Writing the perfect headline for LinkedIn (with examples for job seekers)
It’s the beginning of a new year and that is traditionally a time in which people tend to look around for new opportunities. LinkedIn is the place to be when it comes to finding a job. However, as we have discussed before it is crucial to have an optimized and complete LinkedIn profile. In this article, we will talk about how you can write a persuasive and professional headline.
What is a headline on LinkedIn?
Your headline on LinkedIn is simply the small area of text that is visible beneath your name on your profile page and when interacting with other users. Every time you create or interact with content on LinkedIn your headline will be visible. The same goes for when people hover over your name on LinkedIn. Naturally, this makes the headline the ideal place to attract attention from recruiters or hiring managers. You only have 120 characters on LinkedIn for your headline. It is almost like some sort of elevator pitch on paper.
How to write a good LinkedIn headline?
When writing your headline on LinkedIn, it is crucial to have a clear vision of what you want to express with your profile and headline. Just like your profile photo, your headline is one of the first things people see on LinkedIn. Therefore, you would want it to align with the message you want to convey to the reader. Whether you want to find a new job, find more prospects or if you are just interested in expanding your network, it is important to keep that in mind when creating your headline.
Writing a good headline for LinkedIn is not easy. As a recruiter, I come across an awful lot of bad headlines. Most of the times it comes down to these common mistakes:
- A headline that is to brief, I often see something along the lines of this: John Doe – Software Developer. This does not invite me to click on your profile and certainly does not tell me anything about your skillset.
- Being too bold and arrogant. Using terms like visionary, out-of-the-box thinker or resourceful are terms that are not easy to prove. Those are terms that fair better when you can elaborate on them in a 1-on-1 interview.
- A headline that screams desperation. Instead of focusing on what you are searching for you should focus on the things you can bring to the table.
- Too many elements and details. Don’t add every job title or hobby you have had in the past but focus on the things you want to achieve in the future.
Avoiding these mistakes will already help you a great deal. But in order to really stand out and create a good headline you need to be aware of three key components:
- Clear job title
Adding your job title is mandatory for everyone. But you shouldn’t just use any job title. Look around on LinkedIn and check which job title is used the most for your position. This is important, as you want to easily be found by recruiters and hiring managers. By using the most common job title you are increasing your visibility within LinkedIn search results. And of course, it also helps in letting readers know where your expertise lies.
- Listing skills and tooling
After your job title, you should write down the skills you possess and the tooling with which you have the most experience. As always, relevance is the key here. When you are a software developer it makes sense to put in hard skills like different programming languages in your headline. Listing soft skills, however, is often less interesting for the position of software developer. Answering questions like ‘What makes me a good software developer?’ and ‘Which languages and tools are I the most competent in?’ will greatly help you when writing your headline. For positions (e.g. recruiters) where soft skills are more important, those should be added instead of hard skills. In the end, keeping in mind how recruiters and hiring managers are searching on LinkedIn will allow you to create a powerful and optimized headline.
- The personal touch
At the end of your headline, it can be a nice touch to add something personal to it. This can relate to a hobby you are dedicated to or just something that really interests you in life. People appreciate a little personal touch. It makes your headline look more personal and it expresses openness and authenticity. You shouldn’t overdo this, of course. Only add things that are suitable on a business social network and to which people can relate.
Examples of good headlines on LinkedIn for job seekers
So far, we have covered all three key components to a good headline on LinkedIn. However, it can still be difficult to create an original and fitting headline. Below you will find examples of headlines that are