LinkedIn headline professionalThe professional headline is the line that appears immediately below your name at the top of the profile. By default, LinkedIn populates the headline with your current job title and company. Since this information appears in “Experience” for your current job, there’s no need to repeat the information. Besides, customizing your headline shows how you stand out from others who have the same job title as yours and use similar keywords.

A good headline tells others what you do and what benefit they get from working with you. It represents your core values, expertise and personal branding. Still some use their job title because it describes the various things they do within the 120-character limit.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your winning headline:

  1. Three or four keywords that represent what you do.
  2. Three or four keywords others use when needing your services.
  3. How are you different from others with the same job title?
  4. Identify what decision-makers care about when they hire someone like you.
  5. Be specific.
  6. Use a human voice.

Once you capture these, experiment with different headlines. You can use | or * to divide text to make your headline more readable. Some people use symbols like ?and ?, but these have mixed results. They make your title stand out, but they can be too bold especially if used more than two or three times in a single headline.

While you’re editing your headline, you can view examples. Check those out for ideas.

Here are some real headlines:

  • Introductions, Relationship Building, Market Research and Lead Generation for Entrepreneurs
  • Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Consultant | NY Times Best Seller | “Book title” | Motivating & Inspiring Worldwide
  • CEO: Manage 3 software brands (Cloud-based, Desktop & iPad) to help SMBs be more professional
  • Online Strategy * Interactive Marketing * Content Management * User Experience * Web Analytics
  • Helping organizations get more from their digital interaction
  • Debonair Developer, Cunning Creatologist, and Director of Covert Activities
  • No-Nonsense Online Business and Marketing Problem Solver
  • Story Guru, Experience Creator, The Mongoose you want under the house when the snake slithers by
  • Head honcho. We help household names sound more human – brand personality, tone of voice, training and writing.
  • Certified Professional Facilitator | Helping Teams to get from Chaos to Clarity
  • Value Focused, Commercially Astute CIO / IT Director with Extensive Global Experience
  • I’m a Growth Hacker. I help people grow and accelerate their businesses.
  • Healthcare executive: operational and financial performance improvement. Revenue growth and expense reduction.
  • Financial Solutions-Provide peace of mind to CEOs|Client got 8% margin growth=$513K|Construction-Roofing-Mfg|CEO CFO CPA

This is your chance to reel in the right connections and weed out the wrong ones. Some add a touch of humor. If that’s you and you enjoy humor in the workplace, then go for it. (Just keep it clean!)

A few things not to do … Don’t use all uppercase letters – that’s shouting. Don’t include a phone, email or URL – LinkedIn can pull your account if they catch you doing that. Don’t be very salesy – that’s a turnoff for a lot of people. A little marketing spin is OK, but keep it tasteful and restrained.

Your headline can mean the difference in getting found and selected. Make sure the rest of your profile is complete and supports your headline.