Your LinkedIn Professional Headline - that's the few sentences of bold text (120 characters maximum to be exact) that sits below your name on your LinkedIn profile - is one of the site's most overlooked sections, but actually pretty crucial to increasing how "findable" and enticing you are to potential connections. And if one of your main aims with LinkedIn is to leverage the site for professional gain, then a well-crafted Headline is imperative.
By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your current job title and employer, and that's how great swathes of people leave it - bad move! Your Headline sits in a prime position on your profile, and can be used to share your expertise, promote your core marketing message, and exude your personality. In order to get recruiters or potential connections to stop and pay attention, use your Headline to tell them what you are, who you help, how you make their work/life better, and give proof that you are credible.
The way you craft your Headline depends on what your aims are, but here are five ways to do it well in a variety of situations:
Showcase your speciality
With hundreds of millions of LinkedIn users, recruiters browsing LinkedIn are adept at breezing through hundreds of search results at a time, and if your Headline reads just something like "Project Manager, Miami Marketing, Co.", with nothing else about what you do, chances are they are going to skip right past it. A better example might read:
"Personal Trainer who helps clients reach peak fitness. Former head trainer for Swansea City FC."
Speak directly to your audience
LinkedIn is a global stage for everything you have to offer a potential employer or connection, so speak to them directly in your Headline. For example, if you were an expert in helping grow startup businesses, you might write:
"Customer-focused pro who can take your new venture startup to the next level. Also run seminars, workshops, and training."
If your LinkedIn Headline told a recruiter you were a psychologist in California, what would really help to make you stand it out if you were even more specific. Remember, there will be thousands of profiles with bland and generic Headlines, so give yours the best chance of standing out. An example along the psychologist lines might read:
"Education-specialized psychologist; 15 yrs helping kids overcome learning troubles and develop socio-emotional abilities."
Include relevant keywords, but don't cram
As well as crafting an appealing Headline, it is also important to consider keywords. Think about the kind of search terms the people you appeal to or want t connect with will be using to find you when recruiting via LinkedIn. Don't pile them into your Headline and damage its readability or flow, but do try to feature a couple of the keywords most important to who you are and what you can offer. An example might read:
"Executive Recruiter who helps Fortune 500 companies find top tech talent. Clients include Microsoft and Apple."
Be creative, not generic
Writing a creative LinkedIn Headline can be a great way of boosting your personal brand and catching the attention of recruiters and connections, but for the love of all that is holy, avoid empty buzzwords and phrases like "outside-of-the-box thinker, " "problem-solver" or "strategic planner". These clichés mean nothing without context. At best they are cheesy, and at worst they will turn away many more people than they attract.
Supercharge your LinkedIn Profile!
Hopefully you've now got some real inspiration to go off and create an irresistible LinkedIn Headline. Get more strategy like this in my book, How to Create the Ultimate LinkedIn Profile in Under an Hour.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Macarthy is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.