How To Show Up on the 1st Page of a LinkedIn Search.

How do you Show Up on the 1st Page of a LinkedIn Search?

LinkedIn’s Algorithm – What You Need to Know

LinkedIn has 300 Million Users.  That’s a lot of people.  At Secrets from a Headhunter we can show you all the actions to take so that you show up on the 1st page of a LinkedIn Search in your area of expertise and niche.

If you are active in a job search, it’s critical that Recruiters and Corporate Human Resources Managers can find you.  LinkedIn is the social network that will most often appear at the top of a Google search, so if someone Googles you, their first choice will usually be to click on your LinkedIn Profile.

While there is no single rank for LinkedIn Search, there is something that you should know called “LinkedIn Relevance”, meaning “is your profile relevant to what the person searching is looking for”. While a search query will show the same results for everyone, the order that you show up in is determined by a number of factors.

1)    The Completeness of your Profile:

LinkedIn will reward you for having a 100% complete profile. Anything that is less than 100% complete will hurt your ranking in a search.  I can’t stress this enough as Profile Completeness impacts you at all 3 degrees of separation.

 You will know that you are in good shape if your Profile Strength (you can find this on the right hand side of your profile page) looks like this:


LinkedIn will let you know if your profile is complete or not.  If you want to know what else you need to do to get it complete, click the “Complete your profile” box and LinkedIn will prompt you with suggestions.


1)    The Number of Connections You Have Impacts Your Ranking

 While LinkedIn advises you to connect with only people you know and trust, their algorithm indicates that the more people you are connected to the better.

I’m an Open Networker and will connect with anyone unless I believe it’s SPAM.  If you wish to be more conservative, my recommendation is to accept connections from people in the following categories: people in your industry, people who do a similar job to what you do, shared group members, anyone in HR, recruiters, people that you know are credible by their reputation,  and people who look credible on LinkedIn who have large networks.

 When someone does a LinkedIn Search, the results are in the following order:

 1st level connections in descending order

  • Profiles that are 100% complete (or close to it)
  • Profiles with the most in-common connections
  • Profiles where you are in shared groups
  • Profiles with the fewest in-common connections
  • Profiles with the least common connections but you are in shared groups

***  Key Learning – the more 1st through 3rd level connections you have, the better.

2nd level connections

  • Ranked by profile completeness in descending order

 3rd level connections

  • Ranked by profile completeness in descending order

 Shared Group Members (Outside of your network)

  • Ranked by profile completeness in descending order

Everyone Else (Outside of your network)

  • Ranked by profile completeness in descending order

2)    The Size of the Networks of the People You are Connected to

  • Being connected to people with BIG NETWORKS can really help your search ranking.
  • If you are connected to someone who has 6000 connections, every one of their connections that isn’t one of your 1st connections becomes a 2nd connection for you.

*** Key Learning – Connecting with SuperConnectors with huge networks benefits your ranking in LinkedIn Searches.

 3)    Keywords REALLY MATTER in the Following Sections

 Your Name:

  • Your First and Last Name Only.
  • Do not put anything else here or you will show up LOWER on LinkedIn’s rankings.  It’s important to LinkedIn that the Name data is clean.
  • Don’t put your e-mail address or phone number in your name field.
  • Put certifications or credentials elsewhere or in your Education and Summary Sections.
  • If you feel compelled to put a credential, put it after your last name.


  • LinkedIn will default to your current title.  DO NOT USE THIS DEFAULT.
  • Carefully choose the best keywords someone would use to find someone with your background.
  • You have 120 characters

Company Name:

  • Have the name of your current company.
  • If you are unemployed, but are still on a severance package, keep the company listed as “current” as you are still on their payroll.  The algorithm favours you if you are listed as “current” with a company.
  • If you are currently unemployed and are not on a severance package, list the Company Name as “Independent Consultant” and be industry and function specific with your title.
  • Ex. Consultant │Controller Level│CPA │Consumer Packaged Good
  • Ex. Consultant │Client Service Account Director Level│Advertising

Job Title:

  • Again, use the words that someone would use to search for you.
  • Don’t feel compelled to use the exact title you have, but a title that most people would use for something you do
  • Ex. Don’t use Project Manager – Use Project Manager, Urban Planning
  • Ex. Don’t use Product Manager – Use Product Manager, OTC Healthcare
  • Ex. While I am President, my current titles also include “LinkedIn Expert” and “Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Recruiter”
  • Imagine if you were searching for someone with your background.  What key words would you choose?  Try to include this in your title.
  • LinkedIn is NOT your resume, your resume should have your correct titles.
  • Some companies have strange, unique titles that are not found elsewhere in your industry.  Do not use these titles.
  • Think of your title like the “job title category” you are in.
  • You have 100 characters for your job title.

 Your Vanity URL:

  • Best is to include some version of your first and last name.
  • Do NOT use the default URL given to you by LinkedIn.


  • It is important that your summary is keyword rich, without sounding like spam.
  • Use a variety of different ways to say the same thing.
  • Also use these terms throughout your profile in meaningful sentences.
  • The keywords that you use must be relevant to your job and industry.
  • Don’t just dump in keywords that have no relevance.
  • You have 2000 characters.  Use all of them.


  • You may have up to 25 Skills and can use 61 characters per skill
  • Use all 25 Skills
  • Use Key Words relevant to your industry and function
  • These are the skills that people endorse you for
  • The number of endorsements for a particular skill can impact your ranking

4)    The Number of Groups that You are In

  • You can join 50 groups and choosing all 50 gives you an advantage in search rankings
  • Choose groups that are industry specific and job function specific
  • Choose groups that have a large number of members over groups with a smaller number of members

**Tip Change your setting for each group so that you don’t receive too many messages each day.

You can likely see that LinkedIn favours a complete profile and a large number of connections.  If all of this seems overwhelming to you, don’t worry.   At  Secrets from a Headhunter we do the work for you to optimize your LinkedIn Profile.  It’s our job to have your LinkedIn Profile be an expression of your personal brand so that you hear about the best jobs in your field, grow your client base or get approached as a subject matter expert.

You can find out more at:

Want to see the top 5 tools to combine with LinkedIn to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile?  Click here

Written by Shanna Landolt, President – Secrets from a Headhunter & The Landolt Group You can reach Shanna at or 416-849-3855