How to Write an Effective LinkedIn Headline in 2020
LinkedIn has long since solidified its reputation as the go-to platform for both job seekers and companies looking to hire their next top talent. Therefore, it stands to reason that no matter the stage you’re at in your career, the ability to write an effective LinkedIn headline that captures the attention of potential recruiters, hiring managers, or clients is a highly beneficial skill.
From freelancer to senior-level corporate management and everything in between, the way you position yourself on LinkedIn can make a significant impact on the opportunities you’ll have in the years to come. And like it or not, your branding on the platform all starts with a strong profile headline.
Here’s how to write a great LinkedIn headline, including a few stellar examples you can learn from along the way throughout your career.
1. Quickly Communicate Your Value Proposition and Goals
You have a 120-character limit to work with when writing your LinkedIn headline. The best thing you can do with that precious real estate is concisely explain what exactly you’re best at, share what makes you unique within your industry, and connect yourself to a very clear role, service, solution, or goal you’re looking to achieve.
Here are a few examples of LinkedIn headlines that nail this objective flawlessly.
Ann Handley: “Digital marketing & content expert. Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Keynote speaker. Writer.” While Handley is very senior in her career and clearly not seeking a traditional job, she makes great use of her headline to communicate her strengths and to pitch herself as an authoritative consultant, speaker, and writer—the three main activities she engages in.
Not your average interns: While the headline of, “Seeking Internship in ____” is far from rare on LinkedIn today, these two internship seekers are taking a slightly different approach to positioning themselves for the roles they hope to soon land.
Instead of simply stating their desire to intern within their respective fields, these two candidates chose to lead with a compelling description of their credentials to leave a great first impression.
“M.S. Computer Science, Seeking coop/internship 2020.”
“M.S. Electrical Engineering recent graduate | Seeking entry level or internship opportunities.”
As a hiring manager, who would you prioritize in evaluating for a potential internship program at your company—a candidate who describes themselves only as “seeking an internship” in their LinkedIn headline, or someone that’s clearly working harder to sell themselves on why they’re qualified for a particular role? I know my answer.
2. Be Creative and Memorable
If you can write a headline that strikes a chord with the LinkedIn users you’re hoping to connect with—and compels them to want to learn more—then you’re well on your way to succeeding on the social media platform.
Whether you’re working to land new clients, secure a new job, or get booked for your first speaking gig, a little creativity can go a long way in furthering your cause. Be creative with your LinkedIn headline by striving to use eye-catching numbers, a well-placed emoji, and recognizable brand names that’ll boost your credibility.
Maximize your space for creativity by taking advantage of the often-overlooked LinkedIn cover image. You can use this part of your profile page to build off your headline and flex your visual storytelling, all while furthering your personal brand.
Here are two memorable LinkedIn headline examples that excel at creativity and catching your eye:
Chase Dimond: “Top Ecommerce Email Marketer | Sent 100’s of millions of emails resulting in $25+ million in email attributed revenue.” Dimond’s headline exhibits a combination of effective tactics that are designed to stick in the minds of his target clients. First, he offers a quick summary of his core value proposition (Top Ecommerce Email Marketer). Then, he adds a sentence that uses multiple numbers, including a revenue figure, to demonstrate the results he gets for his clients.
Ray Carroll: “VP Sales at Skilljar – I’m hiring! 🍳” While Carroll’s headline remains relatively simple and straightforward in describing his specific role and the company he works at, he does do a great job of creatively utilizing his headline real estate to achieve an important goal—recruit more salespeople for his team. He clearly states that he’s hiring, and uses an eye-catching skillet emoji that can’t help but grab your attention when scrolling down the page. This could easily pique the interest of anyone seeking new opportunities.
3. Utilize the Right Keywords
Choosing relevant keywords to incorporate into your headline is extremely important if you’re hoping to appear in search results when someone’s specifically looking for a person with your skill set, current job title, or professional experience.
Those keywords alone can make the difference in whether or not a recruiter decides to message you about a potential new role—or if a prospective client will stumble across your LinkedIn profile in their hunt for a consultant to help with a big new initiative. Great keywords can also help you rank higher on Google by boosting your LinkedIn profile’s search engine optimization (SEO).
To figure out the most important keywords to use, ask yourself which words, phrases, and terms someone would search for if they wanted to find someone like you. Think about factors like:
- How do you want to position yourself to prospective employers?
- Which job title(s) are you aiming for next?
- What are your most marketable skills that someone would hire you for?
- Which traits or characteristics are closely associated with the job you want?
- Can you use your headline to clearly indicate the niche of clientele you work with?
Here are two of the best LinkedIn headline examples that thoughtfully use keywords to their advantage.
Me (Ryan Robinson): “ryrob.com (500K Readers) | Content Marketing Consultant | Contributor at Forbes & Fast Company | Mentor at 500 Startups”.
Over the years, I’ve carefully curated my own LinkedIn headline to position myself as a clear expert in my field as a content marketing consultant—and that’s earned me a top position in LinkedIn search results for the term.
I’ve been able to stand out so well, largely through clearly stating in my title that I’m a Content Marketing Consultant (my ideal keyword phrase) and by leveraging numbers to showcase my real results in the field as a content marketer (500K Readers). It also helps to mention two of the most recognizable publications I write for (Forbes & Fast Company) in my headline, with the goal of highlighting my credibility in the industry and showing potential clients what I have to offer.
“Graphic Designer & Art Director | Communications design, brand marketing.” This designer in San Francisco also makes great use of keywords in their headline by starting off with “Graphic Designer & Art Director,” the two main roles in their job description—and the following sentence that succinctly describes two smaller activities that fall within their responsibilities.
What makes this example stand out so well, from a keyword perspective, is the fact that this person is really positioning themselves well to advance in their career to more director-level roles and beyond. By using both these keywords in their tagline, they’re signaling that they’re ready to move into more senior positions in a brand’s design organization.
Regardless of the goals you want to achieve with your presence on the platform, learning how to write a good LinkedIn headline that stands out and leaves a lasting impression on the right people is a skill that’ll help advance your career for years to come.
How can your headline be improved to better pitch yourself to your ideal clients? Which keywords should you incorporate to help signal that you’re ready for a bump up to a new role? Are there more visually effective ways you can communicate your successes?
Take a critical look at your headline today and see if there’s room for improvement.
Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado that teaches 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business at ryrob.com.