Here’s the deal: you are boring…..by default. Yep, LinkedIn forces you to think conventionally by automatically inserting your (boringly functional and unremarkable) job Title in your prominent and most widely seen Headline space. This is a problem if you think about yourself in branding terms. If you are the brand, your Headline is your brand’s slogan. Now ask yourself are you proud of your slogan? Is it what you’re all about? Does it actually achieve anything? If the answer to those questions is no – there is something you can and should do about it. Come up with something unique, something so stunningly original that makes people think, smile or better still, act. Here are 3 of the best ‘stunningly original’ LinkedIn Headlines I’ve seen in a long while.
What you’ve actually done by making the Headline your own, is fourfold: (1) you’ve taken control of your brand (2) you’ve put yourself in the audience’s shoes (3) you’ve stuck your head above the corporate parapet (the vast majority of LinkedIn users will remain boring) and (4) you’ve sold yourself and not just your job. Many LinkedIn head honchos are using slogans rather than functions, that ought to tell you something. The only information people see when browsing a long list of other LinkedIn users is your (tiny) photograph and your Headline. You should be doing everything possible to make them click on your full Profile.
Just because you have 120 juicy character spaces to devour in your Headline, don’t be a glutton. The shorter, the better. Copywriters know this; they have perfected the art of using the right words in a short, powerful sequence. How economical and persuasive can you be? Long Headlines (80+ Characters) are truncated in the default ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile View’ and you have even less space on the mobile app, so that’s another good reason to keep it brief, if you can.
But What About Keywords?
If you want to be found by recruiters, having the relevant Keyword in the right place is important. If your Profile is not 100% complete, LinkedIn penalizes you by lowering your search rank, ignoring your Keyword(s), rendering you invisible. The LinkedIn algorithm looks for Keyword(s) in the following places: Name, Headline, Company Name, Job Title and Skills. The LinkedIn Recruiter Package ($8k per year) is Keyword-driven and has 22 custom search fields (incl. Industry, School, Field Of Study, Past Company, Years Of Experience, Seniority Level and Groups). If people don’t have access to LinkedIn Recruiter, they use LinkedIn search. LinkedIn search is ‘personalized’ – it provides search results which are unique to the searcher and based mainly on ‘relevance’ to your network (showing your 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree connections in that order when you search). A lot of people tend to look on Google first. If you win in Google (people find you by searching on your Keywords or Name) you don’t have to win in LinkedIn. It’s as simple as that. What if they don’t know your Name? You’ll eventually need to win in Skills. How do you win in Skills? Endorsements. How many of you have less than 50 Skills listed on your Profile? Yeah, that’s going to be a problem going forward.
Make your Headline work for you. Think of your Headline as something that gets you noticed and opens doors, as a value statement, as the future, not the present. It’s your opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Own it. Words are powerful, they change lives. Bryan, Mike and Cindy already know this.
Finally: having a stunningly original Headline is important but there are 21 other Sections on your Profile that you need to understand and decide whether/how to use. LinkedIn wants you to share as much professional data as possible, it’s the main reason they can charge Recruiters big bucks. If you don’t share data, by completing your LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn can make you invisible in search. I’ve written an article which explains how to complete your Profile: “Why You Should COMPLETE Your LinkedIn PROFILE”.
If you liked this article, you’ll love my customized consulting service. I’ve helped many professionals to achieve their full potential on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not somewhere you paste your resumé, sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s a complicated and nuanced website portal that requires action, consistency, insight, branding strategy and marketing know-how. What you don’t know – could hurt you. Whether it’s getting more traffic on your Profile, engaging with a stunningly good Summary or refreshing your LinkedIn presence and brand – share your goals with me and I’ll help you to achieve all of them via LinkedIn.
Contact me now: firstname.lastname@example.org / 773.469.6600 to get started.
By Andy Foote
p.s I find it interesting that all of my stunners opted for an unusual black background picture (most LinkedIn pics are white/light colored). Some of you eagle-eyed readers may be wondering why “shit” is highlighted yellow in Cindy’s Headline. This is because I actually searched on that word, don’t ask why – let’s just say that I go to great lengths on this blog to bring you truly original content!