While the average tenure of a chief marketing officer is on the rise, it’s still hovering anywhere from 23 to 33 months, depending on the industry.

If you’re a CMO at an automotive, communications or media company, you’ll likely be looking for a job within the next two to three years. And even if you don’t work in one of these sectors, getting found on LinkedIn is still important.

When a prospective employer or recruiter (or anyone else who may refer you for a job) searches LinkedIn for an “experienced marketing professional,” you want your name to be near the top of the LinkedIn results.

LinkedIn’s Search Algorithm

Did you know LinkedIn has its own proprietary search algorithm? According to Andy Hepworth of Sirona Consulting, LinkedIn search results are returned based on the following criteria:

  • First level contacts with 100% complete profiles (or nearest to it) that have the most in-common connections or shared groups, ranked in descending order
  • First level connections with 100% complete profiles (or nearest to it), ranked in descending order
  • Second degree connections with 100% complete profiles (or nearest to it), ranked in descending order
  • Third degree connections with 100% complete profiles (or nearest to it), ranked in descending order
  • Shared group connections with 100% complete profiles (or nearest to it), ranked in descending order
  • Everyone else with high profile completeness
  • Everyone else with low profile completeness


Now that you understand the search algorithm, how do you improve your odds of getting found on LinkedIn?

#1 A 100% ‘complete’ profile

If you want to get found on LinkedIn, you need to ‘complete’ your profile. It’s surprising, but according to this infographic only 50% of LinkedIn profiles are 100% ‘complete.’

If you’re not sure if your profile is complete, check the “Profile Strength Meter” located on the right side of your LinkedIn profile. It shows the strength of your profile and increases as you add more content.

There are many online resources outlining how to achieve a ‘complete’ profile. For the Cole’s notes version check out LinkedIn’s description HERE. For more in-depth instructions, read Neal Schaffer’s excellent book, Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing. While LinkedIn is constantly changing, and Schaffer wrote the book several years ago, there are many valuable suggestions still relevant today for improving your LinkedIn networking effectiveness.

#2 First level connections matter

To improve findability on LinkedIn your number of first level connections matter. LinkedIn recommends you only connect with people you know and many people follow this advice.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a job—or think you might be in the future—consider broadening your horizons and expanding your network by connecting with as many people as possible.

#3 Join LinkedIn groups

Groups are one of the most powerful tools available on LinkedIn for marketing professionals. There are over 1.5 million of them, everything from the Consumer Packaged Goods Executive Forum to Marketing Professionals Worldwide to the Marketing Executives Group.

In addition to increasing your LinkedIn findability, groups offer many additional benefits:

  • Build trust with like-minded professionals by initiating and participating in discussions
  • Connect with other group members by referencing the group to which you both belong
  • Send a free message to other group members without using InMail


#4 Include keywords in your profile

What keywords will a recruiter or potential employer use to find you on LinkedIn? Brainstorm all the keywords you can think of, as well as different variations. If you’re a chief marketing officer, consider CMO, chief marketing officer, senior marketing professional, senior marketer, experienced marketer.

Do a quick search on LinkedIn using your keywords and variations. Note where the keywords appear in the profiles on the first page. You’ll typically find them in headlines, company names, job titles and skills since these areas rank higher in LinkedIn’s Search Algorithm.

If your profile isn’t showing up on the first page of results, incorporate your keywords into these four important sections of your profile in a natural way. Keyword stuffing is a no-no on LinkedIn, just as it is with Google. While LinkedIn doesn’t penalize, you will definitely leave the wrong impression and look foolish in the minds of other business professionals who want to connect with you.

Search your keywords again and your profile will immediately start placing higher in the results.

Like all social media platforms, there are many nuances and best practices associated with LinkedIn. Actively participating through daily updates, adhering to group etiquette, strategically expanding your network or even creating your own LinkedIn group are important considerations to improving your findability and networking success.

What approaches have worked for you in helping you get found on LinkedIn?

Written by Shelley Pringle