The 5 W’s of LinkedIn Keywords

The 5 W’s of LinkedIn Keywords

By Donna Van Derveer


YOU, of course. When others view your LinkedIn profile, a box displaying your profile highlights fills the screen. This is your chance to make a good impression. Therefore, the information in your profile should be complete, current and optimized by using keywords.


A keyword is a tool for scanning large volumes of information quickly to identify specific data to target. Recruiters use these keywords to search for viable job candidates. When a recruiter searches by a certain keyword, LinkedIn analyzes every profile to find that matching word. Therefore, using keywords is an absolute necessity if you want to pop up in search results.


You should start implementing keywords into your social media platform as soon as possible. Include strategic keywords when you first create your LinkedIn profile and update them as your experience and qualifications change. You may also want to search for industry buzz words to include in your descriptions. Make every word count.


LinkedIn allows you to fill in descriptions in the following sections:

  • Profile headline
  • Experience
  • Personal interests
  • Volunteer Experience & Causes
  • Honors and awards summary
  • Job title
  • Company Name
  • Status Field
  • Summary
  • Specialties
  • Position Description
  • Interests

Make sure, when filling out these sections, to use keyword-rich descriptions to draw relevant search engine traffic. Some fields are more important to use keywords in than others.

For example, the summary section is like your elevator pitch. When you first create your profile, you may want to focus on this section first. Make it a priority to consistently update your summary. For example:


Another important section on LinkedIn is your headline. This headline appears in multiple places on LinkedIn and is the first item people see when they go to your LinkedIn profile. Until you change it, your headline will appear as your current or last position held. The algorithm LinkedIn uses to rank people puts a lot of emphasis on the words used in the headline. Be sure to check your company’s policy about how you describe yourself. Instead of using an official title, maybe you could ask your supervisor for a working title. Using a working title can help to improve the limitations of generic titles such as Sales Representative. In order to gain a better position in search results, optimize this section with keywords. For example, an optimized headline would look like this:


Your LinkedIn profile is not the only place where you can optimize keywords. You can take advantage of keywords on Twitter (Google now brings up Tweets in search results), YouTube, Facebook Pinterest, picture and other image tags, blogs, websites, in your resume and online applicant tracking systems.

Because LinkedIn is partnered with Taleo Corporation, candidates can now apply for Taleo-client positions using their LinkedIn profile.  This tool reduces the amount of time required to submit this information by allowing candidates to use their LinkedIn profile to complete the work experience, education and contact information sections on Taleo applicant tracking systems. Because LinkedIn profiles frequently feature more current information than applicant data stored in a candidate database, the increased capabilities make it easier for both candidates and recruiters by ensuring candidate data is up to date.

This feature allows companies to pinpoint and engage passive candidates who maintain LinkedIn profiles that include keywords that match the critical skills required for the job. Recruiters are also able to access LinkedIn directly from their Taleo dashboard. This concludes whether the candidates are already in the company database. If they are, recruiters then will be able to instantly update the on-file resume with new information the candidate has on their LinkedIn profile page (another reason to keep your profile up to date).


You need keywords so that your profile can be found in the search results. You are on social media to get your name out there and to be found. The only way to make that happen is by using keywords. Optimization is crucial to any influential social media strategy. What steps are you going to take to implement keywords in your various social media platforms?


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