What Do You Have To Say For Yourself – Your Headline

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OK – You’ve been found – You’ve a chosen a stellar headshot – PhotoFeeler ranked you in the top 90% for Competency, Likeability & Influence. (See LinkedIn Picture post.)

Getting Found Is The First Step.

Choosing A Photo That Communicates The Right Qualities Is Second.

Now That You Have Their Attention, How Are You Going To Use Your Headline?

Are You Going To Squander All Of This Hard-Earned Attention With A Headline That Merely Says, “Looking” Like 52,340 People?

Are You Going To Put “Unemployed” In Your Headline Like 238,851 Other People?

I’m Not Trying To Be Cruel. I’m Trying To Remind You Of The Opportunity Before You.

You’re On Stage – You’ve Got Their Attention – You Need To Continue The Sales Process So That Your Phone Rings.

Consider these four…

Which of the four will get interviews?

 If you said, ‘Jane and Tom’, you’re right. (1)

Jane and Tom realize, 

  • They’ve got less than 6 seconds to get a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention. (2)
  • They realize, after the photo, the LinkedIn headline may be the only part of their profile that a recruiter or hiring manager looks at. (3)
  • Their LinkedIn profile is the first place most people will look when they apply for a new job. (4)
  • LinkedIn is the place where recruiters and headhunters are most likely to come across your profile. (5)

Jane and Tom understand that recruiters,

  • Think a candidate is desperate if they have headlines like John and Terry. (6)
  • Perceive that candidates are sitting back and waiting to be found, if they have headlines like these. (7)
  • Are always touting the strengths of their candidates to prospective employers. It only follows that recruiters would expect job-seekers to be touting their strengths as well. (8)
  • Believe candidates undermine their value when they use headlines like John and Terry used. (9)

How To Create a Strong Headline

While your headline defaults to your current job title and employer, it is easy to change.

Go to your LinkedIn Profile > Click on the blue pencil on the far right of the top of your profile.

You can now edit

Your top priorities should be crafting a headline that

Maximizes your value and

Helps you to be found.

How to Create Headlines That Maximize Your Value

Jenny Foss showed me how good a headline could be.

In fact, the two winning headlines at the beginning of the post are from Jenny’s How To Make Your LinkedIn Headline Stand Out post in Forbes.

Jenny’s headline advice stems from the fact that she is a busy recruiter.

As a result, when she scans hundreds of profiles, she asks,

Why should I read your profile?

She expects the job-seeker to

Answer that question in their headline.

Per Jenny, the best LinkedIn headlines include these elements:

  1. Succinctly showcase your expertise, your value, or your “so what?”

Jenny provided this headline example.

PMP-certified project manager – Known for successfully leading multi-million dollar projects in developing countries.

1. Speak to your target audience and speak in terms of their interests.

Per Jenny, the headline below does that.

Customer-focused pro who can program every robot in your manufacturing facility. Specializing in ABB, FANUC, and Kawasaki robots.

Liz Ryan, the founder of the Human Workplace, shares a powerful insight about headlines.

Your headline is critical, because it tells us how you see yourself. 

Liz tells the story of a job-seeker who is not like every job-seeker. She works in a particular way. She wrote this LinkedIn headline:

Office Manager/Business Air-Traffic Controller ISO Stressed-Out CEO to Make Sane

Liz shared that this job-seeker wants everyone to know how she does her job. She compares it to air-traffic control. She loves helping crazed CEOs organize their day and their projects. Liz said the minute after the job-seeker updated her headline she got calls from recruiters. (10)

Pete Leibman, author of I Got My Dream Job and So Can You, offers a 4-step process to create successful LinkedIn headlines.

Say WHAT you are.

Say WHO you help.

Say HOW you make their life/work better.

Give PROOF that you are credible.

Pete offers these headline examples:

Executive Recruiter and High Performance Coach who helps you create a stronger career. Featured on Fox/CBS/CNN. (This is Pete’s LinkedIn headline.)

Fundraising consultant who helps major non-profits raise more money. Clients include the Red Cross and YMCA.

Personal Trainer who helps high school athletes get stronger and faster. Certified by the American Council on Exercise.

Pete stresses that each of these headlines immediately communicate what the person does, who they help, how they help them, and their credibility. (11)

Crafting a Headline That Helps You Get Found

Because the words in your headline are more highly weighted in LinkedIn search than other words in your profile, strive to include the keywords recruiters use to search for candidates with your skills. (See this post for more information.)



Clark Finnical is the author of the first job hunting book written by a veteran job seeker.

Job hunting books were solely written by HR managers and recruiters in the past.

“Job Hunting Secrets”   was written by a five-time job seeker who has walked in your shoes.

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(1) Jane and Tom’s LinkedIn Headlines are from Jenny Foss’s excellent post, How To Make Your LinkedIn Headline Stand Out which was published in Forbes.

(2) According to an eye-tracking study by The Ladders, recruiters spend six seconds on average looking at a resume. LinkedIn profiles get even less time. http://time.com/4403286/linkedin-tips/

(3) Pete Leibman. Please Change Your LinkedIn Headline Now.. Here’s Why and How. June 11, 2014. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140611214034-7483005-please-change-your-linkedin-headline-now-here-s-why-and-how.

(4) Andrew Hutchinson. How to Write the Best LinkedIn Headline (And Why It Matters). Firebrand Ideas Ignition Blog. http://blog.firebrandtalent.com/2015/04/how-to-write-the-best-linkedin-headline-and-why-it-matters/

(5) Ibid.

(6) Ibid. Liebman.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Ibid.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Liz Ryan. How To Write A Killer LinkedIn Headline. Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2015/04/10/how-to-write-a-killer-linkedin-headline/2/#9e7a9e449816

(11) Ibid. Liebman.

The headshots are from www.123rf.com

John Smith Image: Copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_alphaspirit’>alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Terry Johnson Image: Copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_alphaspirit’>alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Jane Smith Image: Copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_wavebreakmediamicro’>wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Tom Johnson Image: Copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_alphaspirit’>alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo