LinkedIn is the world’s most popular talent connection platform. It’s where employers and employees meet, exchange ideas, and decide to work together. It’s also an effective self-promotional tool – you can use LinkedIn to advertise your skills, personal business, online coaching, or online courses, especially if you have a stellar LinkedIn headline.
But that’s easier said than done! Knowing how to write a good LinkedIn headline is one of the most important aspects of leveraging this platform successfully. Without a great headline, you may not stand out from the crowd or draw good employers or clients to your brand.
Today, let’s discuss how you can write an excellent LinkedIn headline by exploring some effective examples and key ideas.
A LinkedIn headline is the written section at the top of your user profile. It’s where you describe who you are and what you do in about 220 characters or less. Think of it as an elevator pitch for you as a worker or business owner.
Why does this matter? Your LinkedIn headline is important because:
LinkedIn offers default headlines. These are fine when you are initially setting up your profile, uploading pictures, and getting everything just right. However, it’s never a good idea to keep the default headline that LinkedIn provides.
The platform is filled with user profiles. Even if you think your niche is relatively rare or unoccupied, there are at least a few other professionals with the same skills as you. If you all have the exact same headline from LinkedIn, searchers, like employers, will not be able to tell a meaningful difference between you all.
In essence, sticking to the default LinkedIn headline means settling for second best. It also means you don’t take the opportunity to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Your LinkedIn headline should include:
Of course, you should know the basic answers to these questions already. For example, you should have a list of your skills and qualifications ready to go. All you need to do is truncate those to a short description so they fit within the 220-character limit.
The last two questions can also be answered by looking at your industry or niche. Again, say that you are a digital marketing professional. That means you are well-equipped to work with small business owners, online entrepreneurs, e-commerce business owners, and anyone else who may need marketing assistance.
Above all else, a stellar LinkedIn headline should answer one question: Why should someone choose you instead of someone else? No matter how experienced you may be or how much better you think you are compared to the competition, users on LinkedIn don’t know that information.
Therefore, you need to know how to write a good LinkedIn headline by following some smart strategies.
First and foremost, always tailor your LinkedIn headlines to your target audience. A “target audience” is the demographic or group of people you are trying to advertise to. And make no mistake, when you post your profile on LinkedIn, you are advertising – just yourself, rather than a product or service!
You need to determine:
You probably have some idea of your target audience already. For example, if you are looking for a job, you are trying to attract job recruiters for major organizations in your industry. A recruiter or hiring manager will generally look for professional, put-together profiles, so you should keep this in mind when writing your LinkedIn headline regardless of your major or focus.
However, you should also tailor your job title, job description, and any acronyms to your target audience. For example, say that you work in sales. Account representative, client advisor, and BDR are all titles that fellow sales representatives and salespeople will understand. But those sales professionals on LinkedIn may not know those titles by heart. Even worse, such titles could confuse them if you put them in your LinkedIn headline!
To avoid this disaster, you should instead use titles that your prospects or potential connections will recognize. In keeping with the above example, if you are a salesperson looking to get hired with LinkedIn’s assistance, your header can include titles like sales director, sales manager, and sales associate.
By the same token, you should try to use the right language whenever you make a new LinkedIn headline. The “right” language is whatever your prospects use and understand.
Say that you want to get hired by a software development company. Even though your fellow software developers and engineers might understand all the coding and development jargon you have in your back pocket, the odds are that the company’s HR staff won’t know the same words.
Therefore, you must use language that:
When in doubt, keep your headline short, simple, and to the point. In fact, any good LinkedIn headline should be understandable by a layperson or someone using the platform for the first time.
Let’s use the software engineer/developer example again. Rather than talking about PaaS integrates, abstracts, and coding methodologies, you could say, “I help developers quickly and easily manage data for customer conversions.”
It’s informative, speaks directly to your prospects, and is understandable by practically everyone. In other words, it’s a great LinkedIn headline!
Aside from making your headline understandable and easily parsed by the general public, you must also be sure to highlight your value proposition to clients or future recruiters on LinkedIn.
Think of it this way. No matter what you do or your skill set, there is at least one other person who does the same thing. But you want to stand out. Therefore, you need to highlight what makes you unique or valuable relative to the competition.
Imagine that you are a digital marketing pro. There are plenty of other digital marketing experts, both on LinkedIn and on other job boards. To make yourself stand out, you need to highlight things like:
Every product has a value proposition, and you are no different when trying to advertise yourself on LinkedIn. Write down what you think makes you stand out from the crowd, and highlight that in your LinkedIn headline.
That all said, you should try to avoid hyperboles at all costs. Bragging, overly exaggerating your skills, or generally puffing yourself up to be more than you really are may push recruiters away from your profile and make getting hired much more difficult!
Take this one step further and never use the below terms in your LinkedIn headline:
Not only are these terms fairly hyperbolic, but they are also words that everyone would use to describe themselves in a job interview. Who wouldn’t describe themselves as proactive and dedicated to the workplace?
But these adjectives are wasted space on your LinkedIn headline. Instead, you should try to be more creative with your adjectives or reference your skills and qualifications in a more balanced, humble way.
But what if you believe your value proposition is your past success or experience in the industry? You can highlight that stuff, but not in the headline. Leave your previous successes and expertise for your profile summary and prior experience sections. There, you can include customer success stories, comments from past clients, and even testimonials or endorsements on LinkedIn.
If you want to emphasize your qualifications and past successes further, you can do that with outside resources. Write articles on Medium, start a blog on WordPress, or build a dedicated website highlighting your skills.
Building a website is the most costly option, as you’ll need to pay for things like your domain name ($10-$15 per year) and hosting, but it’s also the best way to stand out among other professionals like you. According to one study, 56% of surveyed hiring managers found job seekers’ personal websites more impressive than any other branding tool, yet only around 7% of candidates have a website!
Lastly, you can and should try to optimize your LinkedIn headline with certain keywords. The right keywords can help your profile show up more frequently when users search for someone of your skills and qualifications. It’s similar to a resume in this respect, and it’s similarly important when copywriting for LinkedIn and other platforms.
Some of the best LinkedIn keywords to keep in mind when writing your headline include:
Other general keywords related to your field or industry
For instance, if you are a web application developer, you should include the words “web app developer” in your LinkedIn headline because it’s a common job title. However, it’s also broad enough that many different recruiters and hiring managers will likely find your profile.
That touches on another aspect of LinkedIn keywords – they can’t be too specific, or you will run into problems as described earlier. Ideally, your LinkedIn headline keywords should be specific enough to relate to a given industry but general enough that they don’t exclude certain recruiters from viewing your profile.
For the best results, try to use keywords in the following ways:
What if you’ve already written your headline but want to improve it based on the tips above? Good news; you can easily change or edit your LinkedIn headline with a few basic steps.
To start, click on your Profile page. If you’re new to LinkedIn, your profile page should be blank. Fortunately, the way to edit or change your LinkedIn headline is the same process as writing your headline from scratch.
You’ll see a gray-colored pencil symbol near the top of your profile page and right beneath the banner. This is the edit icon for LinkedIn. Once you click on it, it’ll open a new window called “Edit Intro.”
The next step is to click “Headline.” This is a dedicated text box after the name and optional pronouns. This is where you can type in your headline following the tips above.
Once you’ve written your headline to your satisfaction, click on “Save”! That’s it! Refresh your profile page, and your new LinkedIn headline will be displayed beneath your picture.
It’s one thing to know on paper how to write an attractive and compelling LinkedIn headline and profile. It’s another thing to have example templates on hand that can help you write your headline so it attracts the right people to your profile.
Let’s look at some high-quality headline examples and ideas based on different LinkedIn users.
As a sales representative, you want to consider a few things when crafting your perfect LinkedIn headline. First, you want to optimize your title for your industry to increase your chances of showing up higher in the search results.
Second, consider including your skills and strengths so that the prospective employer or client knows what you’re great at immediately.
Here are some great headline examples for salespeople:
If you’re a student on LinkedIn, you primarily want to attract college professors, fellow students for collaborations, and employers in your niche or job industry. Therefore, post your major and job needs upfront.
You should also lean into the fact that you are soon to be a graduate. Contrary to popular belief, many employers look for students or recent graduates since they believe they can mold them into employees who are perfect for their needs.
Some great LinkedIn headline examples for students include:
If you’re already in the job market, you are the prime LinkedIn user. The goal of your headline should be to present yourself as the top choice for your industry or niche. Therefore, good LinkedIn headlines for job seekers usually focus on skills and setting themselves apart from fellow job seekers in the same industry.
Here are some great headline examples for job seekers:
The perfect LinkedIn headline formula for HR managers includes two components – highlighting an area of expertise and how you achieve results and goals through talent acquisition.
So, focus on including these elements when crafting your headline to stand out in the crowd and attract prospective employers.
Here are some great headline examples for HR managers:
Even if you’re unemployed, the right LinkedIn headline can help you change that fast. It may feel scary, but it might be wise to include the fact that you are unemployed in your headline. That way, employers know they can hire you for a job, and you can get started ASAP.
Other than that, the same principles and strategies for writing your headline are similar to those for general jobseekers. Remember to be positive – recruiters want to see you chomping at the bit for work, not depressed or despondent.
If you’re unemployed and job searching, check out these LinkedIn headline examples to get started:
Those who recently graduated from college are usually looking for employment, so you should make this clear in your LinkedIn headline. In addition, it pays to push all of your certifications, job experiences from internships, and other qualifications as much as possible, as you’ll need to make yourself look special relative to other job graduates in the same class. Of course, if you graduated from a big-name school, include that information as well!
If you recently graduated, try to tailor your headline after these examples in terms of tone and content:
Changing your career usually means switching up your LinkedIn headline to match. Be upfront about this so that employers know what you offer. You can strategically mention your previous job titles or qualifications, which may help you bring a certain perspective or skill set to your new niche.
If you’ve recently changed your career or are looking to do so, consider these headline examples for your LinkedIn profile:
A good LinkedIn headline will help you stand out from the competition and maximize your chances of getting employed or drawing top talent to your company. Headlines are important for both employers and employees and can make a major difference in how effective LinkedIn is as you pursue your professional goals.
For the best results, consider the advice above and tailor your headline to your profile’s needs and your personality. Remember, the best LinkedIn headlines are unique above all else! Now that you know how to write a great headline, you can provide the same expertise to your students on Teachable – or take these lessons to heart when growing your personal brand!
When crafting your perfect LinkedIn headline formula, try to avoid these three common mistakes people make:
When used sparingly, certain words can be a unique and powerful way to describe what you do. However, as more and more people start using them, they lose value and become meaningless trendy words.
Examples of trendy hype words are:
Instead of using trendy words in your professional LinkedIn headline, consider sticking with words that are powerful, and still evoke a reaction and peak curiosity when someone reads them.
With your LinkedIn headline, you want to stand out amongst the crowd and attract prospective employers’ or clients’ eyes. However, it’s important to still keep your headline easy to understand.
Here are a few examples of vague and confusing headlines we have in mind:
Headlines that are creative, clever, and descriptive, such as the examples outlined above are fun and creative. However, they don’t do a good job of telling people who stumble upon your profile who you are, what you do, and why they should be interested in you.
These types of headlines also don’t help you rank in LinkedIn searches, so it’s much harder for you to show up in searches when employers and clients are looking for experts to connect with.
LinkedIn is a search engine, which means that using the right keywords is essential if you want to be found by prospective employers or clients. Do your research on LinkedIn and see what keywords professionals in your industry use to compile a list you can use as well.
Also, consider being as niche or as specific as possible as it increases your chances of appearing higher in the search results. And remember to include keywords organically instead of overstuffing the headline with them for the sake of ranking higher.
A headline on LinkedIn is an up to 220-character description of your skills and qualifications. Think of it as a basic descriptor of your profile, like a tagline or product description. It appears at the top of your profile and is the closest thing to a first impression that you’ll get with your intended audience.
Ideally, your LinkedIn headline should include what you do, how you can help a LinkedIn user, and what makes you distinct from similar professionals in your field. Think about who is ideally coming across your LinkedIn profile. Then cater the headline to that person. Consider what they would want to see to get them interested in you as a LinkedIn user.
You can create an attractive and effective LinkedIn headline by describing your key qualifications creatively and using keywords relevant to your location, experience, and professional goals. You don’t have a ton of room to do this but you can work it to summarize your qualifications and expertise.
The LinkedIn headline character limit is 220 characters. Note that this includes punctuation like periods or commas. Remember to keep it short and sweet while still driving home the point. You don’t have a ton of room, but you want to stand out and shine. People will look at your profile quickly and you want them to immediately be interested.
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