Has graduation come and gone? It's time to start thinking about your career and how you're going to attack the job market. Did you know that 94% of recruiters and hiring managers are active on LinkedIn, but only 36% of job seekers are? (Jobvite Survey)
For some reason, LinkedIn seems to attract the 30 and older crowd but this needs to change. LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about a company by hearing what its employees have to say, to find and apply to job openings from your ideal company (without having to fill out hundreds of fields of data), and to spread the word about your skills and abilities with minimum time spent.
This brief series outlines the best LinkedIn profile tips for recent graduates. This second chapter will dive deeper into one of the fastest ways to make a killer first impression: your Professional Headline.
What Are Headlines on LinkedIn?
At first glance of a LinkedIn profile (especially with the latest mobile update), you'll find a photo, a name, and then a 2-3 line statement. This statement is your chance to shine at an introduction. This statement is a Professional Headline.
By default, 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.
Professional Headline Strategies
When you decide that you're ready to make the most of LinkedIn as an online branding tool, start with developing a phenomenal LinkedIn Professional Headline!
Here are the basics to a Professional Headline:
- 120 character limit (including spaces)
- No contact information (your profile may be seized)
- Symbols allowed
Before you get started with crafting your killer Professional Headline, you'll need to have determined:
- How to describe your job-related skills or professional strengths in 3-4 keywords
- How to describe your best personal attributes in 3-4 keywords
- What industry you are targeting or who your audience is
LinkedIn Headline Strategy #1: The Branding Statement
One of the most effective ways to stand out on LinkedIn is to make your Branding Statement front-and-center as your Professional Headline. The standard Branding Statement combines (1) your overall profession, (2) your top job-related skills or professional strengths, (3) the unique value you offer, and (4) whose problem you solve. 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'll need to trim this down.
One approach is simply to trim down the Branding Statement by only focusing on one skill and combining your profession and target audience:
"Dynamic technical equipment sales leader accelerating new business and revenue with superb relationship building skills."
You could also focus on your skills and target audience only with the same level of effectiveness:
"Sales Leadership, Account Development, Revenue Growth, and Relationship Building for Technical Equipment Sales Teams "
When working with skills, you could provide a keyword-rich list separated with symbols:
"Dynamic Sales Leader / Technical Equipment Sales / Account Development / Revenue Growth / Relationship Building "
LinkedIn Headline Strategy #2: The Problem Solved
If you don't have significant background or relevant skill sets that reinforce your career goals (despite the 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'll want to focus more on what problem you solve for the employer:
"Helping technical sales teams secure new business and surpass sales goals"
Remember the key is to stand out without sounding arrogant. You could get creative with this approach too:
"Your No-Nonsense Technical Equipment and Territorial Sales Solution"
LinkedIn Headline Strategy #3: Creative Taglines
Feel free to get creative with your LinkedIn Professional Headline. The most important advice we could give is not to sell yourself in ways you can't support. If you are an entry-level sales associate, don't claim to be a "guru" or an "expert."
Below is a list of creative LinkedIn profile headlines that work:
"Enthusiastic, assertive, and humorous networker ready to hit the ground running in business development and sales"
"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)"