How To Write A Killer Linkedin Headline (Examples Included)

By Mike Simpson

Picture a child selling newspapers in the early 20th century. His newsboy cap is slightly off-kilter on his head, and he’s shouting, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” while brandishing a copy of today’s paper. He’s working on capturing the attention of passersby, hoping to entice them into buying. In a way, that’s precisely what your LinkedIn headline does.

Your LinkedIn headline is your call, a verbal beacon designed to enthrall hiring managers and recruiters. If it isn’t amazing, they aren’t going to bite, and that could mean missing out on opportunities.

That’s why having an exceptional LinkedIn headline is critical. If you want to make sure yours is top-notch, here’s what you need to know to whip yours into shape.

What Is a LinkedIn Headline?

To continue with the analogy, newspapers are divided into sections, each one with a specific purpose. Along with the leading stories, you may see an area dedicated to business, sports, and comic strips.

LinkedIn profiles use the same approach. Every one features specific sections, each with a unique purpose. The LinkedIn headline is essentially the title of your leading, above-the-fold frontpage story; it needs to captivate and pique a person’s curiosity.

Functionally, your headline is where you put a brief overview of who you are and what you bring to the table, brief being a keyword. In fact, you only 120 characters. That’s shorter than even the old Twitter post maximum of 140 characters, and less than half of the 280 character tweet length you can use today. That’s right; your LinkedIn headline has to be substantially shorter than a tweet. Time to make brevity your ally, right?

Now, this little introductory statement is incredibly important. It actually appears next to your user name in LinkedIn search results. If a recruiter or hiring manager is skimming for profiles to explore, it’s what they usually see first. If they don’t like your headline, they might bypass your profile for a more enticing one.

NOTE: Don’t confuse your Linkedin headline with your Linkedin Summary!

What Makes a Great LinkedIn Headline?

Now that you understand what a LinkedIn headline is, it’s time to look at a critical part of the equation; how to make yours as enticing as possible. Your goal shouldn’t be to merely create good LinkedIn headlines. No sirree.

LinkedIn is littered with profiles where the person stopped at “good.” Don’t be one of them. Aim higher by making yours outstanding, amazing, or even stellar.

How do you pull that off? By using the right approach.

The best LinkedIn headlines usually have a few things in common. First, they are always tailored to the target audience. That means using words and phrases hiring managers and recruiters will recognize, not just other people in your industry.

You have to ditch the jargon, as there’s a decent chance that HR and recruitment professionals don’t know the ins and outs of every niche’s secret language. Instead, embrace the way they would talk about crucial skills and qualities. That way, you are speaking their language, and no translator is required.

In a similar vein, introducing a value proposition is wise. You have to speak to the needs of your audience, addressing what you can do for them and not what they can do for you. Typically, this involves highlighting your skills that benefit your employer. It could also include focusing on a relevant accomplishment. Or, if you can be uber concise, maybe a bit of both.

Finally, don’t be afraid of numbers. Just like on your resume, digits stand out in a sea of letters. If you are highlighting an accomplishment where you cut costs by 25 percent, put that number in your headline.

MIKE'S TIP: Numbers visually stand out in a LinkedIn headline, so you want to use them if the metrics are impressive. However, if a number doesn’t make you look good, don’t use it. Instead, see if you can convert it into something more intriguing. For example, saying you increased sales by 2 percent looks like a weird flex. But, if that 2 percent equals a $25,000 increase, then consider putting those dollar signs on display. That might be big enough to catch the hiring manager’s eye. However, if that 2 percent only means $500, then don’t use that either. When neither number looks great on paper, it’s always better to skip the metrics entirely as they really aren’t helping your case.

Common LinkedIn Headline Mistakes

First, above all else, never, ever, ever let LinkedIn choose your headline for you. To say that is a mistake is an understatement, as it really can be downright catastrophic. Customized is always the way to go, so fight the temptation to let the platform do the work for you and give a go at writing it yourself.

Second, using hyperbole isn’t a smart move. Sure, you want to seem confident and showcase your talents, but that doesn’t mean bragging is the way to do it.

Words like “expert,” “best,” “top-performing,” and “hard-working” don’t play in your favor. In fact, they can make you seem arrogant, which is ridiculously off-putting. No hiring manager or recruiter wants to work with someone who seems full of themselves. So, even if you aren’t, don’t risk coming across that way.

Additionally, for the love of everything good in the world, don’t focus on “I.” Remember, it’s about what you can do for the company, not the other way around. You have to make the hiring manager or recruiter care about what you have to offer, and that means setting your ego aside and not worrying so much about yourself. Concentrate on the benefits they could experience, ensuring your value proposition is strong.

Finally, avoid “screaming.” You might think that using all caps helps your headline stand out, and it technically does, but not in a good way. It makes you seem ignorant to online etiquette – or worse, like you think you’re special and can ignore good taste – and that won’t work in your favor.

15 LinkedIn Headline Examples

Sometimes, nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a few examples. It shows you how others approach the problem, letting you look at your headline in a new light.

Here are 15 LinkedIn headline examples to help you move in the right direction.

      1. Helping businesses enhance their employer brand by employing HR best practices and enhancing social media presence
      2. Leading sales teams to greater success by promoting strategic thinking, spurring innovation, and encouraging comradery
      3. Full-Stack developer – Java/JavaScript/Python/HTML/CSS – 10+ years of enterprise-level experience
      4. Accounting Student – 2020 Graduation – Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Vendor Accounts, Budget Forecasting, Payroll
      5. Software Engineer – Built solution on-time and under budget that boosted customer retention by 236%
      6. Data Scientist specializing in Healthcare – Used data analysis to reduce readmission rates by 23 percent
      7. Marketing manager driving growth by enhancing social media presence, optimizing posts, and using sound SEO practices
      8. Web designer – uniting art and tech to bring company visions to life and keep customers returning for more
      9. Project Manager – Agile/DevOps/Scrum – Reduced project completion times by an average of 15 percent
      10. Graphic Designer – Helping companies stand out from competitors by creating visuals that entice, leading to higher conversion rates
      11. Data Science, Analytics, Machine Learning – Assisting enterprises by supporting data-driven decision-making for strategic growth
      12. Supply Chain Management & Logistics Student – Procurement, Shipping, Inventory, Risk Management – Graduate June 2020
      13. Recruiter empowering job seekers to master their careers and companies to secure the top talent they need quickly
      14. Over $1 million in sales generated – Using next-gen consumer insights to drive growth in retail
      15. Product manager and designer – Helping startups turn great ideas into viable products that customers adore

Putting It All Together

Your LinkedIn headline is a virtual handshake, only with words. It lets you highlight why hiring managers and recruiters should care about you as a candidate by focusing on how you could be valuable to them. Ultimately, it’s a chance to shine.

By using the tips above, you can craft one of the best LinkedIn headlines around. If you want to stand out from the crowd, take a look at your headline today and give it another go. You might be surprised what a difference a few tweaks can make.

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.