Posted on Nov 16, 2012

Is your LinkedIn Headline helping or hurting you?

In a recent blog post, I showed you how to check to see who’s been looking at your LinkedIn Profile and how to see how many people have looked at your Profile. If you notice that you’re not getting as many Profile views as you’d like, you might want to take a look at your LinkedIn Headline.

A poorly designed LinkedIn Headline will hurt your chances of being found by the right people. If you’re a service provider, job seeker, or in the market for new clients, you need to put some thought into your headline.

Your LinkedIn Headline should contain the term or terms that a person would type in to find you. And not just any person, but the “right” person. The person who will hire you or purchase your products or services.

In addition, your LinkedIn Headline should describe the benefit(s) of what you do or what your product or services do. In other words, it should sell you.

Now before you take my advice to the extreme and dub yourself “Lord Ronald, Senior Leader of the Common-folk,” here are a few tips:

1. Cover your bases. Your LinkedIn Headline is one of the few searchable areas of your Profile. It also has a high impact on the LinkedIn search algorithm that returns results in People Searches, so use multiple keywords that your customers or potential employers would use to find you (to ensure you’re showing up in as many searches as possible). For example, my LinkedIn title is:


I use three terms to describe my services so that I’m found by a larger number of potential clients.

If you are looking for a position that may be referred to by more than one term, like Information Technology (IT) Manager, list the multiple terms in your headline.

NOTE:  By the way, your LinkedIn Headline does not have to contain the exact title that you hold at your company. In many cases, companies are vague and don’t describe what do (e.g., Administration Associate, Operations Team Lead, Process Consultant). Here’s how an IT Manager could list their title to increase the number of LinkedIn People searches they appear in:

 IT Manager / Information Technology Manager / Information Systems Manager

Notices in both examples, full titles are used in between the backslashes. My title is not listed as “Executive, Leadership, and Career Coach”, because a potential client would never type that into a People Search. They would type in either one of the three titles.

TIP:  If don’t know what job titles a recruiter or hiring manager might type in to find people like you, look at applicable job listings on a jobs website like to see which terms recruiters are using to advertise jobs you would be interested in. Sometimes different industries have different titles for the same job. If you are open to working in more than one industry, be sure to include the job titles that different industries use.

2. Adjust your resume. If you choose a job title to include in your LinkedIn Headline that is different from the one on your resume, my suggestions is to change your resume. Human Resources professionals often look for consistency between a candidate’s LinkedIn Profile and their resume. If you are questioned later about a title difference reported by your company in a reference check later, you can explain that the title you listed more accurately describes your job duties than the one assigned by your company.

3. Highlight the Benefit. After you list your potential job titles, let people know exactly what you can offer them. Identify the benefit(s) you offer as an employee or the benefits of your products or services.

Example 1:

Let Me Help You Access Your Power & Influence & Resilience!

With this sentence I am letting leaders know that I can help them have more impact on the organization and that I can help them bounce back when they encounter setbacks. I found that most leaders need this kind of support.

Example 2:

I am an IT Leader who will anticipate internal customer needs and changes in the industry and technology, and implement the solutions before the problems happen.

This LinkedIn member has let his Profile viewers know that if they hire him, he will work proactively to minimize the problems and keep the business running smoothly. He clearly highlights the benefits he has to offer to potential employers.

So now that you have the tips, it’s time to update your LinkedIn Headline. And remember: you can measure the impact of the changes you make by watching to see if your number of Profile views goes up. You can even keep tweaking your Headline to determine which terms help you get found most often.

And don’t forget to keyword optimize the rest of your Profile for LinkedIn People searches!

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