UPDATED ON DECEMBER 14, 2017: Original article published on May 19, 2016.
Is it time to start thinking about your career and how you're going to attack the job market? According to a Jobvite Survey, 94% of recruiters and hiring managers are active on LinkedIn, but only 36% of job seekers are!
For some reason, LinkedIn seems to attract an older crowd; but this needs to change! LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about a company, connect with its employees, find and apply to job openings, and spread the word about your skills and abilities with minimum time spent.
This series outlines the best LinkedIn profile tips for recent graduates. This chapter should convince you to update your profile immediately with an optimized LinkedIn Headline.
What Are LinkedIn Headlines?
The first details a LinkedIn user sees in search results are a photo, a name, and then a 2-3 line statement. This statement is your chance to shine. Your LinkedIn Headline is your "elevator pitch" or introduction.
When you first create your profile, LinkedIn will auto-fill this with your current job position and company name or status as a student at the university or college you are attending. While this is better than nothing, this doesn't help you stand out from the other graduates just getting started on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Headline Strategies
Before we start developing a phenomenal LinkedIn Headline, you should know the basics. LinkedIn has a few limitations that you should know:
- Headlines have a 120 character limit (including spaces)
- Your Headline cannot contain any contact information (Your account may be suspended if you don't comply with this!)
- No symbols should be used to stand out (They just look tacky!)
There are a few things you should consider before creating a Headline too. Your Headline is one of the first details a LinkedIn user will see on your profile. If your profile doesn't tell the LinkedIn user who you are quickly and effectively, they move on to the next profile. Ask yourself:
- What are your job-related skills or strengths in 3-4 words?
- What are your best personal traits in 3-4 words?
- What industry or type of employer are you targeting?
Strategy #1: The Branding Statement
One of the most effective ways to stand out on LinkedIn is to develop a Branding Statement and condense it into your LinkedIn Headline. The standard Branding Statement is a keyword-optimized statement that identifies your top job-related skills or strengths, your career goals, and the value you offer to employers. That's a lot to squeeze in 120 characters.
If your Branding Statement is, "Dynamic sales leader combining strengths in account development and relationship building to secure new business and increase revenue for regional technical equipment sales," you can easily trim this down.
One approach is simply to trim down the Branding Statement by only focusing on one of these skills:
"Dynamic technical equipment sales leader accelerating new business and revenue with superb relationship building skills."
Or you could list your skills and identify your ideal employer with the same level of effectiveness:
"Sales Leadership, Account Development, Revenue Growth, and Relationship Building for Technical Equipment Sales Teams"
Or you can sign up for a free sneak peek at the LinkedIn WORKS! Coaching Program!
Strategy #2: The Problem Solver
If you don't have related experience or skills that support your career goals (despite your hard-earned degree), you can easily present yourself as an expert problem solver. Weren't critical thinking and problem-solving some of your course objectives?
Using the same Branding Statement for an example, you can focus more on what problem you solve or value you offer for the employer:
"Helping technical sales teams secure new business and surpass sales goals"
You can also translate your degree or coursework into value offered to employers:
"Driving revenue growth by leveraging education (B.S. in Business/Marketing), communication and presentation skills"
Strategy #3: The Creative Tagline
Creative LinkedIn Headlines can attract employers if done professionally. The key with creative Headlines is to sell yourself in ways you can support. In other words, don't oversell your value to make the Headline sound better. If you are an entry-level sales associate, don't claim to be a "guru" or an "expert."
For the Branding Statement example we've used, these LinkedIn Headlines would be considered creative and professional:
"Your No-Nonsense Technical Equipment and Territorial Sales Solution"
"Enthusiastic, assertive, and humorous networker ready to hit the ground running in business development and sales"
Here are a few creative LinkedIn headlines that have worked for other fields:
"Story Guru, Experience Creator, The Mongoose you want under the house when the snake slithers by"
"I’m a Growth Hacker. I help people grow and accelerate their businesses."
"Copywriting artist transforming technical jargon from flat-line boring into a juicy novel-like page-turner"
"Former overweight food lover turned health nut coaching fellow foodies in the joys of the Paleo diet (YUM-O)"
Update and optimize your LinkedIn Headline today!