How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence With the Right Keywords
Why is a LinkedIn presence important? How can LinkedIn help get a new teaching position? How do you use the correct education keywords in your LinkedIn profile to help with your job search?
Are you looking for the answers to those questions? Perfect. Let's discuss the answers to your LinkedIn questions.
First, to have a truly successful job search these days – and to ensure a shorter job search – you need to have a healthy online presence in addition to an excellent resume and cover letter. The stronger your online presence is, the better able future employers will be to find you.
Why Have a LinkedIn Profile or Any Online Presence?
Nowadays, employers use the internet to quickly and easily screen their applicants. So, if you have no real online presence, employers won't be able to verify any of the information on your job application. This could result in your application not making it to the next round.
When curating your online presence, you want to make sure that future employers find all of the positive, professional information about you and don't find anything potentially negative. To ensure only positive results, quickly search your name in Google to find out what shows up.
Quick tip: if you don't want your future employers to see your personal accounts – such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – make sure that the name you use for these personal accounts is not the same name as your professional accounts. For instance, a married woman may use her maiden name for her personal accounts and her legal, married name for her professional accounts. This will ensure that your personal accounts won't be seen as easily by a potential employer. This is also a great tip for keeping your students from finding your personal online accounts. But, as always, don't post anything on any account that you wouldn't want people to see.
So, your professional online profiles should support your job search and career. These profiles should be quickly and easily searchable for everyone – especially potential and future employers.
Why Employers Are Searching Your Online Profiles
Employers have several reasons why they want to quickly find your online accounts and analyze your online presence. These reasons include:
- Verifying the information on your resume and job application by looking at your online profiles
- Observing your online behavior
- Evaluating your communications skills and computer savviness
- Deciding whether you are a good fit for the school / school district
So, you really want to make sure that your online presence is up to snuff! Otherwise, your online presence – or lack thereof – may hurt your job search.
How to optimize your online presence
Social media is not only for your personal use. It is also a great tool for pushing your professional brand and helping your job search.
Remember: When you write online, you're not just writing for people; you're also writing for robots, spiders and crawlers, oh my! This may sound a little like science fiction to some, so let me explain.
These crawlers are programs sent out by companies online to accomplish a variety of different indexing tasks. Some are trying to index the entire content on the internet like Google. Others have different more focused tasks, like indexing academic papers, pdf files or maybe just 3 or 4 keywords or phrases from a database of thousands of resumes.
They can then cross reference applicants to LinkedIn profiles or other social media platforms to find matches giving them a little more information about potential applicants.
All the user has to do is input keywords or keyword phrases for the search engine to compile a list of the best candidates with the right qualifications. They're constantly scanning and categorizing online content — yes, even your LinkedIn profile.
You may also be interested in an in-depth article titled 22 tips to unlock the power of LinkedIn for your next career.
So, when writing your LinkedIn profile, remember: you need keyword rich web copy to be found in searches.
Think of a keyword as a noun that has more points with the search engines and a key phrase as a series of keywords.
The nouns, or keywords, you choose upfront become part of your personal brand. You not only use them in your value statement and your professional profiles but also in your resume, online portfolio, and so forth.
Before you go stuffing keywords in everything...
Too many mentions of one keyword can hurt your results drastically.
I understand this can be a daunting task for some, especially if you are not the technical type. If this describes you, or you simply don't have the time or energy to do the research, I can most certainly help you. I offer a LinkedIn profile development service.
How can you find the best keywords to use in your LinkedIn profile?
You can search job boards like Indeed.com, which has an on-site Keyword Research Tool to discover what words may be working for other job seekers. Reviewing job postings or advertisements is an excellent way to research current industry and professional keywords.
Google's Keyword Planner is an excellent research tool which will help you to find out the most common searched terms. You will be required to sign-up to use this free Google service.
There are other paid services used for keyword research for website development, if you should need a paid service for your job search.
Other ways to find relevant and strong keywords for your online profiles and resume:
- Brainstorm from the perspective of the school district you've researched
- Go to 3 job boards and find 3 different descriptions for your teaching job
- Pop all of the descriptions into a Word Cloud Generator
- Check out O*Net for different ways to describe what you do
When Writing Your LinkedIn Profile Use keywords Employers Are Using
The keywords potential employers use to find candidates are basic keywords regarding the position they are trying to fill.
For instance, if a school is looking for an 8th grade ELA teacher, they will be searching for words that encompass the job title, industry and key skills such as:
- English Language Arts
- Middle School Teacher
- English Teacher
- 8th Grade Teacher
- Common Core
- Curriculum development
- Lesson planning
- Reading strategies
Additional keywords that employers will be looking for are the main keywords that anyone would use when searching for new contacts. These include:
- Employer name
- Credentials (licenses and certifications)
When it comes to implementing keywords in your LinkedIn profile, resume or cover letter, you want to use popular ones. This is not the time to be creative or pedantic. You want to include the same keywords that employers will be using to search for you. So instead of choosing to be creative and listing your job title as a "Purveyor of Knowledge" simply call yourself an Educator or Teacher.
Additionally, if you have Elementary Teacher Certification, look up which is the most searched form of stating this credential. For instance, is "Certified Elementary Teacher", "Elementary Teacher Certification", or "Elementary Teacher License" the most used by principals? You want to make sure you choose the wording that will get you found by the most schools.
By the end of this process, you should have a top ten list of keywords. This list is precious gold. You should keep these keywords by your computer. Infuse them into your online writing, your posts, your profiles, resume, cover letter, and comments you make on blog posts or articles.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete
In order for your LinkedIn profile to be the most beneficial to you and your job search, you need to make sure that it is complete according to LinkedIn's own criteria. This will ensure that you reap the best benefits from the site.
According to LinkedIn, a complete profile includes the following:
- A professional profile photo
- Your current and past job positions, including descriptions for each one
- 5 or more skills listed on your profile – these are industry keywords
- A complete professional summary describing your professional self and career
- Your industry and location
- Your academic background
- 50 or more LinkedIn connections with other LinkedIn members
LinkedIn profiles put a lot of emphasis on members' skills and areas of expertise. By showcasing your many education related skills and talents, you can connect with other educators, as well as make yourself stand out for potential schools and principals. For instance, when a school conducts a search for certain teaching skills, you will show up if you have listed the skills they are searching for.
Making sure that your profile is complete according to these 7 steps, will ensure your profile gets viewed more. For instance, according to LinkedIn, a profile photo will increase your searchability 7 times, and including your two most recent positions increases your profile's searchability by up to 12 times.
Lastly, LinkedIn also ranks profiles by their 'freshness'. This means how often you update and refresh your profile to keep it current. So, make sure to continually update your profile to keep it searchable and highly ranked.