The Importance of Keywords and Their Locations for Your LinkedIn Profile

By Erin Kennedy

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You no doubt know the importance of LinkedIn for your job search efforts in today's market. Hiring managers and recruiters are using this platform daily to find viable candidates for open positions. Their search efforts are driven through a certain list of keywords and phrases through SEO (search engine optimization). If your LinkedIn profile doesn't have the words to match their criteria, then there's a very small chance you'll be discovered. So the question becomes what keywords should be used in your LinkedIn profile and where should those keywords be located to cause your name to rise to the top of the search results to allow you to be discovered more easily.

Research Employers to Discover Relevant Keywords

Do some research on potential employers to learn which terms they use. Look at job descriptions for the type of position you are interested in. Review various industry terms, as well. However, you also need to make sure you're using the keywords the potential employer believes are most important. Incorporating a good mix of keywords is always good.

Populate The Right Sections

LinkedIn can be tricky if you don't know the ins-and-outs of it. You can put relevant keywords all over your profile, but if they aren't in the right sections, you may not reap the rewards. The sections of your profile closest to the top of the page rank higher for SEO purposes, so be sure to prioritize those. The name section, job titles, professional headline, and summary sections are the most important ones to incorporate the strongest possible keywords in.

       1. Professional Headline

Many people overlook their professional headline as being a valuable section for SEO purposes, mainly because it has a character limit of 120, so leave out any fluff and use only terms that reflect your brand closely. Your header should contain terms employers and recruiters will search for, such as specific job titles from previous jobs, as well as other similar job titles. Employers may designate different job titles for essentially the same responsibilities, so you want to make sure you've got all of the relevant titles covered. When your LinkedIn profile has the specific keywords a recruiter searches for, your chances of being discovered will increase significantly. 

       2.  The Summary

This is an area that people don't often utilize for SEO purposes. Not only do you create an interesting and engaging summary, but you can also keyword load it because really, what you do on a daily basis consists of a lot of keywords. When you talk about your career in summary terms, you'll be (briefly) talking about what you've done, what you are best at, and how you can do this for them. If you are laser-focused on a specific role, use the wording you see in specific job descriptions of roles you are interested in.

       3.  Job Titles

You should never be inconsistent with your past or current job titles across your resume and online profiles. You can add relevant keywords to your titles for SEO purposes, without raising any questions as to the consistency of the information you provide. Again, job titles are different at various companies, so the more relevant ones you can fit in, the better your chances are of being found on LinkedIn.


While the best executive resume format is critical, it's not the only aspect to consider to increase your chances of landing an interview. Your LinkedIn profile requires just as much attention as your formal resume. And your LinkedIn executive profile won't help your job search if you don't have the right amount of relevant keywords. The keywords themselves are important, but the location of the keywords is also an overlooked factor. SEO is a big part of LinkedIn, so focusing on it as part of your LinkedIn profile development is critical.


Insert Erin Kennedy's Photo & Bio

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes "Top 100 Career Websites". Considered an influencer, she is consistently listed as a "Top Career Expert to Follow" on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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