LinkedIn Headline

What Does Your LinkedIn Headline Say About You?


Did you realize LinkedIn has a built-in marketing and search engine-friendly capability that is easy to use – and often overlooked? Well, neither do most job hunters.

Related: Quick Tip: Tweak Your LinkedIn Professional Headline

The best 120 characters of keyword optimization you can find for a job search, your LinkedIn Headline (or title) is a major piece of the puzzle that can help recruiters locate your skills.

If you’re one of the many that loaded up this field with your current job title (such as “Vice President of Operations” or “Sales Executive”), or worse yet, used it to declare your unemployed status, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to market yourself!

Instead, I recommend presenting your brand and goal in your LinkedIn Headline, using some self-promotion plus a label that gives you a fighting chance of being located by a keyword search. (What’s that? You didn’t realize that recruiters will look for you by keyword? That’s a subject for another post.)

Here are some LinkedIn Headline comparisons for your perusal, taken from actual profiles.

  • William Jones, Unemployed and Looking
  • John Taylor, Operations Director and Manager | Cost Control & Efficiency Improvement at AT&T
  • Bill Ford, Project Manager at Sun Microsystems
  • Anne Wilson, Providing Innovative Business Solutions by Leveraging Technology
  • James Hardin, Pursuing Product Management & Quality Consulting Assignments in Dallas
  • Carson Anderson, IT Systems and Management With Government and Nonprofit Experience
  • Douglas Harding, Enterprise Technology Leader | Principal Network Engineer | Network Architect | Team Leader

Which do you believe increase findability? What makes you want to read further or fails to pique your interest? And of course, which of these are too general to tell you anything about the candidate’s brand?

I hope this makes you take a closer look at your own LinkedIn Headline. Maybe there is a better, more strategic way to convey your value and goals, while sticking to that 120-character limit.

Related Posts

Why Your LinkedIn Headline Is So Important
How To Reach Recruiters On LinkedIn
The Ultimate LinkedIn Checklist


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Laura Smith-Proulx

Multi-credentialed executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is the #1 U.S. TORI resume award record-holder and a published global expert on executive branding and LinkedIn strategies.


  1. I think it is a great article that certainly has some looking at it. Although, I do agree that maybe some more guidance would have been useful, I still feel that she provided just enough to get those interested to really start thinking about their LinkedIn headline.

  2. Good article Laura.

    I agree that your LinkedIn Headline must clearly state “Who Am I” and this has less to do with your title, industry or company and more to do with the value you bring and/or could bring to the people who look at your profile.

    I’m glad to see that Jaime as a recruiter values a good headline when reviewing profiles and hope that more job seekers will catch on to this.

    Two additional comments about your headline that I think are worthy of sharing

    #1 – Don’t load it up with fluffy words like extraordinaire, Expert, World Renowned (yeah, I did once) or Sherpa. Be sincere while also being bold & proud

    #2 – your Summary statement and experience activities listed on your LinkedIn profile better support your Headline. Don’t make recruiters and hiring managers look for this supporting experience.

    Thanks for sharing Laura

  3. The article is good but it is limited. Some people are in linkedin to find a job but others are there to network or establish credibility to develop business. Also the choices for industry are extremely broad and need to be refined to reflect specialization.

  4. As a recruiter, I actually really like when someone’s headline encompasses their title (or at least a description of what they’re doing now) plus where their expertise lies. Most recruiters care most about your current position and current company when deciding whether your experience is relevant to the role they are recruiting for… so I actually don’t think it’s a bad idea to lead with your title. However, if your title is obscure in any way, use laymans terms in your job title. An example of this is that one of my previous titles was “Talent Associate” but in my headline I’d write “Recruiter at X” since Recruiter is more universally used/searched for.

  5. I think the hints the article provided were just that hints. I, however, would have to agree with Richard, that it would have been more helpful if the article had provided tools and techniques for writing a headline. For instance, should the headline reflect the current job we have or stress the skills on has for a job or opportunity they are seeking. I, myself, would like a little more direction on how to determine what about a person would catch the eye of any person. Sounds more like we need to be a marketing representative, with a catchy phrases to draw attention to ourselves.

  6. Anything HR Solutions, Ahmedabad

    I believe, here author wants to emphasize more on putting prominent key words from your most strong skills sets, your expertise & exposure. The best ways could be to review few job openings matching to your key skills & then pick up most common keywords used in those job vacancies.

    That could be one of the easiest & common key words to attract attention of prospective employer. For e.g.

    “IT Recruitment specialist with 5+ Yrs experience”
    “.net4.0 Developer with expertise into WCF & Silverlight”
    “Sales professional with 8+Yrs experience in IT Product/Solutions/Services sales into BFSI segment in DACH region”

    Hope this will help.

    Anything HR Solutions
    Ahmedabad, India

  7. I do understand the meaning of this article. However, it is like putting a bowl of ice cream in front of a child but telling him/her that they are not allowed to eat it. I do not know if there is a limitation to the number of words but more of a follow up what the author thinks are good headlines or some tips are writing a good headline would have been more helpful.

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