Creating your LinkedIn Headline

By Jennifer Hay

Now that you’re ready to use your LinkedIn profile as part of your career branding strategy, let’s look at LinkedIn headlines with a120-character limit. This is where you add your branding statement because it will follow you throughout your communications. Consider the most important statement to say about your achievements by first thinking about the top 3-5 things you want people to know. Then condense these down to a single sentence, a series of words or phrases, or the combination of both. This sounds so easy and it certainly is when you do it badly.

I’m going to use my profile as an example, not as a thinly veiled marketing ploy, but as a great example of how to move from a merely adequate headline to an exceptional one. I made this transition after hearing an embarrassing statement about my LinkedIn profile, “Jennifer must certainly be proud of her certifications.” I am, of course, but I was embarrassed that I had completely missed the point of my using my headline.

Here’s my story—I started out with the below headline that was loaded with my resume writing credentials. I thought that people would want to know my qualifications. Well, in fact, they do but it’s not the most important thing to say about myself. And, seriously, my potential clients are not going to spend the time to understand the significance of my certifications. Bottom line, they want a qualified writer who understands their industry.

Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW), Certified Resume Specialist in IT, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

I spent quite a bit of time just thinking about my message and decided that there were 5 things that were important to say. I wrote out each statement, and then I went back and added a short phrase to clarify each one.

1) I have credentials that are well-respected in the resume writing community. (highly credentialed)

2) I am a resume writer with solid experience writing technical resumes. (IT Resume Writer)

3) I have experience working in IT and Business Intelligence. (IT and BI experience)

4) I am able to understand a technical person’s achievements and this makes me different from other writers. (IT impact)

5) It’s important for a technical resume to speak in language that the business understands. (business value)

And drums rolls, please— here is the end result. It may not resonate with everyone but it doesn’t need to do so. It serves its purpose by accurately describing me.

Highly credentialed IT Resume Writer with IT and BI experience connects achievements with business value and IT impact.

Now is the time to work on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t wait until you need a new job because by then, it may be too late. It’s painful to hear a client say that they are looking for another position because of turmoil within their company but they can’t setup a profile because someone will find out they are looking. Use your profile now to network, learn best practices from others, and share your expertise—it will be there for you in the future when you are looking for other opportunities.