What’s the most important part of your LinkedIn profile? (Hint: the answer is in the post title.)
Most folks will spend lots of time and energy into getting that coveted 100% profile completeness. They meticulously fill in their old employments, bio and specialities and feel that the profile is now ready to be unleashed on the world. There is one little field that is often overlooked; the headline.
Why is the LinkedIn headline important?
Your LinkedIn headline is critical as it’s the only customizable personal information people will see of you in listings, group discussions, homefeeds. When you appear in search results for instance, your name, location and headline will be the three visible bits.
Only if your name is Joe Kickass and you are based in a cool place like Trollhattan or Xanadu would people click on your profile. Us normal mortals will have to craft a compelling headline to suck people in.
How do most folks get the LinkedIn headline wrong?
It’s actually very easy to get this wrong, LinkedIn aren’t doing a sterling job at encouraging people to brand themselves (in spite of their recent drives). If you don’t change your headline manually, it will default to your job title and company. Sometimes your job title is self-explanatory but more often it isn’t.
Don’t do this
A bad example would be Consultant at Smith & Smith – consultant can mean anything from kettle engineer to project director. Other variations are Founder (do they still work in the business?) Partner (silent or active?) and Manager (of what?). Smith & Smith is not a household brand and you can’t deduce what they do, this is a typical problem for consultancies, lawyers, accountants and other professional services. All I would think is that they do sound a bit like funeral directors, especially if they add “& Son” at the end.
This is alright
A decent example would be Life Insurance Broker at AIG Insurance – we can pretty much guess what this person does and what they sell. We also recognize the brand in AIG, in spite of recent problems (all publicity is good publicity huh!). What we don’t know is who the target audience is, could be individuals and it could be corporate policies.
How to really do it
The best example would be where you manually go in and change the headline to a marketing phrase that is relevant to your target audience. If you have a personal brand statement you’ll want to use it here. Helping Farmers Sell Truckloads of Turnips is a good start which can be ever more targeted. Helping British Farmers Sell Truckloads of Class I Turnips is even better. By reading this we instantly know what the person does, whom they do it for and that they have at least some sense of humor.
5 LinkedIn headline tips
- First think value proposition – how do you provide value? Be as specific as possible here and remember the old saying: “the nicher, the richer”.
- Think target audience – whom do you provide value for and who will read this? It’s not always the end customer that is the decision maker.
- Unique selling point – you are likely to be stacked up against your competitors and you had better have your USP in the headline already to stand out.
- Now think keywords, pepper your headline with the keywords that you think people will do searches for. The more technical terms here the better (software, standards, certifications etc).
- Finally, think memorable. Your greatest challenge online is to be remembered so be creative and/or funny so that your headline sticks with the people that matter.
Sounds great, how do I change my headline?
What’s your LinkedIn headline? Please share it here!