Posted by: waynebreitbarth | July 16, 2011

Is Your Linkedin Headline Working For You?

I really have a hard time writing these tips during the summer months, partly because I am enjoying fishing, 

hiking and just hanging out, but also because some people have shared with me the pressure they feel to take action on my tips because they are so useful. 

 

Thus, this week I will be short and sweet. But that doesn’t mean the information should be taken lightly. 

 

After a short video tutorial, I have included an excerpt from my book for those of you who have more time. 

 

The tip is about your LinkedIn headline, and it is extremely important that you make the most of this powerful marketing statement that travels with you wherever you go on LinkedIn.

 

Here is the short video tutorial I made for you:

 

LinkedIn Profile Tutorial:  Headline

 

And here is an excerpt from my book where I share my thoughts on the Headline section.   

 

 

YOUR HEADLINE

 

A basic headline consists of the company you work for and the position you hold there, but the headline field can contain 120 characters, and it is your opportunity to tell an abbreviated version of your story. In it, you will want to describe your experience and mention how you can help someone who sees your 30-second bumper sticker. Clicking “Edit” next to your current headline allows you to edit the information in the box titled Professional Headline.

 

For the first seven or eight months I was on LinkedIn, my headline read, “President and Owner, M&M Office Interiors, where we give you the space you want and the experience you deserve, and LinkedIn trainer.” “The space you want and the experience you deserve” is the tagline for the company I own. I love my tagline. I paid a lot of money for my tagline. It was the result of very extensive research, and I definitely think it stands for the brand we have in the marketplace. However, as much as I love my tagline and what it says, it does not clearly state that my number-one priority is selling office furniture. 

 

My headline now reads, “President, M&M Office Interiors, where we have served the office furniture market for over 50 yrs, and LinkedIn Trainer.” It doesn’t incorporate my business’s tagline, but it better describes me as a business professional. 

 

Unless you work for a multinational corporation that is a household name, you cannot assume that readers of your profile will know what type of products or services you provide. It is imperative for your headline to clearly express what your company does and/or what your business proposition is.

 

If you have multiple jobs or a primary job and a secondary job, be sure to list all positions you hold. My primary position is president of M&M Office Interiors, but I also provide LinkedIn training, and thus I have listed both positions as part of my headline. 

 

If you are looking for a job, your headline should clearly state that you are a job seeker looking for a position as an IT professional in the food manufacturing/distribution business, for example. 

 

If you do not enter a customized headline, LinkedIn will use your most recent job title and company name as your descriptive headline. But do take time to create a powerful headline; it could be the deciding factor in someone’s choice to connect with you or look at the detail in your full profile.

 

I personally prefer a narrative-type headline, but a popular alternative is a style that consists of keywords separated by the pipe symbol. To get the pipe symbol, use the shift key together with the backslash key. Some people choose this option because LinkedIn’s current search ranking formula gives extra weight to the words in your headline. Because you only have 120 characters available for your headline, using the pipe symbol will allow you to put more keywords in your headline. Using the pipe symbol, my headline might look something like this:

 

Haworth Office Furniture Dealership President | LinkedIn Trainer, Speaker, Consultant & Author | Social Media Consultant

 

Whichever option you choose, include your most important keywords, so that when people search for the keywords you included, they will find you — and not your competitor who didn’t think to put keywords in his headline.

 

 — Excerpted from The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-Start Your Business, Brand and Job Search (Greenleaf Book Group, March 2011)

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