How professional researchers find you on LinkedIn

by Ashley Ramalho 
Research Manager at Charles Aris Inc.

Let’s say a Fortune 500 company is seeking its next vice president of strategy and hires an executive search firm to make it happen. Search project team members from each organization discuss the role, responsibilities, must-have skills, education and other requirements for this mission-critical position. The search is launched and begins in earnest in the search firm’s research department, where it becomes professional researchers’ responsibility to identify highly qualified individuals for the job.

Beyond their firm’s proprietary candidate database, where might those researchers turn in their quest for talent identification? More times than not these days, the answer is LinkedIn.

Here are 11 ways you can immediately improve your own LinkedIn profile to enhance your chance of getting noticed by a researcher in the executive search industry:

1) Keep all titles simple and clean. Avoid dashes, commas or abbreviations.
  • Good example: Vice President of Strategy
    Bad examples: V.P., Strategy OR VP; Strategy OR Vice President: Strategy

2) Provide brief summaries of your roles and responsibilities in each of your positions. Strategically insert important keywords which apply to your industry and function. Share common practices, in-demand skills, certifications, awards, impressive achievements, etc., and highlight quantitative metrics which demonstrate your success. Complete the “About” section of your profile with a high-level description of your expertise, how you got there, what you value and / or what you hope to achieve. Cultural fit is just as important as technical fit in the eyes of many hiring authorities, so this section is a good place to show a little personality while remaining professional.

  • Good examples (plastics industry): plastics, polymers, thermoforming, injection molding, compounding, ISO 13485, Association for Thermoforming Professionals

3) Include all dates of employment (start and end dates) on every position from your first professional job to your current role (or most recent job if unemployed). Researchers often use a “Years of Experience” filter for finding professionals who know a function, industry or business inside and out.

4) List your degree and areas of focus.

5) List highly relevant and in-demand skills; these will be captured as keywords. Don’t list every single skill that you have, though – just the ones pertinent to your career.

6) Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations from colleagues, both current and former. The more the better!

7) Put your current location on your profile, along with the locations of each position you’ve had over the years. Researchers often try to find professionals with historical ties to other places.

8) Provide up-to-date contact information in the top section of your profile to make it easy for researchers and recruiters to contact you. Add your résumé for good measure.

9) Join groups relevant to your function and industry. Researchers sometimes sift through groups to identify specific members for career opportunities.

10) Be aware of diversity and inclusion and how each is playing a bigger role in organizations today. Think through your use of pronouns, for example, and if you are passionate about finding an organization that aligns with your values, be sure to include that on your profile.

11) Spell-check, spell-check, spell-check.

Bonus tip

If you’re looking for a new job while employed or unemployed, designate on LinkedIn that you’re “Open to new opportunities” or “Open to work”. Use the titles of roles you’re seeking (vice president of sales, executive vice president of business development – you name it) at the company of “Seeking New Opportunities” in your desired location. Don’t forget to highlight your capabilities and / or accomplishments in the summary section. You’ll get noticed more often by researchers who are looking for professionals with those titles. Otherwise, you’ll have no current title and might get lost in the mix!