What should your LinkedIn headline say when you’re looking for a job?
That’s a good question.
The answer requires you to think like recruiters because they use LinkedIn to fill jobs.
This post will help you do that and give you several LinkedIn headline examples.
Read on to learn 10 ways to delight recruiters and convince them to click through to your profile.
1. Start with the Job Title You Want
First, remember that LinkedIn is a database.
Then, know your headline has more SEO power than every field on your profile other than your name.
Beyond that, the first words in your headline have more SEO power than later words.
BTW, if you’re wondering, “What is LinkedIn SEO?” Search Engine Land offers an excellent description of SEO here:
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It means improving your LinkedIn profile to increase its visibility in recruiters’ search results.
The better your visibility, the more likely you will get attention and inspire them to contact you.
Now, think like a recruiter.
If you’re hiring a CFO, you will search LinkedIn for “CFO.”
Thus, starting your headline with the job title you want makes sense.
Here are a few more job title examples:
- Manufacturing Vice President
- Supply Chain Director
- Marketing Manager
- Financial Analyst
Most LinkedIn members don’t understand how headline SEO works.
So, when you lead with the job title you want, you go to the head of the line.
2. Showcase Your Expertise
Next, showcase your in-demand expertise.
That can take many forms.
Here are examples of headlines that use job titles plus expertise:
- Board Member / SaaS Start-Ups
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO) / SEC Companies
- Chief Operating Officer (COO) / Digital Transformation
- Scrum Master / SAFe Agile Certified
- Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) / Talent Acquisition
Again, think like a recruiter. What will you do if you’re looking for an HRBP who can also lead talent acquisition? You’ll search on “HRBP” and “talent acquisition.”
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 the deliverables.
Well-written job postings make deliverables explicit. Others leave it up to you to try to figure it out.
Here are 5 examples of LinkedIn headlines for job seekers (title + expertise + clickbait):
- Chief Revenue Officer / FinTech / Hypergrowth
- E-Commerce Vice President / Merchandising / Amazon & Alibaba
- Director, Pharmaceuticals / Vaccine Product Portfolio / P&L Owner / Double-Digit Growth
- Project Manager/ PMP / 95%+ On-Time & Within Budget
- 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 only see 70 characters of your headline.
Thus, say something right away that makes them want to read your profile and talk with you.
Plus, Google often truncates your public profile’s headline in its search results.
I use keywords I know recruiters will search for, plus a little catnip, all within 70 characters.
Also, 220 characters don’t render well on a profile; it’s supposed to be a headline, not a paragraph.
4. Customize Your LinkedIn Headline
Next, I looked at 100 LinkedIn search results. None of the headlines showed more than the people’s job titles and employers. None. Boring.
What an opportunity for job seekers who make their headlines compelling to recruiters!
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.
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.”
CDR isn’t a recognizable brand. The mystery acronym shows the writer doesn’t think about their audience.
That’s not a good signal for someone to send via their LinkedIn headline.
8. Banish the Word “Experienced” from Your LinkedIn Headline
Recruiters want to find candidates with something more compelling to say than “Experienced.”
You can see a list of more ineffective headline words here.
9. Should I Put “Open to Work” in My Linked Headline?
You don’t have to use valuable headline real estate to say you’re available.
If you want recruiters to know 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.”
Warning: Always show yourself as currently employed on your profile. You can learn more about how the LinkedIn search algorithm favors employed people here.
10. Do a Personal Brand Check
Finally, look at your headline and ask yourself, “Is this a good summary of my brand?”
If you say “yes,” your work is done.
If not, study the LinkedIn headline examples, ask yourself what’s missing, and edit.
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.
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Featured on Career Sherpa
Updated August 2023
© 2015 – 2023, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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