In this guest article by Laura Smith-Proulx, one of my favorite resume and LinkedIn profile writers, she talks about adding value to your Headline and not simply listing your title and the company’s name. After all, your profile isn’t about your company; it’s about you. Laura also provides great examples of strong Headlines.
Did you let LinkedIn put your current job in your Headline?
If so, you’re among the millions of LinkedIn users who fail to market their own personal brand.
Look around on LinkedIn and you’ll see the same scenario: too many people fail to uncheck that box in their current job that says “Update My Headline.”
As a result, you’re left with Sales Manager at XYZ Company or VP of Production at AB Manufacturing.
This could be one of the biggest obstacles in your job search! You’re MUCH more than a job title. With so many opportunities on LinkedIn to promote your value to employers, your Headline should be tuned more carefully.
Here are the 3 reasons why you should take your current job out of your Headline (and what to use instead):
Your Headline should market your personal brand, not your employer.
Your current job title probably does a poor job of representing your potential!
Not only was it designed by your employer, it also picks up your company name… and now you have a banner that clearly describes a position you may want to leave.
But if you design your OWN Headline, you’ll have a valuable opportunity to add a success story, keywords, and job titles that help others find you.
These Headlines show how you can “advertise” your skills for a future job search:
VP Sales & Marketing | 13 Winning Sales Teams Developed to Create #1 Market Performance | Global & US Revenue & Growth Strategies | Fortune-Ranked Technology, Government, OEM, Engineering, & Defense Markets
COO & VP Operations. Fast Turnarounds & Market Share Growth in EMEA, Americas, & APAC Regions. 299% Growth From New Revenue Streams, Corporate Contracts, & Transformation. Board Member, Mentor, Executive Sponsor
Your current job might not match your career goals.
Let’s say you’re aiming for the next level up in your career. By tuning your Headline for a promotion, you’ll come up in searches for the target job, not just the one you already hold.
This example shows how an Operations leader can show readiness for the COO position, referencing the skills they are already using and focusing on high-value keywords:
Healthcare Executive. COO-Level Authority for Clinical Operations, Patient Care Quality, Safety, & CMS Ratings. Relentless Drive for Excellence & Patient Satisfaction. Champion for Team Growth & Service Line Development
You can see that this Headline continues to mention Operations, making it possible to be spotted as a senior leader while leaving the possibility open to be found in searches for a COO.
No matter your career level, mentioning your desired role (which you can also add to the About section) helps show your intentions and position you more strategically as a rising leader in your field.
Your current job title is far too SHORT to describe your skills.
As described in The Surprising Problem With Your LinkedIn Headline, most Headlines that use current job titles don’t fill even HALF the 220 allowable characters.
This means you’re missing critical opportunities to further describe keywords and strengths. Remember, your LinkedIn Headline is a critical piece of LinkedIn Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
With a longer Headline, you’ll also gain the opportunity to switch out a few phrases or keywords to “test” which version produces more interest from employers.
These examples show Headlines that exceed 200 characters by adding insightful details and leadership strengths:
Chief Strategy Officer. 45% New Growth From Corporate Direction, M&A, Product Strategy, & Operations Improvements. Customer-Centric Product Lines, Outreach, & Technologies Taking Regional Operation to US Powerhouse
Senior Director, Product Engineering – Driving Software Quality & Product Performance With Scalable Solutions. High-Productivity Engineering Team Leader Creating 13 Straight Quarters of Profit in Mobility Startup
Here’s how to remove the current-job default: go to your Experience section, select the pencil icon next to your name, and look for Update My Headline. Uncheck this box and hit Save.
There’s NO BETTER WAY to broadcast your personal brand than to craft a UNIQUE LinkedIn Headline!
By removing emphasis on your current job, you’ll free up space for a compelling, keyword-specific description of your skills and top career wins.