LinkedIn headlines are searchable fields using the “People Search” function when someone is looking for particular skills, interests, qualifications, or credentials. You can also incorporate keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile, including:
- Your LinkedIn profile headline
- Current and former work experience
- LinkedIn summary section
- Specialties or Skills section
Where can you find keywords? Brainstorm them. Write down a list of words that relates to you, your work, your industry, and your accomplishments. Try to come up with as big of a list as you can; you will narrow it down later. You can also find keywords in job postings or job descriptions. Check out online job boards for positions (don’t worry about where the job is located, just find positions that are similar to the one you’re seeking and write down the keywords.) You can also find broad job descriptions — with plenty of keywords — in the U.S. Department of Labor’s free Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/).
Another great research tool is Google’s Adwords Keywords Tool, which can be found at: https://adwords.google.com/select/keywordToolExternal. You can use keywords you identified through your earlier research and it will suggest related keywords (it will also tell you the popularity of the keywords you enter as they relate to current Google search results). Now it’s time to narrow down your keywords and pick a “Top 10” that you will use in your LinkedIn headline and profile.
The keywords that you select for your profile must fit two criteria:
- They must speak to your unique value — that is, what you want to be known for.
- They must align with what employers value — that is, what they want.
Focusing on these areas enables you to get the most out of your online efforts while differentiating you from other job candidates with the same job title. You need to express clearly: “I am this.” Someone who is reading your LinkedIn profile should be able to recognize you in it. If what you wrote could apply to anyone with your job description, revise what you’ve written.