Your Linkedin headline matters!

If you’ve got a Linkedin profile (which you should!), one way to increase your views is to include a great headline.

Just in case you’re not sure what I’m referring to, the headline is the space below your name which allows for up to 120 characters. That’s characters – not words.  That means, you don’t have a lot of space to get your point across.

Why your headline is so important

It’s one of the first things that the viewer sees when they land on your page.

It’s situated below the images (the bannner photo and your head shot) and your name. This is key real estate, so anything you put in this area must grab attention of the reader, especially the headline.

The headline plays an important part in how the Linkedin algorithms search for profiles based on the type of queries they get. The human will enter certain keywords in the search string to pull up the kind of profiles they are looking for, whether it’s a certain type of talent or a product/service.

But having a headline isn’t enough – it must be created strategically. Whether or not your profile comes up in a search is largely dependent on how you’ve written your headline. It’s the content that counts.

This is why you might have to try out a few headlines before you settle on something that’s effective in terms of generating the right kind of interest.

Here’s a look at how the headline works:

The more you optimize your headline, the more your profile will come up in searches.

The more searches your profile comes up in, the more views you get.

The more views you get, the more likely you will attract the kind of opportunities you are looking for (i.e. business opportunity or job opportunity).

A fully optimized headline determines who reaches out to you

If you want to attract job interviews (which are the precursor to landing the job) or you want to attract customers to buy your product/service, you must ensure your headline has been fully optimized.

But what does “fully optimized” mean?

It means that it needs to contain enough of the appropriate content that is of interest to your intended audience (a.k.a. “target market”, “target audience” or just plain “target”).

When I mean content, I’m talking about the actual words and the message that they communicate.

If you’re looking to attract interviews, then the message you express depends on the kind of job opportunity you are targeting.

The more niche you go, the better. Creating a headline that is too general and not finely targeted will deliver a diluted message that likely won’t attract anyone.

The goal of your headline is to attract your target opportunity by appealing to the target audience (ie. Hiring authorities) to reach out to you although you should be actively engaged in growing your network on a regular basis.

A strong Linkedin headline will help you do two key things:

#1:  Come up in searches that are performed by your intended target market (i.e. hiring managers, recruiters, HR or potential customers)

#2:  Sell yourself and/or your services/product by communicating the value of you and/or your product/service

A weak headline will either get you no interest or the wrong kind. Neither are good.

Your headline’s content depends on your end game

Are you looking for a job?

Are you looking to sell your product or service?

Or do you just want to position yourself for future opportunities because you’re not actively in search or selling mode?

Your headline must appeal to whoever your target is.

For instance, if you’re a jobseeker your target audience/market is ultimately the hiring manager, recruiter, or HR.

What are they looking for in a candidate?

What information and words are going to attract them?

How can you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

To be honest, there are probably dozens of different headlines you can create. There’s never just one way, but there are some things you must include and keep in mind. This actually makes it more complicated, since there isn’t one simple formula. It’s kind of a “it depends” scenario.

To make it easier to figure out what to do, let’s first look at the top mistakes people make with their Linkedin headlines.

What NOT to do

Don’t use the default headline. This is the headline that you’re given when you set up your account. Unless you create a custom one, the default is your job title and employer. Not only is that boring but it doesn’t sell you or your value whatsoever.

There are things you should not say. These are words and phrases such as “Unemployed”, “Seeking/Looking for new opportunities”, “Available for hire” or anything of that nature.

There’s nothing wrong with being unemployed and/or actively looking. In fact, some hiring authorities target people who are actively looking.

Don’t waste those valuable 120 characters with your current employment status which can be addressed in other ways in your profile. You can use Linkedin’s Open Candidate feature to alert employers that you are looking for another opportunity.

The fact is MOST employers use Linkedin to source and secure candidates. So, if you want to be the one selected for the interview, your headline must be good enough to make you stand out from your competitors (not unlike your résumé).

Now, your job search doesn’t entirely hinge on your headline, but since Linkedin is the go-to platform to find candidates and your headline is really the first thing that the viewer sees, it does bear a lot of weight and should be a key consideration.

Headline tips

Your headline can be a phrase or a collection of words or a combo of both and can include any of these things:

     ☛ Important keywords that someone would use in a search string

☛ Some kind of value message in terms of an accomplishment or how you help stakeholders.  This is like a mini sales pitch.

☛ Numbers to quantify your contribution ($, #, %). This gives some evidence and makes it more compelling. It can also help you distinguish yourself from your competitors when you include specific kinds of information especially if it unique to YOU.

The trick is to create a headline that captures a range of opportunities without being too general. Remember to try to go as “niche” as possible.

Examples of different types of headlines:

Business Transformation Architect ★ Change Management ★ Continuous Improvement ★ Process Automation ★ Team Leadership
ACME Award Winner | Driving business optimization in the widget industry from product development to delivery
Operations Leader – Leading widget teams through crisis intervention, business transformation & performance enhancement
VP Operations | Drove business transformation in the widget sector | $5MM in savings and $75MM in new sales in 2019

Get some help with your headline!

Every person’s situation is unique, so there is no one way to create a headline. Just start writing as many as you can using different formats and then pick the one that resonates with you the most and try it out.

If you’re not sure where to start or you’ve created a few headlines and aren’t sure which one to go with, you can get my expert advice by engaging in The Look Over by clicking on this link.  It’s the best $27 you’ll ever spend for 15 minutes of my customized feedback.

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