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.
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?
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?
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 pet LinkedIn headline worst practices? 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 email@example.com for more information.
Updated June 2017