LinkedIn Headline Examples

10 Easy Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Headline (with Examples)

What should your LinkedIn headline say when you’re looking for a job?

That’s a good question.

The answer requires job seekers to think like recruiters because those are the people who use LinkedIn to fill jobs.

This post will help you do that and also give you some LinkedIn headline examples.

Read on to learn about 10 ways to help recruiters find you via your headline and/or be delighted enough by it to click through to read your profile. 

1. Start with the Job Title You Want

First, remember that LinkedIn is a database.

Then, know that your headline has more SEO power than any other field on your profile. Beyond that, the first words in your headline have more SEO power than subsequent words.

BTW, if you’re wondering, “What is LinkedIn SEO?” after reading the paragraph above, let me paraphrase Search Engine Land’s excellent description of SEO here:

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your LinkedIn profile to increase its visibility for recruiters’ searches.

The better visibility your profile has in recruiters’ search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and inspire them to contact you.

Now, think like a recruiter. If you’re looking for an Accounting Manager, you’re going to search LinkedIn for the term “Accounting Manager.”

Thus, it makes sense to start your headline with the job title you want.

Here are a few more job title examples:

  1. CEO
  2. Manufacturing Vice President
  3. Supply Chain Director
  4. Marketing Manager
  5. Financial Analyst

The majority of LinkedIn’s members don’t understand how headline SEO works. So, if you lead with the job title you want, you’re much more likely to get found for those opportunities than the people who haven’t thought like recruiters.

2. Showcase Your Expertise

Next, showcase your in-demand expertise.

That can take many forms.

Here are some examples of additional job titles and expertise these people might have:

  1. Non-Executive Director / SaaS Start-Ups
  2. Chief Financial Officer / SEC Companies
  3. Clinical Trials Director / Digital Transformation
  4. Scrum Master / SAFe Agile Certified
  5. Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) / Talent Acquisition

Again, think like a recruiter. If you’re looking for an HRBP who can also lead a talent acquisition center of excellence, you’re likely to search on “HRBP” and “talent acquisition.”

Thus, if you have those keywords in your headline, LinkedIn’s algorithm will push your profile up in recruiters’ search results over people who bury that information deeper in their profiles.

3. Add Clickbait to Your Headline

Next, add some clickbait to your headline to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

How do you find clickbait?

Go to job postings that interest you and look at what the deliverables are. Well-written job postings make deliverables explicit. Others leave it up to you to try to figure it out.

Here are some full examples of LinkedIn headlines for job seekers (title + in-demand expertise + clickbait):

  1. Chief Revenue Officer / FinTech / Hypergrowth
  2. E-Commerce Vice President / Merchandising / Amazon & Alibaba
  3. Director, Pharmaceuticals / Vaccine Product Portfolio / P&L Owner / Double-Digit Growth
  4. Project Manager/ PMP / 95%+ On-Time & Within Budget
  5. Biochemist / Food Industry / 12 Patents
What is the Character Limit for LinkedIn Headlines?

You might have noticed I don’t try to use all 220 characters LinkedIn allows for headlines.

This post explains that recruiters often look at pages of condensed search results that truncate headlines to about 70 characters. Thus, be sure your headline says something right away that makes them want to read your profile and talk with you.

Plus, Google also frequently truncates your public profile’s headline in its search results.

Rather than writing past 70 characters, I try to hit keywords I know recruiters will search for and then dangle some irresistible catnip for them, all within a character string I’m confident they’ll actually see.

Also, I don’t like how 220 characters render on a profile; it’s a headline, not a paragraph.

4. Customize Your LinkedIn Headline

Next, I just looked at 100 LinkedIn search results. None of the headlines went beyond showing the people’s job titles and employers. None. Boring.

And an incredible opportunity for the job seeker who uses these tips to make their profile more compelling to recruiters than that!

5. Use Correct Spelling

Now, let’s look at avoiding some common profile turn-offs.

First, proofread your headline. Nothing says “don’t click through” to a recruiter more than misspelled words.

I lied. Misspelled names are worse. Ask Bbob.

6. Capitalize Appropriately

Again, proofread your headline. Weird capitalizations make recruiters worry that the person wears stripes with plaids.

Would you click through to a profile with this headline:

instructional designer at Washington University

7. Avoid Mysterious Acronyms

It’s OK to say, “Corporate Counsel, IBM,” followed by some irresistible clickbait.

It’s not OK to say, “Corporate Counsel, CDR.”

Because CDR isn’t a recognizable brand, the acronym implies that the writer doesn’t think about their audience when they communicate. That’s not a good signal for someone to send via their LinkedIn headline.

8. Banish the Word “Experienced” from Your LinkedIn Headline

When I recruited, I wanted to find candidates who could say something more compelling about themselves than “Experienced.”

While “experienced” is the least meaningful word that anyone who has been working for more than a few years can add to their headline, I have a list of several other baddies here.

9. Should I Put “Open to Work” in My Linked Headline?

While people used to mention their availability in their headlines, you don’t have to use valuable headline real estate for that anymore.

If you want to make recruiters immediately aware that you’re looking, use the Open to Work feature LinkedIn launched in 2020.

Here’s a great little video about it:

 

As you saw, you can flag yourself to recruiters as “looking.” If they’re willing to interview unemployed candidates, it will help you get found.

If they aren’t, it might affect your position in search engine results. To prevent that, be sure you show yourself as currently employed on your profile.

You can learn more about how the LinkedIn search algorithm favors the employed here.

10.  Do a Personal Brand Check

Finally, look at your headline and ask yourself, “Is this a good summary of my personal brand?”

If you say “yes,” your work is done.

If not, study the LinkedIn headline examples, think about your brand, ask yourself what’s missing, and do some wordsmithing. However, be careful to retain your SEO optimization.

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.

LinkedIn Headline Pro Tip

Finally, after you land your new job and you’re adding it to your profile, be aware that LinkedIn automatically updates your headline to your new job title unless you uncheck the box noted below:

So, when you enter your new job, scroll down the “Add experience” section until you find “Update my headline” and uncheck it.

Most people aren’t aware of this. That’s why we see so many headlines that are just people’s job titles.

That “helpful” auto-update is one reason I strongly recommend always taking 2 seconds to capture a .pdf file of your profile before making any changes to it.

That way, if you forget to uncheck the box, you have a record of what your headline looked like before you added your new job, and it’s easy to restore.

Let’s Connect on LinkedIn

Please invite me to connect on LinkedIn here. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.

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© 2015 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 24

  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 Donna – How does this process work with the first word getting high SEO? Do you have a source. That would be helpful.

  4. 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.

  5. Worst practice for a headline “Seeking New(Next) Opportunity” not one keyword! Sounds desparate!

  6. 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.

    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

  7. 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

    Thank you Jon! Donna

  8. 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.

  9. Hi Giorgio,

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

    Donna

  10. 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!

  11. Love it! Thank you Dorlee.

    It would be great to see revisions from more people…

    Donna

  12. 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?

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

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

    Heather, Thank you. Donna

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

  22. 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

  23. Hi Donna,

    Brilliant article! I’ve been reading articles on how to improve my LinkedIn profile and this was definitely the most informative.

    My background is in engineering, but I’m currently involved in marketing, writing, consultancy, data analysis, etc.

    This is what I came up with:

    Engineer | Technical and Analytical | Business Development

    I would love to hear your suggestions. Thank you in advance!

  24. Hi Pri,

    Thank you.

    I’d probably go with Engineer | Analytics | Business Development. Be sure to use those in your Skills & Endorsements section too.

    Donna

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