What does your LinkedIn headline say about you?

by Smith-Proulx, Laura Monday, November 01, 2010
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Did you realize that LinkedIn has a built-in marketing and search engine-friendly capability that is easy to use--and often overlooked? Well, neither do most job hunters.

The best 120 characters of keyword optimization you can find for a job search, your LinkedIn Headline (or title) is a major piece of the puzzle that can help recruiters locate your skills.

If you're one of the many that loaded up this field with your current job title (such as 'Vice President of Operations' or 'Sales Executive'), or worse yet, used it to declare your unemployed status, you're missing out on a great opportunity to market yourself!

Instead, I recommend presenting your brand and goal in your LinkedIn Headline, using some self-promotion plus a label that gives you a fighting chance of being located by a keyword search. (What's that? You didn't realize that recruiters will look for you by keyword? That's a subject for another post.)

Here are some LinkedIn Headline comparisons for your perusal, taken from actual profiles.


William Jones, Unemployed and Looking
John Taylor, Operations Director and Manager | Cost Control & Efficiency Improvment at AT&T
Bill Ford, Project Manager at Sun Microsystems
Anne Wilson, Providing Innovative Business Solutions by Leveraging Technology
James Hardin, Pursuing Product Management & Quality Consulting Assignments in Dallas
Carson Anderson, IT Systems and Management With Government and Nonprofit Experience
Douglas Harding, Enterprise Technology Leader | Principal Network Engineer | Network Architect | Team Leader
Which do you believe increase findability? What makes you want to read further or fails to pique your interest? And of course, which of these are too general to tell you anything about the candidate's brand?

I hope this makes you take a closer look at your own LinkedIn Headline. Maybe there is a better, more strategic way to convey your value and goals, while sticking to that 120-character limit.