The most important 120 characters on your LinkedIn profile

We’ve hit a dead end. My customer is over the limit by two characters. “What if we use an ampersand instead of ‘and’?” I suggest. No, she doesn’t like this idea. Doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing. Doesn’t match the flow. She’s exasperated…I’m getting exasperated.

120-characters

We’re running on 10 minutes just trying to figure out how to stay within 120 characters that are so important to her LinkedIn profile, so important to everyone’s LinkedIn profile. I’m talking about the Professional Headline, or what I call the Branding Headline (BH), as it’s an important part of your branding.

My customer and I are limited on time, and I can sense her impatience. “Is this really important?” she asks. Oh yes, extremely.

The Branding Headline can only be 120 characters (including spaces) long. Less characters than a tweet. It’s prime real estate. Basically it’s where you state what you do and how well you do it.

You may choose to go with a branding statement or your title/s and areas of expertise. It’s the first verbiage visitors will see, and it contains keywords that help you get found through a commercial search—it can make the difference of you being on the first of second page.

A poll taken awhile ago on LinkedIn deemed the BH more valuable than the Summary section but less than the Experience section. More valuable than the Summary?! Needless to say, your words must be well chosen.

Visibility: Where does the Branding Headline appear? Part of it appears on your connections’ homepage when you share an update, such as an article or quote or bit of advice. A quick glance at my homepage reveals that the majority of my connections are not posting original content; therefore, they’re not selling their skills in their BH.

Your Branding Headline doesn’t only appear when you 1) respond to an update, 2) “Like” an update 3), connect with someone, 4) start a group discussion, etc. In a commercial search your BH will always appear in its entirety, and the title and skills the person seeks should be highlighted in your BH.

Importance: For me if I don’t know a person who is asking me to join his network, I will make my decision based on 1) if he has a photo and 2) what his BH says. No photo and a weak BH, I won’t accept that person. Like the photo, the BH tells me quickly who the person is. I don’t have time to view every profile to see if the person is worth connecting with. In short, the BH should accomplish:

  • Along with your photo, your BH first brands you; it is a value statement, an attention grabber.
  • It sets the tone for the rest of your profile, a mini Summary statement. Another poll taken awhile back on LinkedIn says the important sections of the profile, in order, are Experience, Branding Headline, and Summary.
  • It contains important keywords that help employers, potential business parties, customers, and visitors in general find you.

Below are LinkedIn members’ Branding Headlines.

Change your Game and Make More Sales. My clients increase sales 30% or more. A mere 76 words, this Branding Headline captures my attention because of its value statement.

This BH is more impactful because of the accomplishment in it: Sales & Leadership Coach & Consultant; Award Winning Sales Consultant & Director; Wine Consultant/ Wine Judge/ Crafter. It uses 118 characters.

My BH consists of my title and areas of strength. I created it to optimize my profile for “LinkedIn” searches. I’ve used 111 characters. LinkedIn and Career Search Strategist | LinkedIn Profiles | Author | Blogger ~ Job Search, LinkedIn, Introverts

Another BH that sells this LinkedIn member: Online Branding Coach ✮ LinkedIn Trainer ✮ Social Media BootCamp Instructor ✮ Career Specialist ✮ INfluential Speaker!

There are other Branding Headlines that impress, but the time the LinkedIn members put into crafting them was probably significant. I’ve lamented over how I can utilize the remaining nine characters in my BH.


My customer eventually settled on the ampersand, but only after 15 minutes of deliberation. We’ve got another 15 minutes left on the clock. When I tell her this, she sighs and laments that we still haven’t gotten to her Summary.

Photo: BethAnn Ragen, Flickr

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One thought on “The most important 120 characters on your LinkedIn profile

  1. ekaneshige

    I’m confused. “I don’t have time to view every profile to see if the person is worth connecting with.” If you’re looking for clients who need your branding expertise, can you explain why you refuse to connect with the very people who most need your expertise? Perhaps they wish to develop a relationship in order to determine if you’re the coach they’re looking for.

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