How to boost your LinkedIn profile ranking

How to boost your LinkedIn profile ranking

Hiring experts share customised keywords that will bump you to the top of LinkedIn searches for CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and vice presidents of IT.

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Copying and pasting your resume into LinkedIn isn’t enough to get noticed.

Hiring managers – tasked with filling an abundance of IT jobs with a lack of candidates – rely on LinkedIn to find the best talent. With a booming IT job market and rising salaries, optimizing your profile for search is key to nabbing a new opportunity.

“This is a candidate-driven market. There’s a talent war in IT,” says Matthew Ripaldi, senior regional vice president at IT recruiting firm Modis. “The more detailed you can be [in your LinkedIn profile], the better the opportunity you’ll have for prospective companies or recruiters to find you.”

Tailoring your LinkedIn profile starts with using the words and phrases that companies might use to find people with your experience, Ripaldi says. Review job descriptions for roles you’re interested in next, and take note of the recurring words and phrases. These are the keywords you want to pack into your profile.

“It’s all about searchability on LinkedIn. You want to make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find you,” he says.

These keywords should include important skills, certifications, responsibilities and technologies, experts say. Adding details about your industry and including acronyms and abbreviations is equally important, too.

[Related: 7 tips to get recruiters to look at your LinkedIn profile]

“I know that QA stands for quality assurance, but one company might search for ‘QA engineer’ while another might search ‘quality assurance engineer,’” Ripaldi says. “Companies are also looking for candidates with experience in a certain industry. Be detailed about your field and use industry-specific keywords.”

Experts shared their top keywords for CIOs, CTOs, chief digital officers and vice presidents of IT. Here’s what topped their list and why.


Keywords: Chief information officer, industry verticals, global, align/alignment, return on investment/ROI, profitability, operations, cloud/cloud strategy

Chief information officers develop and direct the firm’s overall IT strategy, work closely with other senior management and provide vision and leadership in all aspects of IT management and operations.

These professionals should choose keywords that differentiate themselves from similar senior technology jobs, specifically the CTO, Modis’ Ripaldi says. That’s where the keywords “alignment” and “ROI” come in.

“The difference between the CIO and CTO role is that a CIO needs to align the company’s IT infrastructure with their business priorities,” he says. “Another main focus area for CIOs is to develop strategies to drive profitability, versus revenue or the top-line, which is the CTO’s role.”

CIOs should also consider keywords native to the CIO role, such as operations/operational and cloud/cloud strategy, and list any and all relevant industry verticals. “If I see a candidate with the tagline, ‘CIO leading healthcare transformation,” I know this is someone with deep experience in the vertical, and it’s a field they want to stay in,” Ripaldi says.


Keywords: Chief technology officer, infrastructure, infrastructure management, small/midsize/global company, specific technologies

Chief technology officers set the firm’s overall technology standards and practices, and make recommendations and explain technology solutions to senior management. CTOs are also tasked with managing the implementation of data systems and monitoring their effectiveness.

The CTO title is often interchanged with CIO, depending on the size of the company. In larger companies, CTOs may report to the CIO, whereas in smaller companies, CTOs and CIOs may have virtually the same responsibilities. For this reason, it’s essential to note company size and detail specific duties, says Allison Hutton, chief talent officer at talent acquisition firm Allavanti Group.

“CIOs focus more on strategic initiatives while CTOs are more focused on the infrastructure side and management of that infrastructure,” she says.

Beyond keywords that differentiate CTOs from CIOs and similar roles, CTOs should list the specific technologies they have experience with, the areas or departments they managed and whether they were enterprise-wide or department-specific.


Keywords: Chief digital officer, transformation, mobile, social media, ecommerce, brand management, revenue, implementation, execution

Chief digital officers help a business transform its traditional IT policies, which includes creating and executing social strategies, determining key influencers and developing new revenue streams.

Companies usually bring on chief digital officers to help accelerate their digital strategy, and look for candidates with not only great ideas, but a proven track record as well, Ripaldi says.

“Everything these days is mobile, especially in digital and especially for companies behind in this area,” he says. “CDOs are tasked with aligning their efforts within digital with the company’s social media strategy. That goes hand-in-hand.”

Also essential to chief digital officer’s arsenal of skills is a deep knowledge of e-commerce, knowing how to build brand loyalty for their customers and being able to articulate the ROI they’ve achieved for companies in this role.

[Related: What NOT to share on LinkedIn]

“A chief digital officer can have all of the greatest ideas in the world, but if the plan is not implemented or executed successfully, then it’s all for naught,” Ripaldi says.

Vice president of IT

Keywords: Vice president of information technology, big data, technology management, cloud, collaboration, IT strategy, strategic planning, industry verticals

Vice presidents of information technology manage the tactical, overall operations of the IT department and work with the company’s senior IT team to help plan and coordinate both short-and long-term systems strategy and implementation.

Vice presidents of IT must have strong leadership in technology management and excellent communication skills. For these reasons, VPs of IT should focus keywords on both hot-button technologies like big data and cloud, and keywords related to strategy, says Ken Daubenspeck, CEO of recruiting firm Daubenspeck and Associates.

Much like CIOs and CTOs, vice presidents of IT will benefit from listing industry verticals they have worked in or want to break into, he says.

“Recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you’re best at – whether your experience has been in the healthcare industry or manufacturing industry,” he says. “But don’t just list a string of industries to bump yourself up a list – we’re not interested in a buffet of experiences, we want to know where your expertise is.”

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