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Get Noticed on LinkedIn

With global members pushing 800 million, LinkedIn is a prime piece of real estate for your personal brand. So why would you build a tiny cottage on it when you can build a Penthouse? One way to do that is by constructing a stand-out LinkedIn Headline.

What is a LinkedIn Headline?

Think of a good news story headline: short, snappy, and makes you want to read more. Your LinkedIn Headline should pack the same punch because it’s one of the first things people see. It’s the teaser inviting people to read your career story. Given that it’s only 120 characters, you should make each word count.

You’re on LinkedIn? So what?

Just including your current job title and company name (which LinkedIn includes by default in your headline anyway) won’t do you any favours. LinkedIn Guidelines suggest asking “So what?” to help define the specific ways you bring value. I like to put my own spin on this by thinking of a child incessantly asking, “Why…?”

“I’m a great PR Manager.”

“Why?”

 “I’m good at enhancing brand presence.”

“Why?”

“I have a proven history of securing top-tier media coverage.”

Now let’s tweak that to make it more personal: I can secure you top-tier media coverage. That’s more like it!

Learning from the best

Now that we’ve learned how to zoom in on your unique value proposition, let’s discuss a few other pointers by studying some excellent LinkedIn Headlines.

This Headline succeeds in packing a lot of useful information within a limited space. It conveys the breadth of Nic’s experience and the depth (years of employment). Here are some ideas to borrow from Nic’s Headline:

  • Weed out unnecessary words like “experience” – as you can see from Nic’s profile, it’s not needed and just takes up valuable space.
  • Use vertical slashes to separate information.
  • Achieved anything significant? Include it! If you’ve worked for any well-known companies, definitely add this too.
  • Tell readers how you can add value by using the aforementioned Pre-schooler Question Method. Remember to be concise and clear.
  • Use symbols to save on space, for instance: + instead of “more than”. Replace “and” with the “&” symbol.

Types of LinkedIn Headlines

While there aren’t formal names given to LinkedIn Headlines, it’s helpful to think of different categories so you can decide where yours fits best. The style of your Headline will set the tone of your “About” section.

#1 The Advantage Headline

This Headline focuses on how you can benefit whomever you are targeting. Here is a good example…

What can we learn from Lauren’s Headline?  Be sure to drive home the specific ways you can be of service, how you measure success, and the methodology you use, particularly if it’s something different from the norm.

Take a leaf out of Lauren’s book and follow this formula when penning your Headline: Who do I help: (In Lauren’s case: Brands). What do I help them to do? (Achieve digital success). How do I do this? (By tracking bottom-line returns). Notice how she uses “we” and not “I” – a great idea for companies or collectives because it gives a sense of solidarity.

An Advantage Headline doesn’t just say that someone can help companies. Help them do what? Help them grow? Hmmm… That’s better but still a bit vague. Below, George doesn’t stop at saying he designs organisations. Rather, by using the word “resilient,” he paints a much clearer picture of his unique selling point, helping him stand out from the many other LinkedIn-nites.

The Headline below also caught my attention because it’s pretty brilliant in its brevity. The takeaway? You don’t have to use all 120 characters to make an impact.

#2 The Niche Headline

If you are in a specialised field, make that clear in your Headline:

Jonathan does a great job of summarising his target market. I would just add a power-packed verb, so our second takeaway from this is to pick your words carefully.

Choose verbs with oomph and avoid overused words like “motivated” (bleh) and “experienced” (snore). To figure out which words to forever banish from your LinkedIn Headline and Summary, check out LinkedIn’s Top 10 Global Buzzwords.  Instead of buzzwords (quite misleading here as they sound like words you’d want to include), focus on keywords relevant to your job title and field so that the internet bots can find you more easily.

#3 The Creative Headline

What better way to show you’re creative than to write a beautiful Headline? Even if you’re not in a creative field, it’s great to add a fun touch because who wouldn’t want to work with someone who has a good sense of humour/imagination/interest in researching elusive deep-ocean seahorses?

You can get creative by creating strong imagery. Here’s one I came up with: I steer sinking businesses back to shore.

Or, add a quirky personal detail that makes people feel like you’re a real person and not just a profile photo…

Alternatively, you could invent a cool description for what you do. I like how Andrew calls himself a “problem solver” in his Headline below. This is also a good example of how we can include our “real” job title/s (which we should ideally do to make it easier for connections/bots to find us). Then, as Andrew has shown, we can add some flavour and intrigue by ending off our traditional Headline with a unique job title that summarises the essence of what you do and/or what you’re really good at.

#4 The Achievement Headline

Oran gets an A+ for this Headline, which features an achievement in addition to giving a crisp summary of his value proposition by including who he can help, and how. It’s also a great idea to create your own banner if you are an entrepreneur.

In closing, don’t be a sheep. In fact, don’t be a unicorn either (one of the buzzwords to add to your cull list). Just be yourself. It might just land you that big opportunity.

By Leigh-Anne Hunter

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