Not just what are you doing with your headline – but also do you know what your headline is doing for you professionally?
There are fundamentally 3 different types of headline on LinkedIn:
- The job description (default)
- The multi-job description
- The slogan
The vast majority of LinkedIn users still have (1). In other words they just stuck with their job title which also became their headline by default. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, exactly what it says on the tin. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve recently observed a popular trend on LinkedIn, I call it the ‘multi-job description’ headline. Let me show you.
Many users have decided to squeeze multiple job titles, acronyms and areas of expertise using separators, most commonly the | vertical line (also called pipe, piping symbol, Sheffer stroke, vertical slash, think colon or divider line) into the headline.
I see a number of problems with this approach. It leads to verbosity, there’s a tendency to stuff as much in as possible. I do this, this, that and sometimes this, oh and let’s not forget this too. As you can see in the examples above, all of the multi-job description headlines have been truncated in the search results. That’s not good. Another problem is that as more folks use this technique, they fail to stand out because everyone is presenting in a similar, parrot fashion. I personally find the multi-job description exceedingly boring and dull.
I understand why people use the multi-job headline. It’s quick and easy. All you have to do is list your core professional areas, type them in the headline field with separators. Bam. You’re probably hoping to appeal to as many different people as possible. The risk is that you may appear unfocused and unsure of your audience. I think a multi-job headline dilutes your professional brand. Job titles are just labels, they don’t answer why, they don’t sell and they don’t get a reaction. You could also be thinking you’ll be found when people search on those magic keywords, right? Wrong. LinkedIn does a wholly inadequate job of linking keyword search with profile views whether those words are in your headline or anywhere else on your profile.
I’m a proponent of the slogan headline and have been ever since I started using LinkedIn in 2008. Here are some of the different slogans I’ve leveraged over the years.
I Built Groups For 20,000+ Members. Ask Me How’ (2012)
‘Professional LinkedIn Optimist’ (2012)
‘So Good To Teach You (LinkedIn)’ (2012)
‘I Make People Care About You on LinkedIn’ (2014)
‘Ready To Get Serious About LinkedIn? Hire Me’ (2014)
‘Succeeding On LinkedIn’ (2015)
‘Putting The Extra Into Ordinary LinkedIn Coaching’ (2015)
‘Stunningly Good And Insightful LinkedIn Coach’ (2015)
‘Author “3 Stunningly Good LinkedIn Profile Summaries” (2015)
‘Extraordinary & Insightful LinkedIn Coach’ (2015)
‘Squeeze The Pips Out Of LinkedIn’ (2015)
‘The LinkedIn Coach You….Should have Hired’ (2016)
‘………….LinkedIn Profile Whisperer…………..’ (2016)
‘I Help Professionals To Leverage LinkedIn’ (2016)
‘Google “LinkedIn Summary”- I Wrote That!’ (2016)
‘I Make People On LinkedIn Give A [bleep] About You’ (2017)
‘The reason I’m not smiling? I’ve seen too many awful LinkedIn profiles today’ (2018)
I tell my clients, if your name is the brand, your LinkedIn headline is the slogan. Creating a memorable and unique slogan that you love, identify with and your target audience responds to, is really, really difficult. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Right?
Copywriters know how to create great, clickworthy headlines because they follow the 4 U formula:
1. Urgent – you gotta get them to click, now, because they won’t click tomorrow.
2. Unique – if you’re the same as everyone else, why would they click?
3. Useful – they’ll only click if there’s something in it for them.
4. Ultra-specific – you gotta know your audience.
Here are 12 great examples of LinkedIn slogan headlines written with some of the 4 U’s in mind.
I wrote one of the above headlines, a free LinkedIn profile review to the first person who correctly guesses which one (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here are 4 examples of LinkedIn staffer headlines (many LinkedIn employees use slogans). I’m not suggesting LinkedIn employees know something we don’t. But maybe?
I’d love to see more thought and action provoking slogans and fewer ‘meh’ multi-job descriptions. Strive to be rare and exceptional, don’t just follow the meandering herd. Your immediate goal on LinkedIn should always be to get people to click on your profile. If browsers don’t click on you, what is the point?
I hope this article makes you think. I hope it encourages you to get creative with your headline. I’d love to hear how your profile views doubled/tripled/quadrupled after you transformed your headline into a killer branding statement.
Could Your Profile Do With Some TLC (Transformative LinkedIn Consulting)?
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