There is a proven LinkedIn profile headline formula that isn’t about catchy taglines (“The pro you’ve been looking for”) or meaningless buzzwords (“Innovator, Influencer, Omnipotent”) — but ACTUALLY increases the number of searches you appear in and leads to more profile clicks. When I changed my headline to this format, my profile appeared in 130% more searches per month than it did before!
So let’s jump into it. The purpose of a headline for your LinkedIn profile is the same purpose as a headline for an article, it is to:
- Convey value to the reader
- Entice them to read more
- Appear in relevant searches
So here is the formula:
- Your Role | Your Industry/Area of Expertise | Your Unique Value
I did this for my headline and I have gotten so much more inbound since the change. Here is what it looks like on my profile:
- Notice it just says People Operations at Gem, my official title is Director of People Operations at Gem, but since titles mean different things at different companies, I eliminated the “Director of” and just focused on my specialty area: People Operations. And of course if they want to see my title it’s right there on my profile. But what I notice is that people will write their full title in their headline, such as “Senior Associate Vice President of blah blah.” The title takes up so much room on your headline and doesn’t convey the most relevant information.
Your industry/area of expertise
- Then I put my industry or area of expertise — industry experience is so important and people with a specific industry in their headline get more profile clicks and connection requests.
Your unique value
- And then your unique value — I put my YouTube Channel because it is what I have become known for, but before I had the channel I did not have a unique value in my headline. That’s because I didn’t want to put something bogus up there and sound like a poser. So don’t force it, but also don’t sell yourself short. You’ve probably accomplished incredible things. Such as if you are a virtual assistant your unique value could be “Assisted over 250 executives” Wow that’s impressive, I’d want to hire someone as experienced as you! So take a moment to think about how incredible you are and see if you can uncover your unique value.
Here are some additional ideas for your unique value:
- Featured in (any media – podcast, website, so on…)
- Creator of (*side project*)
- *Award* such as “Woman of the Year for Asian Pacific Professionals Society”
- *# achievement* such as “Built 10+ apps in the App Store”
How does this formula change for students?
The short answer is: It doesn’t. The longer answer is, while it is perfectly acceptable to put “Student at X University” as your headline, if classes are all you are focused on currently, you’ll want to get additional experience. That could be a leadership role in a student organization, volunteering for a cause, building a side project — anything! It doesn’t have to be a “job” in the traditional sense.
Such as, if we were to flash back to my freshman year of college, I worked on the campus newspaper, so my LinkedIn headline would be (if I followed this formula): Writer at UCSD Guardian | Journalism | #1 Biweekly College Newspaper in the US. Now, freshman year I hadn’t accomplished much, so I would make my “unique value” how prestigious & award winning the newspaper I worked on was. I’d suggest watching this if you’d like some inspiration of how to create your own opportunities for experience without getting hired for a full-time job.
What do you do if you are between positions?
If we are using my headline as an example I would change the beginning part of the headline from “People Operations at Gem” to only “People Operations.” If you don’t have a current title you can also follow your specialty with “professional” or “leader,” such as “People Operations Professional.”
This post first appeared on Quora.