Your LinkedIn headline is critical for two reasons. When recruiters, employers, and others are reviewing profiles, you are relying on those precious 120 characters to define you. Secondly, keywords are critical if you want to be found by the employers and recruiters that utilize LinkedIn’s talent sourcing tools. How do you break through the noise? Writing a crisp, keyword-rich headline that defines your value is a great start.
Is It Alright to Use the LinkedIn Default Headline?
It is better to control your brand and your destiny by crafting a headline message that defines the value you offer to your future employer and clients. The LinkedIn default headline merely displays your current or most recent job. If you want to get found and also make a strong initial impression on those that visit your LinkedIn profile page, write a headline that defines your brand and value.
Are Keywords Important?
Keyword matches help you to be found through automated searches. If you write a LinkedIn profile page that reflects your top skills, experience, accomplishments, and education as they relate to your target job, you will naturally include the right keywords. The secret is aligning your value with the requirements of your target employer. The same applies to your headline. To be effective, research your target job/employers and distill your value down to a few words to showcase your brand.
Don’t Waste Your Words
Your headline real estate is valuable. As of today, the headline space limitation is 120 characters. Cliché descriptors, such as “Dynamic,” “Energetic,” or “Self-Motivated” are not breakthrough words. They don’t show your unique value and furthermore, they are rarely used as keywords.
What Separates You From the Crowd?
In other words, what makes you special? What is your claim to fame? Perhaps you have expertise that is in high demand in the job market. Maybe you earned a degree from an Ivy League school. Maybe you earned awards or launched a top product. Consider including those unique selling points in your headline.
“Seeking Opportunities…” Is That a Smart Headline?
There are some bloggers and advisors who suggest special tactics for unemployed individuals. One such tactic is to use the headline to advertise employment availability. You might see headlines, such as these: “Seeking opportunities in pharmaceutical sales.” This is not a smart marketing strategy. There are two reasons why I (and other experts) disagree with this tactic. 1.) This is defensive and has an air of desperation. 2.) This weakens your value.
The elements of the headline are simple. Describe your value as it relates to your target job. Use terms that distinguish you as qualified or exceptional. If you would like help with your LinkedIn profile headline, contact me. I would be happy to help.