LinkedIn Profile Headline: Make it or Break it

 In LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Headline: Make it or Break itIf I see another user’s LinkedIn profile headline that says “Unemployed,” I am gonna scream!!!

Listen up, people.

“Unemployed” is not a job. It is not a goal. It is not positive. It basically is shouting out to the world that you are in a bad place.

Your headline should reflect your goal. Your target. It should summarize your background. Point you towards the future. Declare your career target.

It shouldn’t look back at real or perceived slights or failures, or your current situation.

The first point of contact you have with online networks is how you are found in search results, and the very first thing they see is your LinkedIn profile headline.

Do you really want them to immediately associate you with “unemployed?”

Is that what you want them to take away?  You haven’t even told your story yet. And never will be able to because you’ve already pushed them away with a negative LinkedIn profile headline.

A headline is all about compelling someone to read more. Stick around a little longer on your profile.  Make them want to know you more.

Negative language in your LinkedIn profile headline only serves to push them away.  And yes, they do stay away.

My point is that there are better ways to indicate your interest in new employment opportunities without putting it into your LinkedIn profile headline.

Instead, try including a call to action in your summary.  Leave your LinkedIn profile headline to selling yourself and what you can do for employers.  Your headline is your personal brand opportunity.

But just as much as some people turn potential employers away from their LinkedIn profile headline with negative language, there are others who go the opposite direction.

These are the people who use LinkedIn profile headlines that say “visionary” or “expert.”

Even worse: “Visionary expert.”

Pssst. Here’s a secret:  Anyone who has to TELL you that they are an expert… usually aren’t one in reality.  The REAL experts simply are. They don’t have to try to impress you. They are secure in their background and credentials.

So if you are one of those people who calls themselves one of those expert titles, knock it off. We are not impressed.

Instead, you should be telling the reader about HOW you actually help companies, not that you are an expert at it. The HOW is the devil in the details, and also is really your signature brand or service that you offer.

The best LinkedIn profiles are the ones that draw people in, not scare them away.

Which side of that equation do you want to be on?

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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