Every section of your LinkedIn profile is important, but your headline can play a bigger role than you think. As with any headline it needs to grab attention and encourage viewers to find out more.
Your headline is one of the first things people see when they come across your profile. Within ‘search results’ your name, photo and headline are shown and it’s on this information whether viewers decide to it any further. It’s important to bear in mind that your headline is also shown on search engines results of LinkedIn pages.
It’s a really powerful tool and people often use a headline description when they’re searching for people. For many it’s a tool that allows you to properly brand yourself:
‘It will not only help establish your professional image, but it will help potential new connections and employers understand what it is that you have to offer and why they should connect with you and look at your profile.” Don Goodman
Your headline can be used to;
· Promote yourself and attract attention
· Offer information on your experiences and your career
· Show your brand statement, marketing message or expertise
· Explain yourself and what you offer
Therefore, your LinkedIn Headline shouldn’t be overlooked and you should maximise every opportunity LinkedIn gives you to present yourself well. For many “it’s your headline that stands out as the most important element – your key opportunity to make a positive first impression and entice the reader to want to know more.” Firebrand
This is the first hurdle and can lead to the next step, so take the opportunity to show yourself in the best light.
By default your headline is your current job title. LinkedIn automatically generates this, but you don’t have to use this and you can define yourself any way you want. You are able to change the headline, inventing your own that best describes you and how you want to be seen by others. A lot of people don’t realise that you can edit your headline, but it is something that should be taken advantage of, maximising the impact of your headline. You have 120 characters to use to tell viewers who you are and why they should visit your profile.
By moving away from the generic job title headline you immediately make your profile standout, the majority of LinkedIn users don’t customize their headline, so by making this small change you’re already showing something new. Your job title might not fully show your expertise and potential impact, so you shouldn’t waste opportunities with a plain job title that doesn’t show anything about you. With your headline you want to be able to show your professional strengths straight away and the default headline can be too vague. When you edit your headline you can build it to suit you exactly and you have 120 characters to refine your career experience and make an impact.
Now that you’re convinced that your LinkedIn headline really is important it’s time to have a think about what you should include.
· Keywords – keywords can encourage people to click-through to your profile and make you search-optimized
· Make sure your headline standouts and captivates viewers. You want to immediately grab attention and get them to stop and look at you
· Specify a job title that you can be identified with, use the one that people will search for and that is commonly associated with your responsibilities
· Use your headline to fully show your experience, showcasing your speciality and value. Be specific about what you can do
· Consider your target audience and speak directly to them
· Consider being creative and making your headline memorable by showing your personality
· Underline the opportunities you create, the problems you solve and show what you can do for them
· Make them want to find out more, make it intriguing and encourage them to click-through to your profile
· It sounds simple, but no misspellings!
· Use descriptive words that accurately illustrate your professional self
Your headline should provide viewers with a short, concise statement of who you are and how you can help them. Make use of keywords and, ultimately, encourage people to move on to your full profile.
The perfect Headline can take a couple of attempts to get right, so do your research. Have a look around and note headlines that you like, highlight certain points that make you click-through, take stock of the words and phrases that build credibility – that show the person to be a valuable resource - and similarly note headlines that don’t work. You could take advantage of LinkedIn’s built-in comparison tool; it shows you what others in your industry are calling themselves. Use all these different headlines for inspiration and then work on your own headline.
Every part of your LinkedIn profile is important and, even though it’s small, you should never overlook your headline. Use it to showcase your expertise, standout from others and encourage people to read your full profile – this is your chance to make a glowing first impression.