Increase professional visibility: Optimize your LinkedIn headline

Learning about, using industry keywords can increase headline value. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Nan Palmero

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 22, 2013 – Do you have a top-notch LinkedIn headline? Would the recruiter for your dream position at your dream company click on your name to learn more about you? If not, it’s time to update and optimize your LinkedIn headline to increase your visibility and profile click-through-rate (CTR).

The headline is the most important aspect of your profile. It’s displayed throughout the entire social network: in newsfeeds, groups and search results.  Too many professionals neglect this aspect of the social network. This writer uses LinkedIn a lot and observes that there are far too many boring and generic headlines like “account executive,” “student,” and “social media guru” out there on the site.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re job searching, happy in your current role or using social media for business development: your LinkedIn headline needs to be thoughtful, engaging and intriguing. In just a few minutes, you can create a customized headline that’s compelling and click worthy by showcasing your value and creativity paired with a few relevant industry keywords.

Show Hiring Managers What You Can Do For Them

Expressing your value to an organization is vitally important on LinkedIn profiles and traditional resumes. As much as we hate to admit it, recruiters and hiring managers don’t care about you. They care about what you can do for their organization.

When recruiters and hiring managers are scrolling through hundreds of search results, they’re looking for headlines that catch their attention. A headline that describes a candidate’s value is much more likely to be clicked on than a user with a default headline auto generated by the site (e.g. Associate at Company XYZ).

SEE RELATED: Engineer or Philosopher? What you do vs. who you are

Get Creative

There’s no requirement that says headlines have to be bland, so try showing off your personality. You have 120 characters in your headline to sell yourself. Think of your headline as a condensed version of your elevator pitch. Prove you have the writing chops and creativity it takes to succeed by crafting a headline that not only shows your value but also your unique characteristics.

Use Relevant Industry Keywords

Your headline should be optimized for relevant industry keywords. Similar to Google, LinkedIn’s search function returns results based on keyword relevancy.

You can find ideas for keywords by checking out profiles of other professionals in your field. You should also take a step back and think like a recruiter. What are they most likely to search for in your industry?

Imagine you’re a marketing professional and web designer with proven results in mobile web design. Relevant keywords might include mobile web design, marketing, mobile web, mobile ROI and mobile development.

Now imagine you’re a self-employed private investigator specializing in background checks, dating scams and due diligence. These are highly relevant keywords that can also be included in your headline when paired with a value proposition.

Use these examples as inspiration and think about what skills and specialties are important in your industry. Examining current job descriptions through LinkedIn Jobs or will give you insight on common keywords recruiters are using to describe various positions. Browsing through LinkedIn search results for other profiles in your industry may also jumpstart your headline-writing process.

Once you’ve discovered keywords you’d like to use, narrow your keyword list down to the most important phrases to use in your actual headline. Save your extra keywords to use in your summary and job descriptions (which we’ll review in our next post).

Example Headlines for Inspiration

“Technical copywriter with proven ability to clearly and accurately communicate complex ideas to target audiences”

“Internet Marketer specializing in SEO and PPC consistently doubling client ROI | Google Anayltics and AdWords Certified”

“Higher education career development professional with average placement rate of 95% | Thriving on my students’ success”

“Management & tech consultant | live and breathe to solve problems | Proven results in increasing revenue and efficiency”

To learn more about updating your headline, visit LinkedIn Help.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Katie Elizabeth

Katie Elizabeth is a freelance blogger, content coordinator and communications grad student. She’s always on the lookout for the latest and greatest social media and tech tactics and thinking about the creative ways in which professionals can actually USE them. 

She’s worked in several different industries, including real estate, sustainability and career development. When she’s not writing or studying, she’s probably on her way to a concert or exploring flea markets and antique stores.


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