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3 Ways to Avoid The #1 LinkedIn Headline Mistake

LinkedIn Headline Mistake

Hoping to attract attention with your LinkedIn Profile?

You’ll have a better chance if you change the site’s most critical piece of information – your Headline – from the default option of your current job title.

Too often, LinkedIn users don’t take the time to change this default (which is automatically picked up when you add a current job).

However, employers who need leadership talent can’t interpret your unique value from “Project Manager at ABC Corporation” or “Operations Director in the Manufacturing Industry.”

Here are 3 compelling reasons why LinkedIn’s default Headline is a no-go for your job search – and how you can select a better, compelling Headline for your Profile instead:

1 – You could miss opportunities to market yourself on LinkedIn.

Your LinkedIn Headline is the only piece of data that is consistently shown with your name in search results – allowing for an immediate, positive first impression and serving as your “calling card” when you reach out to others, post a response to an article, endorse another user, or apply a status update.

Unfortunately, your default job title can be unimpressive:  “IT Director” or “Controller” tells the world what you do right now, but it doesn’t convey the depth of your career history or show salient information to others at a glance.

However, “IT Director. Cloud Initiatives & Millions in Cost Savings From SAP & Microsoft Solutions” expands on your promise of value and implies that you’ll deliver significant advantages to employers.

So, incorporate additional content (such as skills or notable executive competencies) in your Headline to further flesh out your brand message.

2 – Your current job title might not use keywords helpful for recruiter LinkedIn searches.

Many job titles are too vague (such as “Sales Professional,” “Assistant Vice President,” or “Analyst”) to distinguish your specific skills. In addition, these broad descriptors will not help recruiters find you in a sea of other qualified candidates.

Here’s where adding details important to your industry, such as a desirable executive skill or hot technology buzzword, can help boost your marketability on LinkedIn and impress a hiring audience.

As an example, “New Business Development,” “Revenue Turnarounds,” or “Channel Development” can all be used to liven up “VP of Sales,” while providing additional data that might be used in a search for the perfect candidate.

In the same manner, “Partner Relations, Growth Strategy, M&A, & Channel Development” adds more weight to “SVP at CoreNet Electronics.”

3 – Competing candidates with better LinkedIn Headlines might outpace you.

Who would you rather hire?Sales Director, Fortune 100 Wins Through Team Mentoring & CRM Tool Improvements” or “Sales Director at ABC Company”?

Not only does using the default job title make you look like a LinkedIn novice, your direct competitors may have added the right keywords and brand messaging. They may have also caught on to using keyword and internal search strategy to attract recruiters.

To capture more attention and strengthen your appeal, take the time to write a Headline that shows your value proposition and reflects the jobs you want to pursue, as shown in these examples:

VP Operations Delivering Millions in Cost Savings From Process Improvement. Six Sigma & Lean Credentials

CIO, VP of IT. Expedited Project Delivery, PMO Management, Post-M&A Integration, Software Engineering

In short, you’ll benefit from a writing stronger LinkedIn Headline, instead of using the default job title option.

By incorporating keywords specific to your field and adding personal brand details, you’ll elicit more attention from prospective employers interested in your strengths.


Need a competitive edge for your executive job search?

As the #1 U.S. TORI award-winning executive resume writer and a credentialed job search coach, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate – PLUS arm you with the job search tools that will get you hired faster.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Disney, Eli Lilly, AT&T, Microsoft, and Pfizer, plus niche-market companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results my expertise can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CTTC, CIC 

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