Is your current LinkedIn headline helping you stand out and get noticed or do you just blend in and get lost in the crowd?
Imagine you are an Account Executive at XYZ Company. The problem is that so is everyone else with that same role in your industry. And if a potential client or employer wants to hire you how will they know you are the best person for the job if you look and sound like everyone else?
If you are serious about building your brand and standing out in your market so that you can attract better clients or job opportunities let's start with updating your LinkedIn headline.
What Is The Headline?
It is the line right below your profile picture and name. By default LinkedIn will populate it with your current job title and company name. But this information is already in your experience section so there is no need to waste valuable headline space repeating information.
You can edit your headline to make it more descriptive using 120 characters. Considering it is one of the first things people will read on your profile you want it to grab their attention by showcasing your value.
The idea here is that when people search for someone with your expertise they will be using specific keywords. And if your headline does not have those keywords you will not come up in those search results.
3 Questions Your Headline Should Answer
To attract the right clients and employers, your headline must answer three important questions:
What do you do?
Who do you help?
What results do you help them achieve?
And here is the format you should use:
Role | Industry | Customers | Expertise | Results | Accomplishment or Honors
Let's break that down in more detail.
What do you do? This should include your job title, area or expertise, or industry. For example job titles like Director of Operations, VP of Marketing, and Human Resources Manager. Notice these job titles have keywords like Operations, Marketing, and Human Resources. To differentiate yourself you could add more detail like your industry experience. For example if you have a role in marketing you could add that you have done it in the fashion industry or travel industry or finance industry.
Who do you help? Now that you have identified your job function and industry it would be important to identify the types of companies or people you help. Using the VP of Marketing example we can add that you help or work with Fortune 500 companies or socially sustainable companies or international hotel chains.
What results do you help them achieve? Now we know what you do and who you help but the real attention grabber will be telling your audience what results you produce or what your expertise is. Continuing with our VP of Marketing example, perhaps you work in the travel industry for an international hotel chain and you are really good at creating campaigns that produce measurable ROI.
transform your headline
Using the above formula your headline could go from "VP of Marketing at XYZ Hotels" to
"VP of Marketing | Travel | Luxury Hotels | Creating Memorable Campaigns That Deliver Significant ROI"
or from "Director of Operations at XYZ Financial Firm" to
“Operations Leader | Finance | Leading Teams Through Organizational Transformations”
or from "Counsel at XYZ Company" to
"In-House Counsel | Commercial, IP, Technology Law | Helping Media Companies Protect IP & Grow Revenue"
or from "Associate Editor at XYZ Magazine" to
"Associate Editor | Tech Start-Up Innovation | Named to Boston Magazine's Journalists to Watch in 2018"
The takeaway here is that if you want to stand out on LinkedIn your headline can't read like everyone else's. It has to be specific, using keywords to help you rank higher in search results, and show your value by highlighting your results and accomplishments.
How would you improve your LinkedIn headline? Share your best ideas below!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC is a former entertainment lawyer turned executive career coach and the founder of MGC Coaching. He helps ambitious professionals who are feeling stuck gain the clarity and confidence they need to create more fulfilling careers.
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