Anytime a “Top 10” list is created there is some doubt in the minds of the readers if the selection process was fair. This is why I asked a committee of eight people to choose which 10 LinkedIn profile Headlines stand out from a list of the ultimate list of 80+ LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow.
I recused myself from voting and asked that the committee to not choose themselves as one of their choice for the 10 best Headlines.
They agreed to be as objective as possible: the Headlines they chose were to be based on content that resonated with them in some way, not out of loyalty to the individuals, the number of followers each person had, or any other variables.
One last rule was that if there was a draw, I would elicit the help from a third-party volunteer to break the tie. And, as it turned out, there was a four-way tie for numbers 9 and 10 on the final list.
What’s so important about the Headline?
In a poll I conducted seven months ago, it was determined that out of three profile sections–Headline, About, and Experience–the Headline is the most important of the three. And there has been a plethora of literature lauding the value of a strong Headline.
It’s been called your handshake, first impression, gateway to the rest of your profile, personal brand, and more. In addition, it’s the first thing (other than your photo) people see in their homepage timeline, when you comment on a post, appear in a search result, among other places.
The various types of headlines
There are various ways to write your Headline. The five that come to mind are: keywords only, tagline only, or a combination of a tagline and keywords. There are benefits to writing your Headline using all of these methods.
The keyword method’s purpose is to attract hiring authorities to your profile when they do a search. It’s widely believed that the Headline is valuable real estate, carrying more weight than all the sections, save for your titles.
Employing a tagline only, in my opinion, is optimal for people who are gainfully employed and want to attract readers to their services or products. These people rely on the keywords throughout their profile to attract hiring authorities who are doing searches.
The king of Headlines is the combination of keywords and tagline. You can start with a tagline followed by keywords, keywords followed by a tagline, or a hybrid approach where the tagline is in the middle of your Headline.
However you decide to structure YOUR headline, follow Hannah Morgan‘s advice:
The best LinkedIn headlines explain what the person does and who they serve plus at least one surprise element. That could be a fun emoji, an achievement or a fun fact.
The best way to show you how to write a great profile is to present the Top 10 LinkedIn Profile Headlines.
The Top 10 LinkedIn Profile Headlines
Shelley Piedmont 👉 Yes, You Can Love Your Job! I Help You Find The Right One, Career Coach & Former Recruiter, Resume Writer, Interview Expert, LinkedIn Profile Optimizer, HR Certified, #ShelleySays
Adrienne Tom 👉 31X Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer ▶️ I help executives (CXO), directors & managers level up, land a job faster & increase earning power! 🔹 LinkedIn Top Voice 2020 🔹
Austin Belcack 👉 I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Text Me 👉 201-479-9511
Ashley Watkins 👉 Certified Resume Writer ★ Job Search & Interview Coach ★ Contract Recruiter ★ 2019 LinkedIn Top Voice ★ Positioning clients for 6-figure salaries at Fortune 500 brands.
Lezlie Garr 👉 Career Happiness Advocate | I help ambitious, values-driven professionals shift out of soul-sucking work | Master Resume Writer | Career Change Coach | LinkedIn & Job Search Strategist | Digital Nomad | Full-Time RVer
Laura Smith Proulx 👉 11X Certified, 21X Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer & LinkedIn Writer 🏆 CXO, Board, IT, SVP, VP, Directors. Former Recruiter. Forbes Coach & Branding Expert 💪 Powerful RESULTS for Your Leadership Career
Kathy Caprino 👉 Finding Brave™ Career & Leadership Coach | Author of The Most Powerful You | Int’l Speaker & Trainer | Forbes Senior Contributor | Podcast Host | dedicated to helping women build rewarding, impactful careers
Bob McIntosh 👉 👊 I’m on the frontline fighting 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 for job seekers ◆ LinkedIn Trainer ◆ Career Coach ◆ Online Instructor ◆ Blogging Fanatic 🏆LinkedIn Top Voices 2019 #𝗟𝗶𝗻𝗸𝗲𝗱𝗜𝗻𝗨𝗻𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗱©
Meg Applegate 👉 I connect high-achieving women to career advancement | Award-Winning Resume Writer | Certified Personal Branding Strategist | Job Search Coach | LinkedIn Profile Writer
Tony Restell 👉 Social Media Marketing is like a Rubik’s Cube. I’ll help your business solve it! | Small business marketing and lead generation | Recruitment marketing | Social selling
What the committee says about a great headline
Jessica Sweet: A great headline is a Swiss-Army knife of words, serving multiple functions at once, slicing through the noise and grabbing your attention. Not only does it make you stop in your tracks, it quickly conveys what you do, how you do it, how well you do it, and reveals a bit of your personality. Including metrics, emotional words, and a clear target audience will all help your reader sit up and immediately know whether they need your services.
Susan P Joyce: Regarding the headlines, I was very impressed by the clear value statements in the headlines. For me, the most effective headlines begin with the value/benefit statement (Austin, Ana, Brenda, and Tony, for example) because:
🔹 These headlines answer the question, “Why should I contact/connect with this person?”
🔹 The words at the start of the headline are the ones most consistently visible when the short versions of the headline are visible in search results and LinkedIn activities (posts, comments, etc.).
🔹 The words at the start of the headline are likely to standout in a quick scan of the top of the profile.
🔹 The value statements may add important keywords in addition to the keywords included in standard job titles and certifications/qualifications (like MBA, etc.).
Of course, most of the people on this list are consultants who are marketing their services to potential clients in LinkedIn. If someone is a happily employed IT project manager, for example, their headline would be similar but would also include a positive reference to the employer (keywords!).
Nii Ato Bentsi-Encill: Not all headlines are created equal, and that’s because the best ones stand out by serving their target audience with useful information and interesting details that grab their attention. Strong headlines typically include 3 core elements: 1) Branding, 2) Metrics/Evidence, & 3) Keywords.
Combining these three features allows a headline to tell a short but powerful story about the potential within the associated profile. It might spark curiosity or emotion when reading it. When you can provoke a reaction in your reader to immediately opt-in, you know you’ve done something right. The strongest headlines connect with and inform readers.
Sonal Bahl: Imagine looking for a house. Your specifications are: 3 bedrooms, 120 m2, 2 baths, near a park and shops. Central location. You go to your favourite website, search, and here come the results. Right on top of the list and match your requirements perfectly.
Do you ever click on links without a description? It just says: House available. That’s it. Nope, they don’t get clicked.
So, Dear Job Seekers, Recruiters are looking for you. You are the HOUSE. I beg you, please. Stop writing ‘Actively seeking new roles’ in your LinkedIn headline. Your headline needs to help you to be FOUND.
Do this instead: Titles, Skills, and an Accomplishment. Example: Project Manager | Agile & Scrum Methodology | B2B | 10 years experience managing complex, multi-stakeholder projects & saving organisations $300,000 annually.
Shelly Elsliger: I refer to the LinkedIn Headline as a Professional Branding statement because it’s job is to let viewers know who you are and what you do that differentiates you from the competition. When you are able to grab someone’s attention, own your space, effectively answer, “Why me?”, and add a touch of personality all at the same time, you have the ingredients of a winning LinkedIn Headline.
Kevin D. Turner: I’m attracted to [Headline]s that concisely tell and sell me on their value within a few words. Like Albert Einstein would say “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Once that is accomplished, I will forgive and expect the following space to be filled with keywords for LinkedIn SEO. I must admit, I not a big fan of emojis, special characters like | or Fancy Font Generators in Headlines.
Sarah Johnston: The top headline I chose clearly defines the work Adrienne does using well researched keywords. She quantifies the impact of her work by stating she is a 31X winning writer. She also defines her target audience by stating that she works with managers, directors and corporate executives in the US and Canada.
LoRen GReifF: What makes a great headline, and why I chose who I did is because they all do three things really well. They straddle and strike the balance between these headline virtues:
Their audience: Who specifically they’re talking to and what they can do for them.
Their source of authority: Including recognition & credentials.
A personal something: That’s fun and/or disruptive to break away from a cliche or a diploma-like list.
My deepest appreciation goes to the search committee who did the heavy lifting and kept me out of the process. The fact that my profile was chosen as one of the top 10 is an honor. I’m also happy to say that this article will be my 100th one for the compilation of LinkedIn articles.
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com