If you’re not optimizing your Linkedin headline, you are greatly reducing the ability of your profile to attract the kind of opportunities you want.
The headline is that section directly under your name and is the first thing the recruiter or hiring manager sees when they land on your Linkedin profile.
To keep them reading, you need to create a headline that’s compelling enough to peak their interest. This is no easy task because you have to pack a lot into only a mere 120 characters and make sure it’s relevant to your target audience.
Formula For Writing A Stellar Linkedin Headline
There are basically two different approaches to creating an effective Linkedin headline.
- The Narrative. This is an approach that tends to appeal to the human reader because it uses one full descriptive sentence. The downside is you can run out of space quickly.
- The Descriptive. This uses strictly keywords that are separated by bullets or some other kind of symbol that’s Linkedin friendly. I prefer this approach because you can squeeze more keywords into the 120-character limit.
Things To Include:
- Job titles
- Types of customers you’ve worked with
- Types of projects you’ve contributed to
- Industry specialization
- Brands you’ve worked for
- Certifications or designations
- Geographic territory specialization
In my professional opinion, I think it’s best to use keywords that the recruiter or hiring manager would use in a search string. You might also include some other words that help further communicate your value as well as set you apart from the masses.
Top Headline Do’s And Don’ts:
Focus on your value. All the employer cares about is “What’s in it for me?” or “Why should I care?”. Don’t make the headline about what you want but rather, focus on your expertise, specialty, and your demonstrated results.
Show proof. Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible in terms of numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts that ideally align with what the majority of employers would be seeking. People typically love numbers because it gives some scope and context.
Don’t plagiarize. It’s okay to research other headlines for ideas, but don’t copy them. While you have only 120 characters, try to make it as unique to you as possible. The more you distinguish yourself from your competitors, the better.
Use the space wisely. You have limited space to communicate your value proposition. Try to use all 120 characters by selecting the most powerful, shortest words you can come up with – that way you can maybe squeeze one or two more in!
Don’t brag. Don’t use any adjectives such as “superb”, “exceptional”, “dedicated”. They’re superfluous. Best to stick with meaningful keywords that communicate your value and expertise.
Be clear in your communication. Make sure you’re using the language that your target audience would understand.
Use keywords. Include words that you would typically find in a job description and that are relevant to your target audience. Think of keywords that would be used in a search string.
There’s no one way to write a headline. What you create will depend on what your strategy is. What message do you want to get across?
What you don’t want to do is end up with a headline that is generic and boring. For example, including only your job title and company like this says nothing about you that memorable or uniqe: Project Manager at Acme Ltd.
Here are a few examples of some stronger headlines to get the juices flowing.
PLEASE DO NOT COPY THESE HEADLINES!
If you’re actively looking for another job, this is one way to advertise that while still illustrating your expertise and value.
Multi-lingual SALES ASSOCIATE with strong customer service skills seeking to deliver client-focused solutions
This one uses a target job title and then a short sentence that describes how the job seeker helps organizations.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT | Helping companies stay organized and efficient while delivering client-focused solutions
This headline starts with the target job title and then lists the areas of expertise.
FINANCIAL ANALYST | Fraud Investigation | Pursuing CPA and CFE | Accounts Receivable | Accounts Payable | GAPP
Here’s another sentence that includes the job title and keywords.
ACADEMIC ADVISOR leading administrative and operations projects to improve program curriculum and student experience
This sentence focuses on the job function (not job title) while including the key stakeholders.
Coordinating and managing complex healthcare research projects for the University of Toronto and Ministry of Health
This sentence uses quantifiers.
PMO DIRECTOR | Led 5 global teams to build 3 project management offices in aerospace that saved over $50MM in 4 years
This describes how the individual helps organizations in a meaningful way.
Helping global manufacturers achieve KPIs by driving lean initiatives, process improvements, and change management
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I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
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