How to Get a Great LinkedIn Profile, Part 2 – Getting the headline right

How to Get a Great LinkedIn Profile, Part 2 – Getting the headline right

How important is writing a professional headline for your LinkedIn profile?

Extremely, says Karen Rosenzweig, Social Media Coach at One Smart Cookie Marketing.

Karen_Rosenzweig_“LinkedIn headlines have the ability to portray the value you offer clients. They give a sense of what you do,”she says. “Its main job  is to get people to click on your name and find out more. That’s it. Once they are there, they  can learn more about you and how you might be able to help them.”

Here’s why your LinkedIn Headline matters:

Any search you conduct in LinkedIn will turn out a page of results showing three things.

These are  –

  1. the username,
  2. profile photo, and
  3. headline of every person who matches your search terms.

This means that, (with your LinkedIn photo) your headline is your first-glance selling point. It’s your tagline or even your clickbait.

“Your headline shows up with your profile photo in several major places on LinkedIn,” says Rosenzweig. “It shows up in search results.  When you post an update. It also shows up when you ask someone to connect with you. It has a big impact on whether people will want to connect with you. So it is worth spending time on.  This is where you can  set yourself apart from your competition.”

Of course, you can’t change your name and you can only change your image to a certain degree, you have full control over your headline.

 This is where clients or employers decide whether or not they want to click through to your profile.

We asked Jörgen Sundberg, the founder and CEO of the social and digital marketing agency, Link Humans. He says your LinkedIn headline “is your 120 character hook to people finding you. It should be about what you do as opposed to what you are.”




3 Easy Tips to Brainstorming a Professional Headline

  • Find Some Inspiration

Look to other headlines not to steal, but to be inspired.

Some – like designer, Giacomo Bracci Helsen’s – demonstrate the use of both the left and right brain. Others – like publicist, Joan Stewart’s, are straightforward. They deliver you directly and efficiently the value they can offer your company.


Still others, like Glenn Le Santo’s beautifully artistic, “cut me and I bleed content,” or Tony Giovannini’s curiously mysterious, “secret agent at UTV Ignition Games,” entice the browser through their demonstrative talent and obscurity, respectively. To put it simply, some LinkedIn profiles really know what they’re doing, so look to them for guidance. Here are 10 examples to inspire you when writing a professional headline.

“Have fun with it!” Rosenzweig advises. “Show some personality and originality, and compel us to click on your profile to learn more. Here are some great headlines that I love: ‘Ridding the world of stupid promotional products one keychain at a time’ (Promotional Products) and ‘Making you look like a rock star to your clients!’ (Send Out Cards).

  • Decide How You See Yourself

“Your headline is critical, because it tells us how you see yourself,” says Liz Ryan, Forbes contributor and former Fortune 500 HR SVP. So, first and foremost, you must ask the eternal question, “Who am I?” and look internally for the answer. Because for an authentic self-brand to work, it must be genuine and truly you.

  • Nail Down Your Brand & Your Tone

Your headline shouldn’t necessarily be your job title. It can be spicy and reveal your personality. “Maybe your brand is a little different from the title your employer bestowed on you,” Ryan says.

If you are so incredibly multitalented that you don’t even know where to begin – let alone to sum up in 120 characters – engineer a headline that encompasses all that you do. For instance, if you’re a digital marketing expert as well as an entrepreneur, invent a headline that tells site-visitors you are qualified in both areas, like “Digital Marketing Guru and Startup Superstar.” Prospective employers are intrigued by confidence, so don’t hesitate to toot your own horn.

  • Be Clear

With only 120 characters to define what it is that you do, you must choose every word carefully. “Probably the biggest challenge of creating a LinkedIn profile is maximising every field, ensuring all your descriptions and language present you in the best light,” says Andrew Hutchinson, a social media consultant and freelance writer from Melbourne. In his article on firebrandtalent, he notes, “It’s important to do whatever you can to ensure you’re found, but also to stand out and have visitors stick around to read about the great things you can offer.”

And to do that, you must account for popular keywords related to your field. LinkedIn searches are built upon keyword queries, so when it comes to the right people finding your profile, plugging in essential keywords is necessary. And with your headline heavily influencing this, use all tools at your disposal.

One of those tools is LinkedIn’s comparison tool. The site’s search function allows you to research the popular keywords in your industry. Simply choose your industry, click on the edit option of your headline and choose “see what other users in your industry are using.”

“Use phrases you want to be known for and found for (i.e. marketing strategist, restaurant marketing, social media coach) instead of the default job title headline,” says Rosenzweig. “This will help you show up higher in a search for those terms and will more accurately relay your areas of expertise.”

You might also consider navigating the jobs tab of LinkedIn and searching for advertised positions in your industry. This will allow you to use some of the keywords that are being applied to your position, which will enable you to pop up in relevant searches. For instance, if employers are searching profiles for the term “Digital Marketer,” they may not find you if you’ve listed yourself as “Digital Marketing Expert.”

  • Fit In & Stand Out

Now that you’re using common keywords and fitting in with industry expectations, it’s time to stand out. Keywords bring people to your profile in a list of all other profiles with the same keywords, but once you’re part of that list, you must give seekers a reason to click on your profile. Entice them. Make them want to know more about you.

Rosenzweig advises, “Create a benefit-focused headline, which is the most catchy style, as it allows you to boldly state how you are going to help a potential client. This is very useful in helping you stand out in a sea of lookalike competitors (i.e. instead of “insurance agent”, use “helping you cover your assets”).”

Just like any other headline, you shouldn’t answer all of their questions upfront; the headline should be open-ended, so to speak, so that they want to read all about it. Use the inspiration found during your brainstorming session to stand out.

  • Don’t Default – Distill Your Work Experience

If you simply don’t have a single creative bone in your body, the most important thing to remember is not to default. “By default, LinkedIn selects your current job title to fill that space which can often be simple and plain – Owner, ABC Company – and not attract potential clients to you,” says Rosenzweig. Instead of defaulting, consider following a template if you aren’t inspired.

Career strategist, Michelle Evans, provides the following template. “{Keyword/subject matter expert area} who {does what} for {client, company, audience, project}. {Proof point}.” There are many templates out there that can be used in a pinch, so don’t get lazy and let your headline go to waste.




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