Ninja, Nerd, or Nut: What Your LinkedIn Headline Says About You

March 6, 2016 By in Career Advice

Your LinkedIn profile serves as your most powerful, personal tool for marketing your talents to hiring managers, colleagues, and clients. Members of this 500 million person global professional community have an understandable desire to stand out from their competition by creatively describing their unique core competencies and transferable skills, with the goal to be found, screened, and contacted for exciting new opportunities. Every word used in our profile is searchable, so let’s use them wisely.

While some people use their recent job title or the quickly-ignored generic headline phrase “Open to New Opportunities”, currently displayed on more than 28,000 LinkedIn profiles, others members take creative headlines to a whole new level, crafting entertaining titles. Some of our colleagues believe that they’re a “visionary”, “ninja”, or “foremost authority”, while others offer an amusing, playful description of their abilities as “cyber superhero”. Take a look at how some of your LinkedIn colleagues view themselves. Which ones would you hire or partner with in business? Are you searching for their brand? Do these unique examples generate inspiring ideas for your profile headline marketing efforts?

Here are 3 recommendations for creating an outstanding LinkedIn profile headline that effectively markets your proven leadership, brand, and industry skills:

1. First Impression Impact: A clear, succinct headline is an “appetizer” describing your most valuable talents sought after by industry colleagues. You either grab or lose your readers’ attention here, so give them a taste of your abilities, professionalism, and personality. This engaging introduction entices profile visitors to read beyond your headline. What kind of first impression is conveyed by “cubicle warmer” or “senior narcissist”? How about “goddess” or “guru”? If your headline doesn’t clearly target a client, organization, or industry need, consider rewriting those 120 characters to create a more eye-catching first impression. You’ll either attract interested viewers or be ignored for your competitors’ more effective and relevant marketing introduction. Create an impact! 

2. Convey Core Competencies: A clearly-worded headline will illustrate solid core competencies and transferable skills valuable and relevant to hiring managers within your industry. Share your unique experience and problem-solving talents. Keep in mind that you’re hired by employers or clients to identify, create, and implement solutions, so sell your skills. If “nerd”, “genius”, or “rock star” fail to convey your professionalism, solid knowledge, and proven experience, then consider writing a more appropriate and personal description. Whether or not you’re job hunting, your headline isn’t an opportunity to become a comedian or narcissist, so brand yourself here as a confident, competent, collaborative leader with highly sought-after competencies.

3. Connect with the Reader: Hiring and reporting managers have a brief amount of time to view your profile, so make sure every word counts. Will your headline entice them to read your profile or switch to a competitor’s page? Will your current employer, next employer, clients, or colleagues understand and identify with a “motivational superhero” or “chief computer geek”? A growing number of job hunters have overused, uninspired, cookie cutter headline phrases that quickly turn off viewers because they fail to personalize skills and accomplishments. As a result, the hiring reader will move on to a more thoughtfully-written headline. For ideas on how to express your talents to connect with your readers, review targeted job ad descriptions to identify which of your transferable skills will impress and resonate well with your colleagues, then write a smart headline. Grow trust with your readers when you describe your top talents.

Your keyword-packed, engaging LinkedIn headline should market your most valuable, transferable skills, rather than mimic content found on thousands of other profiles. An articulate, thoughtful headline will have great impact when it offers a concise overview of your best talents, increasing your online visibility to attract interviews. Even a “ninja”, “nerd”, or “nut” can learn how to create a powerful first impression that stands out from their competition!

Meet the Author:
Deborah Rooney, M.S., Ed., is the owner of Power Links 2 Success. She teaches highly motivated global executive leaders, adults in career transition, and sales managers how to apply unique strategies to market themselves directly to internal hiring decision makers, setting themselves apart from their competition to increase interviews and job offers. Deb also works with international college students and recent grads to help them expedite their hiring by connecting with Visa-sponsoring companies. Follow her company page to receive daily LinkedIn strategies, job hunting advice, interview preparation tips, and leadership encouragement,

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