Your LinkedIn headline doesn’t just show up when someone searches for your name.

It shows up literally everywhere you go, on LinkedIn, that is.

On top of your LinkedIn profile.
linkedin-headlines-location
On your sidebar.

Every post you’ve ever written or shared.

You can even find them on the comments you wrote!

Can you feel the power of it?

Now, if you want to get attention, like really get attention…

Then you need to ditch the default LinkedIn-generated headline.

First of all, most job titles are boring.

Sales Engineer at Company X.

Commercial Manager at Company Y.

Software Developer at Company.

College Student at College XYZ.

It’s boooooooooooring!

There are 3 reasons you would use this:

You are already a big shot.

  1. You don’t know what to do with it.
  2. You are lazy.

Well, if you are the CEO or Founder of some global company like Virgin Group’s Richard Branson,

Richard Branson's LinkedIn Profile

or Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn (since we are writing about LinkedIn, let’s give credit to the founder okay?)

Jeff Weiner's LinkedIn Profile

or even Jessica Alba…

Jessica Alba's LinkedIn Profile

You are already a figure of authority.

People know you.

But chances are, you are one of the 99% that aren’t (me included).

So well, you want to stand out.

You need to stand out.

Heck, even O’Neal is trying.

Shaq O'Neal LinkedIn Profile

So, what can you do?

As always, ask yourself this first:

Who are you writing for?

Are you waiting to be headhunted?

Are you looking to connect with potential clients?

Or perhaps, you are just trying to show off (who said it’s wrong to show off?)

Once you have determined your target audience, you can start writing something and then ask yourself the next question:

Would they be interested in reading this?

Much like how a subject line determines whether you open that email or read that blog post, headlines possess the same dopamine-effect.

You want to be able to capture their attention and trigger their interest in finding out more about you.

Now, let’s get into the HOW.

The first formula you can use is by adding purpose to LinkedIn’s default headline:

[What You Really Do] as [Job Title] at [Company]

This can be like “Slashing Taxes as a Finance Controller at Company JFK”

Or “Making Conversion Higher as Lead Digital Marketer at Company AWS”

What you are really doing here is showing them what value you are actually bringing to your company (and what you can do for theirs if they decided to headhunt you).

Experience-based

[X] Years in [Your Industry] as [Job Title] doing [What You Do]

By showing off your X years experience in Y industry, you are making it easy for headhunters who are looking for a seasoned veteran.

Just another variation to keep your brain juice flowing:

[Job Title] with [X] Years in [Your Industry]

Achievement-based

Well, what if you do not have 10 years of experience to impress viewers?

How about.. showing what you have managed to accomplish? I helped [Company] increase sales by [%]

I make [Website] load faster by [%]

Showing your achievement in the field of interest not only

[Job Title] [Featured in media X or Spoken at event Y]

I saved the best for last.

Heck-it, whack-it, Zing-zing

This proven formula is designed to not just make your headline standout, but also improve your appearance in the search result.

[Job Title] + [Keywords] + [Unique ZING]

The first key here is keywords (no pun intended).

As a job-seeker, you want to make sure recruiters can find you.

And recruiters generally do a search for a related keyword using LinkedIn Boolean search.

For e.g. (Writer OR Copywriter OR Content Writer) NOT Company X

Search results will return those who have any of the above terms in their profile that is NOT from Company X (more on this next time).

So naturally, you want to include some keywords that people would use to try to find you.

This can be your industry, your area of expertise, or topic of interest.

Next up, is the unique Zing.

This is THE element that makes your headline looks interesting. Put in your proudest achievement or what you think is your best value.

If you are trying to appeal to recruiters, then think along the line of why should you hire me or why should you connect with me.

And if you really can’t think of anything, drop a comment below and let me spice up your profile a little!

Madeline Mann, the host of Self Made Millennial has shown how she skyrocketed her profile searches by 130% after she changed her headline to a variation of the format above

[Job Title] | [Industry/Area of Expertise] | [Unique Zing]

So here’s what she did:

Madeline Mann's LinkedIn Profile

Instead of showing off her title as the Director of People Operations at Gem, she simplified it to just People Operations, because, well, it doesn’t make that much of impact whether you are a Director or not. People are generally more interested in what you really do, so let’s find a balance on that.

And for her unique Zing, she used her YouTube Channel because it is what she has become known for. It’s important to remember that you should only put something of a true value, especially to your readers. Additional ideas for your unique Zing can be any accomplishment such as being featured in [X media] or spoken at {event Y} can go up here too.

Here’s the LinkedIn profile of Grant Cardone:

Grant Cardone's LinkedIn Profile

He combined what he does (Investor) and area of expertise (Real Estate) with his achievements. Then, he closes with a short tagline, Father – Husband – Disrupter, the Disrupter being his unique Zing that triggers your curiosity to at least find out how disruptive he is in what he does.

A bit of extra spice

Instead of writing your headline like a full sentence, you can also break them apart with different kind of separators such as – (dash) or the | (vertical bar/pipe).

Or… Use symbols and emojis!

This is a love-hate thing. Some people like it, some just don’t.

As long as you don’t exploit it in such a way that you seem immature or plain unprofessional, you are good to go.

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There.

5-minute is up.

How does your profile look like before and after? Share with me in the comment below!

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