New Opportunity”
    “Product Manager – Seeking Next Opportunity”

    Now, what about the Company Name?

    * If you are doing some consulting or part-time volunteering for a business, you might feel confident using the volunteer organization or company name.
    * If you are not able to use the company name, you could try using “Last Name + Consulting”, or “Last Name Associates”. (Using your last name in a company name is acceptable and looks professional.)

    You can also try a company name like:
    “Seeking Product Manager Company”

    The later example isn’t as strong for personal branding purposes, but it’s not that bad either. The benefit, that I think sometimes outweighs the slight branding cost is this… much higher search engine rankings, since the CompanyName field is used in the search algorithm.

    Please let me know if this helps.

  4. Jonathan,

    My keyword research has turned up the same findings as yours. Great point on the current job title (and a good reason to avoid using “Unemployed” as a placeholder).

    Interestingly, the Name field on LinkedIn is also often used as a keyword, and will bring rankings up even higher. (For example, some users insert “Widget Maker” right after “Jones” in their last name.) However, this is a direct violation of LinkedIn’s Terms of Service, and can get a person banned from the site.

    One of the reasons I recommend a variety of skills keywords (in the Skills & Expertise section, of course, but also in these other areas) is that job seekers might not realize what terms someone else will use to find them on LinkedIn (as in a Software Architect who is actually being sought for Agile development).

    Even worse, some fields are a bit nebulous on job title. In telecommunications, for example, you might be seeking a position as a Vice President or Director of Customer Operations in telecom, while holding the position of Senior Director in Global Projects.

    Therefore, you’ll can’t use the existing job title as a keyword, unless you add it as a descriptive explanation (“Senior Director, Global Projects – Customer Operations Responsibility”).

    Your other option is to populate fields such as Contact Info with more job titles that you’re seeking (“I operate at a VP level in the customer operations and global projects part of ABC telecom, which gives me insight into both worldwide initiatives, plus our responsiveness to customer concerns.”)

    It sounds complex, but the majority of people that I work with end up with a wide variety of keyword strategies that bring desirable traffic – with a caveat to keep adjusting as necessary!

    Again, great points!

    Kind regards,

    • I amend that advice to use Interests, not the Contact section. Contact Info is actually not used in the LinkedIn search algorithm.

  5. Jonathan,
    Do you (or anyone else) have any suggestions for those people that do not have a Current Job (point 2) ?

    thanks & regards,


  6. Great write up and great comments. I agree with Jonathan but some people have found a loop hole and will type the key word in 50 to 100 times within the experience fields. For example, social media, social media…and on and on. This takes away from the professionalism of the profile and is not fair to others trying to improve their SEO the professional way.

  7. As someone who has done extensive testing on the LinkedIn search algorithm, I have found the following fields the most important for rankings.
    1. Headline
    2. Current Job Title – if you don’t have one, you don’t rank at all.
    3. Past job titles
    4. Company Names

    To get your LinkedIn profile ranked externally, ie on Google, for your keywords:
    1. Include your keywords in your LinkedIn URL.
    2. Include the keywords anywhere in your profile, including summary.
    3. You can also get your profile ranked for a geographic region, like say “San Francisco” or “Bay Area”, by including this location text somewhere in your public contact or Summary section.

    What have you found?

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