After recruiters look at your photo, your LinkedIn headline is the next item they scan in their search results.
Because of this, a well-crafted, professional headline plays a critical role in convincing a recruiter to click through to your full profile to learn more about you.
Screw your headline up and they might never get to know you. Read on to learn about the worst LinkedIn headline practices and how to avoid them:
1. Optimize Your Most Important Keyword
The first word in your LinkedIn headline gets big SEO juice from LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Thus, it’s critical that you start your headline with your most important keyword. Many members don’t understand this, so if you do it, you will get powerful SEO.
It matters because if you don’t come up high in search results, then you won’t get the chance to convince a recruiter to click through to your profile. Game over.
2. Add Click Bait to Your Headline
Once you’ve got your top keyword(s) at the front of your headline, add some click bait. Again, most people fail to do this. What makes you an exciting prospective hire? What’s in it for them?
Recruiters look at ten results per page. Be sure to say something about yourself that makes your profile a more promising read than their other nine choices.
Like this example:
3. Customize Your LinkedIn Headline
What if I told you that 70% of LinkedIn members use the default headline (Current Job Title and Current Employer)? It might be more than 70%. I got 70% when I ran some test counts.
That, however, is great news for you. If you use steps 1 and 2 above, then you can move ahead of over 250 million other members in getting your profile found and viewed.
4. Don’t Misspell Words
Proofread your headline. Nothing says, “Don’t click through,” to a recruiter more than misspelled words. I lied. Misspelled names are worse than misspelled words. Ask Bbob.
5. Capitalize Appropriately
Again, proofread your headline. Weird capitalizations make recruiters worry that the person wears stripes with plaid. Would you click through to the headline in this example?
6. Avoid Mysterious Acronyms
It’s OK to say, “Corporate Counsel, IBM,” followed by some irresistible click bait.
It’s not OK to say, “Corporate Counsel, CDR.” Because CDR isn’t a recognizable brand, that acronym implies that the writer doesn’t think about his/her audience when they communicate. That’s a bad signal for someone to send via his/her LinkedIn headline.
7. Optimize Available Space
What do you think of this headline?
I modified the example a bit so it wouldn’t be searchable, but it’s very close to a headline I saw this week. I would condense it to “Attorney.” That’s a succinct, searchable keyword that leaves lots of room for delectable click bait.
8. Show More Than Your Degree
I see many LinkedIn headlines that only show the member’s degree. That misses the opportunity to feature other keywords and click bait. Sad.
9. Show More Than Your Job Title
I see many LinkedIn headlines that only show the member’s job title. See number 8 above.
10. Banish the Word “Experienced” from Your LinkedIn Headline
I want to find candidates who can say something more compelling about themselves than, “Experienced.”
Saying, “Experienced,” is weak telling. It’s more powerful to show your experience.
Get a LinkedIn Premium Account and LinkedIn will show recruiters a mini-resume for you in search results. Recruiters will be able to see your professional experience, and you get to take up more space on the search results page than freemium members do. That makes you more noticeable and intriguing.
Sharing is Caring
Do you have any pet LinkedIn headline worst practices? If so, I hope you will share them below.
Check Your LinkedIn Headline
Check your headline against this list. Check your headline against your competition. Remember how often we make mistakes in the rush of daily life. Slow down for this. You want a professional LinkedIn headline, not one that indicates a lack of professionalism.
I offer these ideas to help you show up in search results, make a fantastic first impression, and get recruiter clicks that might lead to your next career opportunity.
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