How to Write a Sharp LinkedIn Professional Headline
As I watched the 2015 NBA Draft, it was clear the players selected to join the professional ranks are more than athletes. They’re bonafide brands with images to uphold and Twitter audiences to entertain.
That’s why Karl-Anthony Towns, the #1 overall draft pick, wore a suit for the draft made of a rare fabric. How rare? Towns claims there’s only eight meters of the fabric in the world — and his suit used two and a half of it.
Right on cue, Towns (second from the right) posted a photo on Twitter in the custom jacket.
To my family & friends, @MNTimberwolves & @SamsungMobileUS, and especially @Karlito_Towns and #BBN, Thank You. pic.twitter.com/7rbnJgPjUT
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) June 26, 2015
Even at 19 years of age, Towns knows he needs to leave an impression at every turn.
On LinkedIn, we can also share our personal brands with the world. Can you guess where?
In the professional headline, the space right below your name.
Most people use the line to write their job title.
Project Manager at Acme Corporation
Sure, that’s appropriate and won’t get you in trouble. But here’s the catch: most people list their job title and company, which makes their LinkedIn profiles blend in with all the rest.
Also, Project Manager at Acme Corporation isn’t a professional headline. It’s just the facts as if to say, “This is what I do, and this is where I work.”
OK. But what’s your brand?
Maybe John Doe excels at data analytics, and he’s become known around the office for his ability. Then his professional headline could be:
Using data to make smarter decisions
Powerful insights driven by data
Yes, your job title and company matter, but your “brand” is more interesting. It might catch readers by surprise and lure them into your profile.
So how do we craft a professional headline?
First, ask yourself this question: where do you provide the most value on the job?
If you’re in customer service, then the headline could be “The customer always comes first” or “Dedicated customer service specialist.”
If you work in IT, the headline could read “Ready to solve the toughest tech challenges” or “Cybersecurity and antivirus expert.”
Think about how your skills allow you to make an impact on others. Why do you matter? Then turn the answer into a short phrase.
That’s your professional headline. That’s your brand.
A few more points to consider
– Don’t use the professional headline to brag. For example, “Greatest marketer in the country.” Nope, you’re not. Instead, tell us how you make others better.
– Please don’t write the exact phrase “Turn complex problems into solutions.” It’s super cliche and overdone.
– Keep the professional headline to eight words or fewer. Otherwise, it will drag on.
– Ask a few friends or co-workers what they think of your headline. Tell them to be honest and not hold back.
– Once you set the professional headline, forget about it for a couple of hours and then look again. Do you still like the headline or does it feel funny? Listen to your gut — it’s usually right.
Want help with your LinkedIn professional headline? What about your profile summary and work experience sections?
Check out my career coaching services!
Featured photo: Boris Lechaftois (Flickr)
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