LinkedIn Headline

Your LinkedIn Headline — 10 Tips & Examples to Increase Profile Views

Are you a job seeker? If so, it’s good to know that 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 best and worst LinkedIn headline practices and to see effective and ineffective LinkedIn headline examples for job seekers:

1. Optimize Your Most Important Keyword

The first word in your LinkedIn headline gets big SEO juice from LinkedIn’s 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 nine other choices.

Like this:

LinkedIn Headline 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, you can move ahead of over 350 million other members in getting your profile found and viewed.

4. Use Correct Spelling

Proofread your headline. Nothing says, “Don’t click through,” to a recruiter more than misspelled words. I lied. Misspelled names are worse. 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 this profile?

LinkedIn Headline Bad Example 1

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 their audience when they communicate. That’s a bad signal for someone to send via their LinkedIn headline.

7. Optimize Available Space

What do you think of this headline?

LinkedIn Headline Bad Example 2

I modified the example so it wouldn’t be searchable, but it’s close to a headline I saw this week. I would condense Legal Professional to “Attorney.” It’s a succinct, searchable keyword that leaves room for 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.”

Sharing is Caring

Do you have any best or worst practice LinkedIn headline examples for job seekers? If so, I hope you will share them in the Comments below.

Check Your LinkedIn Headline

Check your headline against the ten-point list above. 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 proves 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.

Let’s Connect on LinkedIn

Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com for more information.

Image: Fotolia/gustavofrazao
Updated June 2017

© 2015 – 2017, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

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Comments 23

  1. Donna – when did what was called your ‘title’ become your profile ‘headline’? Managing a group and approving membership gets cumbersome when you have to decipher what all the verbs, adverbs, adjectives mean. I’m working on a LinkedIn Profile Rubric in which the use of adverbs and adjectives decreases the value of a profile – it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do – present information/

  2. Hi Steve,

    I think your “Professional Headline” has always been distinct from your “Title” in your current job. However, if you don’t fill in a headline, or if you don’t uncheck a box near your title that says something like “make my title my headline,” then LinkedIn makes your current title and employer your headline.

    I agree with you on adverbs and adjectives. It’s better to let other people assign adverbs and adjectives to us. Otherwise, we risk looking self-aggrandizing, pompous, foolish, etc. It’s definitely an 11th worst practice!

    Donna

  3. Hi Dorothy,

    End user testing. Lots of working with clients on with/without experiments.

    Donna

    P.S. I started testing algorithms in college. We played a simulation game in our Business Operations class where we had to make various strategic spending decisions. The authors gave the program code at the end of the simulation materials. My two partners (mostly them, good partners!) and I went through it very carefully, formed some hypotheses, and started testing them. We won the simulation. “Figure Out the Algorithm” has been one of my favorite games ever since.

  4. Hi Bruce,

    I want to agree with all of your comment but can (sadly, because you know those aren’t my favorite headlines either) only go halfway. I polled a 4,200-member group of recruiters on FB for three hours today. Here’s what I asked them:

    “LinkedIn Question: Do you ever source candidates on LinkedIn using any of these/similar keywords — looking, available, unemployed, seeking new opportunity, actively seeking employment, etc.?”

    Eight respondents said, “Yes.” Four respondents said, “No.”

    Two people noted they do this type of search when they need to hire quickly for temps. One person wrote that she combines this kind of search with keywords (note what you said about keywords!).

    Glenn Cathey mentioned that it’s easier to recruit veterans when they mention their transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

    Glenn also shared the following post that shows how to use LinkedIn to find people who are actively looking:

    How to Find and Identify Active Job Seekers on LinkedIn http://buff.ly/1H1Ixwo

    Given all of this, I can’t say that putting “looking” in a LinkedIn headline is a worst practice. Many recruiters clearly want to find people who are actively seeking new employment.

    In fact, if people want to take interim assignments, it’s important they note that some place on their profile (headline or summary) because, based on my mini-study, recruiters do search LinkedIn for those hires.

    Bruce, thank you for surfacing this topic.

    Donna

  5. Hi Donna,

    Awesome post! I’m always amazed at the amount of easily avoidable mistakes people make on linkedin. I’m pretty sure you nailed most of them!

    I also think that in addition to making use of the available space and using click bait I always tell my clients to think about the person reading on the other side of the computer. Too often I see profiles that don’t look like they were created by a human, just another borg off of the “professional services” or “Public Relations” assembly line.

    Really great stuff as always!

    I’m going to tweet it out to my followers right now!

    Best,

    JL

  6. Dear Ms Svei first of all thanks for sharing such a crystal clear article.
    Recently I read many similar posts on this subject, but this is the first time I better understand the situation and the examples you brought in are very appropriate.
    Still not being of English mother tongue, sometime I find it hard to condensate and have the headline of my profile the very best to make it visible. What would you suggest in my case? Any improvement is very welcome.

  7. Hi Giorgio,

    Thank you for your kind words. I’d probably lead with “Construction Engineer/Manager” on your LinkedIn headline.

    Donna

  8. Hi Donna,

    Thanks so much for this great action-oriented post on how to improve one’s linkedin headline. You inspired me to change mine from merely listing “key words” to optimizing my keywords + adding in the click bait.

    It helped me realize that I needed to improve my headline not only in terms of its content (it had been boring) but it had also been a bit distracting/confusing in terms of where I’d like to go for the future.

    Here is how my headline changed:
    Before: Social Worker | Individual & Group Therapy | Social Media | Financial Social Work
    After: Social Worker | Therapist | Consultant | Transforms Clients’ Lives

    Thanks again!

  9. Love it! Thank you Dorlee.

    It would be great to see revisions from more people…

    Donna

  10. Hi Donna,

    This is a really interesting article. After reading it, I did change mine from my degree title to :

    Technical and Analytical | Aspiring Analyst | Recent Graduate | Seeking opportunities in the Bay Area

    What do you think?

  11. Hi Danica,

    I think your most important keyword is Analyst, but what type of analyst? I would lead with something like “Financial Analyst” — or whatever your specialty is.

    Good luck with your job search!

    Donna

  12. Hello Donna,

    Congratulations for this fantastic article!
    After doing exhaustive online research on what is the way to position yourself as a job seeker on Linkedin, I can say this article is clearly the best one I´ve read.
    I would really appreciate your help in this regard. Im struggling a little bit with my headline.

    I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing & CRM in a top french business school. As part of the program I have to complete a 4 to 6 month internship next year from May 2016 onwards. My background is on automotive marketing and I would like to find an internship in this same industry preferably in an automotive brand.

    My questions are:
    – What is the correct order for these keywords? “MSc in Digital Marketing & CRM Candidate”, “Master’s in Digital Marketing & CRM Candidate” or “Master’s Candidate in Digital Marketing & CRM?
    – Should I add Class of 2016?
    – Should I add also the name of the school (IÉSEG School of Management)?
    – And the most important aspect, how can I sell myself as a job seeker? Many experts suggest not to add anything like “proactively seeking”, “open to job opportunies”, “looking for a job”…

    In short, how can I best present myself as a master’s candidate who will be available for job opportunites from May 2016? Find below my current headline. What would be your suggested headline to be easily found by recruiters? Thanks a lot for sharing your expertise.

    MSc in Digital Marketing & CRM Candidate | Class of 2016 | Actively seeking an opportunity in automotive marketing

  13. Hi Luis,

    Thank you for your kind words. I help my clients with the types of questions you have asked here. Your headline is good, but could be even stronger from an SEO perspective — check out the post again.

    Donna

  14. Other no-nos?
    A LinkedIn profile that has no photo, or a photo of some clip art/abstract object/something that no relevance to who you are~

    Marshall, Thank you. Donna

  15. Very helpful info! Thanks for sharing Bob. I’ll be using this guide to spruce up my headline.

    Heather, Thank you. Donna

  16. Hi Donna

    I have been doing some reading on how I could change my headline for a couple of days now and I can honestly say this post is one of the most informative posts I have come across. Thank you.

    I am in the process of a career transition and find writing a headline difficult. What makes it so complex for me is that I am currently undertaking a certificate program in immigration law which I hope to graduate this year (this does not make me a lawyer) and I am seeking employment in this field (currently unemployed). I have worked in the travel and tourism industry all my life and previously worked in consular visas (non-immigrant visa and passport specialist).
    Here are some of my attempts:

    Travel visas & passports |Aspiring immigration specialist | Certificate immigration Law 2016 | Seeking opportunities in the Washington DC area.

    Consular Services | Aspiring immigration consultant| CUNY immigration Law 2016 | Seeking opportunities in Washington DC.

    I have done many versions however I feel they are far too lengthy, what would you suggest? Thank so much for sharing your expertise and for your time.

    Hi Niki,

    How about:

    Immigration Specialist | Consular Services | Visas & Passports | Seeking Washington, DC Opportunity

    That seems to hit your keywords and show your interest in WDC.

    You can add your certificate to your Education section.

    Donna

  17. Hi Donna,

    This was very helpful since I’m in the midst of seeking new job opportunities (been on a sabbatical). However, I am a bit confused on where the “headline” is. Is it the first part of your profile description? Or is the headline under “current position”? I’m wanting to make sure that I provide keywords in the appropriate section where LinkedIn searches will check.

    My career is primarily in Medical Device or Healthcare IT sales. So for my headline – I put the following:
    Highly Competitive ~ Medical Device Sales ~ Healthcare IT Sales ~ President’s Club ~ Consistently Top Ranked/Exceeded Quotes

    What are your thoughts on the above? Also, I’m only interested in high level sales positions since I have over 20+ years experience. If “experienced” isn’t a good word – is there something else you’d recommend?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!
    Melanie

  18. Hi Melanie,

    If you look at my LI profile, it’s the part that reads “Executive Resume Writer | LinkedIn Profiles | Interview Coach | Retained Executive Search Consultant.”

    Please check your headline against the tips in the article. It’s good, but would benefit from some SEO tweaking.

    Donna

  19. What is the best title to put to search new opportunities when we are employed

  20. Hi Mohamed,

    If your employer knows you’re looking, look at the conversation Bruce Bixler and I had (above in the comments).

    If not, don’t tip your hand. Just make yourself as findable and clickable as possible.

    Donna

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