Why You Should Fix It
When people search LinkedIn, the search results show this information: photo, name, headline, city, and industry.
This means it is up to you to make sure you are making the right first impression.
I entered “project manager” into the search bar and selected the option to search for “people” and this is what I found. The results show people who have the title in their headline. (In reality, very few people would do this because I got 123,563 results for project manager, but I wanted to show you how boring and generic these headlines look.) Go ahead. Enter anything you want in the search box and see what you find. (I’ll wait here!)
Here’s another example of how people have missed a huge opportunity to set themselves apart. No photo and boring headline.
Does your headline share enough to make someone want to click-through?
You need to write your headline so that it differentiates you.
This can be done in many ways and there isn’t one formula that fits everyone. Jenny Foss wrote about what you can do to spice up your LinkedIn headline in this Daily Muse post.
Foss suggests these (but you really should go read her article to see examples!)
- Succinctly showcase your specialty, value proposition, or your “so what?”
- Speak directly to the audience you want to entice
- Worm in the important key words
- Be creative
By the way, if you don’t have a value proposition or need to refresh yours, please see this article.
Words and Phrases To Eliminate
There are mixed opinions about calling yourself a guru, expert, or rock star, so I wouldn’t recommend using them.
“Professional” is 12 letters long and says absolutely nothing. Eliminate this word. No one is ever going to search for it either.
“Seeking next opportunity” sounds kind of desperate, doesn’t it? Why would someone care if you are looking? Isn’t everyone?
Don’t include your school, degree or current employer. This isn’t an absolute rule, but a strong recommendation. No one cares about this until they know what you can do.
These Headlines Are Examples of What NOT To Do
Business Professional Experienced in Sales, Customer Relations, and Operations
MBA, Accounting Professional
Staff Assistant at ABC University
Executive Office Professional
Management professional seeking new opportunity
These Are Better
Here are some ideas for you, but let me emphasize, you have 120 characters to sell your first impression. These all have room to tell more!
Technical Illustrator and Web Designer (38 characters)
Left/Right Brained Marketing Enthusiast |Marketing Analyst or Similar | MS Marketing (84 characters)
Organizational Transformation Consultant, International Project Manager, Business Developer (91 characters)
Marketing: Global Product Development & Purchasing Specialist (61 characters)
Lean Mentor at Harness Consulting | Change the Behavior – Sustain the Gain (74 characters)
Here’s How To Edit Your Headline
You probably didn’t even know you could edit your headline. By default, LinkedIn uses your most recent job title and employer. I guess that’s better than nothing…maybe.
First, go to “edit profile” which you can reach via the drop-down menu or by clicking on “improve profile” and hover your mouse over the headline.
Next, look for the pen icon next to your headline and click on it.
Finally, type. But it will be difficult to see everything in that little box. Don’t worry. Type anyway and keep going!
Before you save your changes, do you want everyone you are connected to on LinkedIn to get notified about your changes? If you are actively job seeking/unemployed, then your answer is probably yes. If you are in covert job search, the answer might be no.
You can change your privacy settings. Look for Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.
Measure The Results
Now the fun begins. Over the next week, keep track of how many people view your profile. If the number is greater than before…take note, that’s a good thing! If not, give it another week, and if you still don’t notice an uptick in profile views, you will probably want to change it again. Be sure you get feedback from people you value and respect!