Isolated businessman trying to climb upward on white backgroundAsk a blog writer what is the most difficult part of article creation and there’s a good chance you’ll hear “title.” This is true thanks to the difficulty in conveying the larger premise of an article in just a handful of words. In the age of social media recruiting, and the dawn of LinkedIn as the most looked-to professional networking website of our time, that difficulty has migrated into the land of the social profile. You may not realize it but, put bluntly, your LinkedIn headline probably sucks.

Your LinkedIn headline is especially important if your presence there is being leveraged for professional gain and exposure. So what’s heading your LinkedIn profile? Your title and name of employer? That’s not surprising. Most people bungle their headline in this way and may not even realize that they can change it to whatever they want. Nothing is stopping you from taking that headline and making it into a bold statement of your value as an employee.

The reason so many people have such dull and uninspired headlines is because they are either ignorant or too lazy to change what LinkedIn puts there by default. But don’t let those 120-characters go to waste. Let your headline work for you by promoting your brand, marketing message, and expertise. Allow your headline to sell you even before a recruiter dives into your profile. Consider these five elements when looking to generate an intriguing LinkedIn headline:

1. LinkedIn profiles are breezed through by recruiters as fast, or faster, than any resume. This means you only have a matter of seconds to showcase your value proposition; a reason for a recruiter to stop and have a closer look at you. Be bold, be succinct, and for crying out loud, be creative.

2. Don’t use a generalized statement to get your point across. Craft your headline to directly address your intended audience. You’re trying to get the attention of a select group of decision makers, so what do they care about most? Once you know, put that into your headline and let recruiters know how amazing you are at addressing all of their needs.

3. Bearing in mind your specific audience, keep your headline as specific as possible when constructing a stand-out blurb. Let your audience know exactly what you do, how well you do it, and, if you have space, where you’ve done it.

4. Keywords, keywords, keywords. Keywords are important everywhere and help target your message even further when you consider the terms and phrases your target audience would be most interested in reading. How would a recruiter search for you on LinkedIn? Take those words and work them into your headline.

5. Finally, the more memorable you are, the better your chances of grabbing and holding onto the attention of those you seek most. Be creative. Can you be informative while being a little off-kilter? Inject an amusing witticism into your marketing statement? Do it.

So, get to LinkedIn, find the “Edit” tab next to your name in the “Edit Profile” section and make your mark. Just a bit of effort and creativity on your part can allow your profile to stand out among the myriad say-nothing headlines that pollute the LinkedIn networking space.


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