Developing Your Career

Is Anyone Reading Your LinkedIn Profile?

By Helene Cavalli on February 14, 2013

Are you paying attention to how often your LinkedIn profile is viewed or how often you appear in searches? If you’re not seeing results, you’re not capitalizing on the full value of LinkedIn. The objective is to capture attention and build your network. One strategy is to create a profile that will rank high in search results when someone conducts a search on specific key words associated with your function and industry.

Unfortunately, many people create profiles that fail to incorporate the right key words or rely heavily on overused buzz words, rendering them unfindable and undifferentiated. The recently released 2012 list of overused LinkedIn buzzwords provides users with some valuable insight into how to make sure they don’t sound and look like everyone else. According to LinkedIn’s analysis of more than 187 million profiles, the most often used profile buzzwords include: creative, organizational, effective, motivated, extensive experience, track record, innovative, responsible, analytical, and problem solving.

What can you learn from this study that will help raise your visibility? Here are a few questions to consider when evaluating your LinkedIn profile:

  • Only declare what you can demonstrate. Your profile should reveal what you’ve done by outlining accomplishments and achievements. Back up assertions of “creative” or “innovative” with examples that illustrate these traits.
  • Emphasize verbs instead of adjectives. Words like “developed,” “reduced,” and “increased” carry more impact than descriptive words. Instead of identifying yourself as a “problem solver,” provide an example that illustrates your problem-solving skills.
  • Don’t overstate a “given.” It’s unnecessary to use words such as “responsible” or “motivated” as descriptors. Hiring managers see these qualities as a baseline. Again, let your accomplishments tell the story.
  • Understand your audience. Think about the specific terms that your target audience uses to find professionals like you. Add keywords to the 3 high-traffic fields of your LinkedIn profile: your headline, profile and job description. Monitor to see if you have a measurable increase in the number of times you appear in search results and profile views. Continue to monitor and refine.

Research shows that hiring managers and recruiters are flocking to LinkedIn, conducting targeted searches for potential candidates that are yielding very effective results. Your goal is to be found. Use words that will hook your audience so they read your profile and can quickly establish if you are someone they need to connect with.

5 Responses to “Is Anyone Reading Your LinkedIn Profile?”

  1. RJ

    Interesting post, and I totally understand the need to minimize buzzwords for readability once someone actually looks at a profile. What I’m confused about is how you link these keywords to search rank on — I’m not seeing the connection.

    IMHO, I don’t believe anyone searches on adjectives such as “innovative” or the other words you mentioned. They search on words and most often phrases like “SAS data miner.”

    I would be really interested to see something on improving LinkedIn search rank.

    • Lee Hecht Harrison

      Hi Richard, thanks for your comments! As you point out, keywords and buzzwords are really two separate things. Keywords for findability and descriptive words for relevancy once someone opens your profile. Each needs to be considered separately. If you want to improve your search and view results, I recommend starting by simply using Google and searching for your title plus “job description.” Review the descriptions and identify those keywords that recruiters and/or hiring managers are using to identify the skills and competencies required. Then assess against your own profile to make sure you’re using similar language. Let me know if this is helpful. Helene

  2. Jimm fox

    I believe that LinkedIn’s value and purpose is changing and I didn’t really see this reflected in your post. Much like businesses are having to re-think how they position and promote themselves, job-seekers now have to rethink their own self-promotional strategies. Don’t tell me you are creative or a problem solver – prove it by contributing to a linkedIn group in some interesting way. You have to communicate in public forums, share new ideas, help other people, demonstrate creativity, provide new insight, make thought- provoking predictions… Do something to get people’s attention. Finessing the words on your profile isn’t enough.

    • Lee Hecht Harrison

      Hi Jimm — thanks for your comments. As you note, a LinkedIn strategy requires a multi-pronged approach. This post was meant to address just one aspect. Today’s post looks at strategies to to increase awareness and influence through active engagement. Look forward to hearing your thoughts! — Helene

  3. Steve Skotzke

    People are certainly on Linkedin for various reasons. The key here is to know what your objectives are for being on Linkedin and managing your presence there accordingly. Personally, I am looking for a new position, so I need to work on getting recruiters and hiring managers to look at my profile. What would be helpful is if Linkedin provided stats for views of your profile by those of your contacts and non-contacts. That way you could manage to your objectives more effectively.
    – Steve


Leave a Reply