Your LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.
Yet, many LinkedIn users remain confused how to best use the Headline or how to optimize it for maximum site traffic.
LinkedIn’s search algorithm ranks your Headline as the top indexed field in your Profile (second only to your name). In other words, out of all the data on your Profile, this field is weighted most heavily in user searches.
Therefore, you’ll want to consider carefully what you use in this field (and avoid using the default value, which is your current job title).
In addition, your Headline is first piece of information others will see when communicating with you! You only have to navigate LinkedIn briefly to see other Headlines displayed prominently under their names in nearly every part of the site.
Here, then, is a list of the most meaningless words you can put in your Headline (unfortunately, these were found in actual Profiles), plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:
1 – “Top 1% (5%, etc.) Viewed Profile.”
Sure, this is an accomplishment… but not of any magnitude worth touting to employers.
Here’s why: if you’re an Operations Director, and put only these 2 words in your Headline, plus the same title for your past 4 jobs and NO other information anywhere in your Profile, you’ll probably rank in the Top 1% for “Operations Director.”
In other words, reaching 1% this way would require hardly any effort.
However, if you’ve inserted 2,000 to 3,000 other words that describe your career level, achievements, and scope of authority, your Profile View ranking will take a dive due to reduced keyword density.
Still, you’ll be more findable on skills and other keywords (because recruiters often specify a mix of search terms when sourcing candidates)… and you’ll make a better impression on employers.
Therefore, an impressive Top Viewed ranking is just that – impressive, but not helpful in your search and not worth using precious, keyword-heavy real estate (even if you want a job writing LinkedIn Profiles!).
Disclaimer: I’m ranked among the Top 1% as well (but you won’t find it in my Headline).
2 – “Results-Driven.”
Just like on your resume, it’s important to use terms that distinguish you from the competition. This phrase and others like it (“dynamic” or “visionary,” anyone?) have become so embedded in boilerplate resume-speak, they’re essentially meaningless.
Plus, can you picture a recruiter using “Results-driven” as a search term? I didn’t think so.
Instead, consider adding a short phrase to your Headline that actually describes results, slipping in a keyword or two (“Marketing VP Improving Social Media Engagement”).
Even a short, powerful note on the ROI from your skills (“Sales Manager | #1 Revenue Record Across Americas”) can make a better impression. Short on ideas? Pull in some of the powerful catchphrases from your leadership resume.
3 – “Experienced.”
Unless you’re a student, this word doesn’t count for much in describing your career. Most professionals, by way of their job titles and career history, ARE “experienced” in their chosen fields, so you’re not laying claim to a unique skill.
Make your Headline more search-friendly by using a mixture of current and target job titles (“Senior Director, VP Sales”) to show your career goals, or a short description of your achievements (“12%+ Annual Sales Growth”).
Either way, showing your career aspirations or accomplishments will actually prove that you’re experienced and worthy of employer attention.
4 – “Father,” “Husband,” “Wife,” etc.
I’ll say it again – LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, and it certainly isn’t Twitter (where these types of mini-bios are common).
On LinkedIn, other users are most interested in your career level and ability to produce results in a professional environment. Leave the family references for a more personal venue.
5 – “Unemployed.”
If you’re not using your Headline to strengthen your brand message with keywords and job titles, you’re missing out on potential traffic and employer interest. “Unemployed” is hardly a search term, and it certainly doesn’t speak to your expertise.
(It might, however, convey desperation.)
Instead of wasting Headline space with it, try sending the same message while specifying what you offer employers (“IT Director Seeking Infrastructure, Operations, & Development Leadership Role”), while injecting strong keyword content.
As you can see, there’s many ways to capture and express value to an employer with your Headline.
Take a few minutes to add some creative phrasing and keyword content for better ROI from your Profile.
Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.
My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.
Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.
– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC