How to Make a Recruiter Click Through to Your LinkedIn Profile

Recruiters use LinkedIn to source active and passive candidates for their searches.

I recently performed an advanced LinkedIn search where I entered several job titles as keywords, an industry, and “Greater Seattle Area” as the location. My search returned over 250 results.

As you might imagine, at this level of volume, it’s not enough to just come up in a recruiter’s search results. You also have to compel them, as they’re scanning page after page of results, to click through to your profile.

What a Recruiter Sees

Here’s what a recruiter sees when they get search results:

  1. Your name.
  2. Any credentials that follow your name.
  3. Your headline or your current job title (if it’s your default headline).
  4. Your location.
  5. Your current job title and employer or your education (if your job title is your default headline).
  6. Number of shared connections.

Note that I had specified industry and geography in my search. Thus, if someone didn’t match those terms, they didn’t even come up in my search results.

That’s important to think about if you’re relocating or changing industries.

If you’re committed to making a change, then list your aspirational geography and industry — unless your current boss will flip if they see it. If that’s the case, assess your risk and make the best decision for you.

What Makes a Recruiter Click on a Profile

Here’s the scoop on what made me click through and what made me pass on profiles in my search results:

1. I looked at my first-level connections first because they came up on the first pages of my search results.

If you want to hear from recruiters, find and connect with them.

2. My next clicks went to the results with the most compelling job titles, company names, and credentials. Here are some examples (this was a CFO search):

Sonya Pruss, MBA/CPA, CFO at Fictitious Company

David Willis, MBA, Chief Financial Officer at Fictitious Company

Anthony Pleasant, CPA, Sr. Director, Finance & Administration at Fictitious Company

Sarah Oldstone, CPA, Interested in Career Opportunities

Just as the research shows, I went for relevant experience and qualifications, as demonstrated by job titles, company names, degrees, and credentials — over anything else.

I also went for someone who was looking because they displayed a “must have” credential for this particular search.

3. Here are some results I found less attractive:

Cathy Chan, VP Finance & CFO at DMIS

Don’t use acronyms readers don’t understand.

Phil Wolk, Director at Fictitious Company

Tell me what type of director – finance, budgeting, accounting, what? Phil Wolk, Director (Finance) at Fictitious Company would have been more useful. 

David Smith, Experienced Chief Financial Officer at Fictitious Company

I know you’re experienced. That’s how you got to be a CFO. Don’t waste limited space providing BFOs (blinding flashes of the obvious).

These results were less interesting because I had to click through to find information about credentials, company names, and job titles. Other people provided that information without requiring my extra time and effort.

I might or might not click through to these profiles — depending on how long my call list already is and which page of search results I’m reading. (Translation: How desperate for well-qualified candidates am I?)

4. Finally, here are results I didn’t click through on:

Donald Levy, Board of Directors, Fictitious Nonprofit Organization

Kirk Frederick, Principal at No Brand Name Associates

Laura Merz, Finance Professional

Cecilia Garcia, Independent Consultant

Mohammad Khan, Owner, Omega Services

There simply wasn’t enough compelling information, when compared to the abundance of other interesting results, to make me click through.


Do you wonder how you compare to the competition on LinkedIn? Search LinkedIn for your job title and similar titles, your industry, and your geographic location. How do you compare to the competition? If you don’t like what you see, buff up your profile.

Once you’ve done that, be sure that they can contact you.

Let’s Connect on LinkedIn

Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect here. The more I know about my readers, the more relevant I can make my blog posts!

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at for more information.

Image Courtesy of Ken Tomika
Updated June 2017

© 2013 – 2017, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Follow AvidCareerist & Subscribe:

Comments 7

  1. LinkedIn is a great career boost. The tool when used correctly can help you to find new opportunities. No doubt about it.

    So true George. They have done a terrific job of continuously making the site more useful to employers and individuals. I have tremendous respect for the LinkedIn organization and product. Donna

  2. Great comment on this post from LinkedIn:

    Hello Miss Svei,

    Thanks for all your great advice. Today you wrote about the relocation today. That’s exactly my situation. I received the great advice to write “Relocating to UK” instead of ” have a strong will to relocate” in my profile and another constant one is that I’ll have to relocate before finding a new job in UK. Now I don’t want to disappoint a recruiter after matching its search with city and title. I’d just like to pick the way I’m sure a recruiter would like to further the hiring process with me. Thanks for your advices.

    Jeremy Joulain

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you for this very useful discussion point.

    If you don’t use the UK as your location, a recruiter probably won’t find you at all. Consider adding a line in your summary that explains you’re in the process of relocating or that you want to relocate.


  3. Another great comment on this post from LinkedIn:

    Joyce Bremner – Yamashita

    Great article Donna! From what we understand from our LinkedIn expert, Perry Monaco, Strategic Product Consultant at LinkedIn, the Linkedin search algorithm doesn’t work as well in ranking someone with a credential in the same field as as their name; e.g., Joe Smith, MBA — so we do suggest our clients put any credentials as part of their headline, rather than in the name field.

    Hi Joyce,

    Thank you for this. You bring up a really useful discussion point. I have heard that as well. I tested it on my LinkedIn name. Including info beyond my name did not have any adverse outcome on how I came out in search results. If anything, adding information improved my rankings in search results.

    Just know that LinkedIn has a policy on what can be included in name fields. See more here: I encourage people to comply with LinkedIn’s policy and to experiment with their search results. As we’ve all learned, social media sites frequently change their algorithms. Thus, what’s the case today might be different tomorrow.

    Also, if you’re an active or passive candidate, where you land in search results only matters if the recruiter sees enough desired information to click through to your profile.


  4. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough [A.Einstein]
    That’s YOU, Donna

    Aw Jorge, how sweet. Thank you. Donna

  5. Excellent advice, Donna! Within FOUR days of making improvements to my headline based on your advice here, my profile views soared 67%. Thank you for sharing with all your ‘Avid’ fans.
    Kindest regards,

    Hi Joni, You made me laugh and smile and shared terrific news. Thank you! Donna

  6. No promises you guys, but I got this wonderful note yesterday:


    Just saw one of your blogs about updating your headline. I followed your advice and am now having recruiters emailing me! One of the positions was one I’ve already applied for, ha. Just wanted to drop a note saying thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *