Best LinkedIn Profiles

The Top 10 LinkedIn Profile Fields

I recently got a significant insight into the best LinkedIn profile fields for job seekers. If you’re in a job search, this matters big time so keep reading!

How Many Pages of LinkedIn Search Results Do Recruiters Review?

Tony Restell, a social media marketer, and candidate-sourcer, Sanjay Sodhi, were talking. Tony said: 

“I would’ve assumed that by the time you get to the 1,000th [LinkedIn search] result, the people appearing in searches would diverge too much from the [candidate] search criteria to be a strong enough match to pursue.”

How Recruiters Search LinkedIn

Then, Sanjay shared this golden insight about how recruiters make target candidate lists:

“So, the thing is that we don’t go that far down the rabbit hole for a specific search…

By the tail end, we’re…classifying off of the profile summary [my emphasis] rather than clicking through [to individual profiles]…

We want to be selecting the full results page of 25 profiles, mostly classifying people out, and only stopping for [standout] exceptions.”

What Recruiters See 1st from Your LinkedIn Profile

So, I got curious.

I asked Sanjay:

“Sanjay, Would you please clarify which elements of their profile you see in the “summary” you mentioned?

Much appreciated!

Thank you,


Sanjay was kind enough to send me this screenshot of what he sees in his Recruiter search results:

LinkedIn Recruiter Screenshot

The LinkedIn Profile Fields Recruiter Users See 1st

As you can see, recruiters get a summary snapshot of your profile.

Also, as you learned from Sanjay’s comment, recruiters don’t always click through to your complete profile.

Thus, you have to optimize the 10 fields of your profile that display in the Recruiter screenshot:

1. Your Profile Picture

I’ve written a lot about LinkedIn profile photos.

Looking at the screenshot above, you can see how much they matter to Recruiter users. They’re the 1st thing they see and, eye-tracking research has shown, the 1st place their eyes go.

So, click the link to get the lowdown on optimizing your profile picture.

The best LinkedIn profiles ace the photo.

2. Your Name

I’ve also written a lot about LinkedIn names.

Beyond being the 2nd thing Recruiter users see about you, the Name fields have huge algorithmic weight in search results.

To optimize your name:

  1. 1st, use your full name and any previous name people might use to find you.
  2. 2nd, if you have relevant credentials, add the best 1 or 2 to your last name. 

3. Connection Level

Following your name, LinkedIn tells recruiters whether you’re connected to them.

As you can see, Sanjay and I are 1st-level connections. Thus, I’m more likely to get outreach from him.

Because of this, connect with your target recruiters whenever you can.

4. LinkedIn Premium Membership

Next, recruiters immediately see if you’re a LinkedIn Premium member. If you’re a member, it’s free for recruiters to contact you.

If you’re not, they have to spend InMail credits or dig around your profile to find your contact information.

The best LinkedIn profiles make recruiter contact easy and free.

5. LinkedIn Headline

Scanning on, recruiters see your LinkedIn headline. To get their attention, feature the “money” keywords for your target job.

Then, if you can, add a brief accomplishment statement. Here’s an example: “Double-Digit Sales Growth.”

Finally, notice my headline above has been cut off at about 70 characters.

Because of that, be sure to put your most important keywords in the first 70 characters of your headline. Otherwise, the LinkedIn algorithm will see them. But the people who decide to progress your candidacy might not.

6. Location

Following your headline, recruiters see your location. Make sure it’s your desired location, and keep it broad to avoid being eliminated.

Don’t say Tacoma if you would take a job 60 miles north in Everett. Use LinkedIn’s suggestion for the metropolitan area. 

7. Industry

Next, recruiters see your industry. Make sure this is your target industry.

If you work in real estate but want to move to construction, say “Construction,” not “Real Estate.”

To update your industry:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Click the editing pencil to the right of your profile photo.
  3. Scroll down to “Industry.”
  4. Drop the menu and select your aspirational industry or functional area. 

As you’ll find, LinkedIn’s industry list leaves much to be desired. It gives you a mix of industries and functional areas that don’t accurately reflect our world.

If you don’t see your 1st choice, select the item your target recruiters would most likely use.

8. Experience Section

Moving on, your work experience is the next information recruiters see.

However, they only see your:

  1. Employers’ names
  2. Job titles
  3. Employment dates

Because of that, check your job titles for essential keywords.

For example, your job title might be “Director of Finance, Germany.”

If you want a Division CFO role, add a parenthetical CFO title after your official title. Like this: (Country CFO). Or this: (Division CFO). 

Now the recruiter understands you have CFO-level responsibility.

9. Education

Next, LinkedIn tells the recruiter where you went to school — not your degree, just your school.

Thus, if your degree is relevant, search your university’s LinkedIn company pages. Look for your specific school or college.

As you can see below, “Case Western Reserve University Master of Engineering & Management” says more than “Case Western Reserve University.”

It gives recruiters helpful information about what your degree might be.

LinkedIn Education

BTW, you can see a comprehensive guide to writing your resume’s education section here. Much of it is also applicable to your LinkedIn profile.

10. Shared Connections

Finally, LinkedIn tells recruiters how many connections you share with them.

Thus, always be building your network. It might give you a boost with a recruiter if they can reach out to a shared connection to learn more about you.

This post tells you how to build 2nd-level LinkedIn connections

What’s Missing?

Now, let’s look at which profile sections recruiters have to click through to your profile to see:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Number of Connections
  3. Featured
  4. Articles & Activity 
  5. About
  6. Experience
  7. Education
  8. Licenses
  9. Volunteering
  10. Skills 
  11. Recommendations
  12. Publications
  13. Honors & Awards
  14. Other Sections

Many of those sections impact your search rankings but recruiters only see them if they click through to your profile.

Focus first on getting the click, then build the rest of your profile.

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10 Easy Tips to Improve Job Seekers’ LinkedIn Headlines

Featured by: 3Plus International
Image: deagreez
Updated December 2022

© 2019 – 2023, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 6

  1. Great article on building the right profile on LinkedIn. It will definitely help in career advancement.

  2. Mass,

    Giving recruiters the best information possible on LinkedIn makes a lot of sense!

    Thank you,


  3. This blog is a window into the recruiter’s LinkedIn world that is incredibly valuable for job seekers.

    I’m sure almost no job seekers know what recruiters see when they use the LinkedIn Recruiter tool. Being able to optimize their profile for what recruiters see should result in their being selected for more interviews and landing more jobs.

    Every single tip is helpful here, but my favorite is selecting the specific college you attended within your university to give the recruiter more information about your education.

    It’s the kind of trick that no one would think of but you, Donna Svei!

  4. Donna,

    I wonder why LinkedIn doesn’t show recruiters people’s degrees. They matter for many jobs. Thus, a real head-scratcher and definitely something to try to remedy.

    Thank you,


  5. It seems like a job candidate’s degree is so key to whether they are a fit for a position or not.

    I wonder why LinkedIn wouldn’t have included that data in the “online report” they are supplying recruiters.

    Hopefully recruiters will give them enough feedback on it, so that it will be included in future software updates.

    Donna, I agree. Thank you, Donna

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