LinkedIn is the most powerful platform for job searching, networking, and career management. Creating a strong LinkedIn profile will boost your career and help you land your dream job. But what use does a great LinkedIn summary have if you won’t even appear in LinkedIn search results? This is where the power of your LinkedIn headline comes in.

In this article, we will explore the often-overlooked but very important LinkedIn headline and explain how you can create the best headline that will get recruiters to notice you and reach out to you.

In this article

  1. What is a LinkedIn headline?
  2. Why is your LinkedIn headline important?
  3. How many characters does LinkedIn allow?
  4. Should you stick with the default LinkedIn headline?
  5. How to write a good LinkedIn headline
  6. What to avoid in your LinkedIn headline
  7. Choosing the right keywords for your LinkedIn headline
  8. LinkedIn headline examples
  9. How to change your current LinkedIn headline
  10. How to get personalized ideas for your LinkedIn headline
  11. Other LinkedIn resources
  12. LinkedIn headlines FAQs
  13. 6 Steps to a killer LinkedIn headline

94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet job candidates. Optimize your LinkedIn profile and show that you’re a recruiter’s perfect candidate.

jobscan linkedin optimization preview

What is a LinkedIn headline?

The LinkedIn headline is that section under your name in your LinkedIn profile. It stretches across the top of your page, and it appears everywhere – in the “People You May Know” section, LinkedIn searches, LinkedIn job applications, posts, messages, recommendations, and even invitations to connect.

Your LinkedIn headline is critical real estate that you need to take advantage of because it’s the first personalized section that a recruiter or hiring manager sees after your name.

Creating a killer LinkedIn headline that describes a strong professional brand is the best way to stand out and hook your audience into knowing more about you.

Pro Tip: If you only have a few LinkedIn profile views, the first thing you need to change is your LinkedIn headline.

Why is your LinkedIn headline important?

But just how important are LinkedIn headlines really? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Your LinkedIn headline is a public one-liner resume that gives your audience a quick overview of who you are, what you do, and what you bring to the table.
  2. Together with your LinkedIn profile picture, your LinkedIn headline is the only part that will be seen in LinkedIn search results. People don’t have the luxury of time to click through all profiles in the search results,so having a compelling and enticing LinkedIn headline will give you an edge over other job-seekers. This statement is your chance to convince your audience to click on your profile and learn more about you.
  3. Your LinkedIn Headline affects how recruiters, hiring managers, and prospective employers perceive you. 
  4. Your LinkedIn headline shows up in Google search results 
  5. It’s one of the most important fields for LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Your LinkedIn headline portrays you as a credible member of your industry.

If you only have a few LinkedIn profile views, the first thing you need to change is your LinkedIn headline.

How many characters does the LinkedIn headline allow?

LinkedIn expanded its headline section from 120 to 220 characters in 2020. You now have more space to summarize your entire professional brand and make a strong first impression. There is also more room to include additional details and keywords that will help you stand out and show up in more search results.

Should you stick with the default LinkedIn headline?

No.

One of the mistakes people make is not editing the default headline that LinkedIn creates for every user.

By default, LinkedIn pulls your most recent job title and company from your Work Experience section. 

Example: Web Developer at Jobscan

Although this is good, it is not the best use of the 220 characters that are available. If you want recruiters to look into your LinkedIn profile, you need to intentionally craft the best LinkedIn headline so you appear in their searches.

For example, the default headline could be expanded to read:

Web Developer at Jobscan | Full Stack Engineer | Front End Specialist | HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, JQuery, PHP

How to write a good LinkedIn headline

Your LinkedIn headline needs to showcase your value proposition while using the right keywords, and it needs to be specific. That will make you stand out and convince hiring managers and recruiters to click on your profile and contact you.

Here are three tips on how to write a good LinkedIn headline.

1. Showcase your value proposition

Recruiters and hiring managers don’t always have time to read through every potential hire that appears in a search. It is critical that you display your value proposition, expertise, or your “So what?” in your LinkedIn headline to get their attention.

For example:

CPA at Ernst & Young | Billing and A/R Consultant | Financial Planning and Analysis

A recruiter looking for a CPA who can do financial planning will reach out to a job candidate with this headline for LinkedIn than someone who has “Accountant at ABC Company.”

2. Be specific

Decide which audience you are targeting and speak directly to them. Be clear and specific on what you want to showcase in your LinkedIn headline. Incorporate any or a combination of the following:

  • Job title
  • Expertise and the value you provide
  • Hard skills
  • certifications 
  • Affiliations
  • Location
  • Big achievements
  • Personal Values

3. Use the right keywords

A great LinkedIn headline contains strategic keywords.

Don’t just write random keywords; use those that you think people in your industry will look for, and use keywords that will increase your chances of appearing in recruiter searches.

Your main goal in creating a killer headline for LinkedIn is to show up high in the list when recruiters, hiring managers, or prospective employers search for keywords associated with your industry and field.

4. Make it relevant to your audience

Be mindful of company, industry, or role-specific jargon.

For example, digital marketing covers a wide range of skills and disciplines. Your audience might be searching for someone with SEO experience, conversion rate optimization skills, or a growth marketer. A headline like “5+ years SEO, CVR specialist + Growth” might not mean a lot to someone on the outside, but to your audience, it’s gold.

5. Be honest

It’s easy for employers to get background information on anyone. Include all relevant experience, but don’t embellish that experience. If you only worked in a field for 1 year, describe what you did in that 1 year.

You’re better off not getting a job you’re not qualified for.

That might be enough to get their attention. If not, then you’re better off not getting a job you’re not qualified for.

Questions to guide you

Here are a few questions to guide you in writing your LinkedIn Headline:

  • What industry keywords do I need to use?
  • Who am I trying to help?
  • What problem am I trying to solve?
  • What results have I achieved?
  • What professional attribute will help me stand out?
  • What unique value can I bring to the table?
  • What relevant accomplishments do I have under my belt?
  • Why would a recruiter want to click my LinkedIn profile?

Is your LinkedIn headline and profile optimized for the job you’re going after? Use Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimizer tool to compare your profile to a job description and get specific and customized tips for how to catch attention of recruiters.

gif of linkedin optimization tool from jobscan

What to avoid in your LinkedIn headline

There are several things that you need to be careful of and stay away from.

  • Excessive capitalization 
  • Controversial topics
  • Too many emojis
  • Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
  • Using all capital letters
  • Leaving the headline section blank
  • Cryptic words
  • Abbreviations that aren’t widely used
  • Inappropriate language 

Choosing the right keywords for your LinkedIn headline

Having a compelling LinkedIn profile that doesn’t appear in LinkedIn search results is a wasted opportunity. Boost your chances of appearing in search results by optimizing your LinkedIn headline and including relevant keywords.

Depending on what a recruiter or hiring manager searches for, one profile can appear on the first page while another can appear on page ten.

The keywords in your Linkedin headline make all the difference!

Contrary to resumes, where keywords should be tailored to a specific job posting, a LinkedIn headline should use keywords tailored to career expertise, skills, and position titles.

Here are six tips to keep in mind:

  1. Think of keywords and industry-specific jargon that a recruiter in your field might look for.
  2. Look for jobs that you’re interested in, and write down job titles and keywords.
  3. Compile common keywords and rank them in order of importance to you
  4. Make sure you use at least 3 of your top keywords in your headline
  5. Make sure your headline is grammatically correct
  6. Don’t overstuff your LinkedIn headline with keywords

LinkedIn headline examples

LinkedIn headline examples for job seekers

If you search on LinkedIn for “unemployed,” you’ll be shocked to find hundreds of LinkedIn users in your extended network with some variation of this headline:

Don't use "Unemployed" in your LinkedIn Headline

Recruiters on LinkedIn are after the best candidates for the job, period. They’re not typically limiting their search to users who are actively job hunting. It’s OK to mention that you’re looking, but what you can actually do is far more important.

Here are four quality LinkedIn headline examples from real job seekers:

linkedin headline for job seekers

The most important search keyword is the job title. Dawn leads with “Digital Marketing Manager” and then packs a ton of meaningful and frequently searched hard skills, keeping them organized with vertical bars/pipes (|).

linkedin headline example for job seekers

Amanda is job hunting after moving to a new city. She doesn’t mention what she’s seeking in her headline, but does in her profile summary. Her LinkedIn headline features the specific job title she’s targeting even though she hasn’t held that exact job title in the past. This headline is geared towards her future and specific roles recruiters are searching for.

linkedin headline example for job seekers

Amir is a long-time software developer looking for a new opportunity. His LinkedIn headline acknowledges that he’s on the hunt — which isn’t necessary — but also includes hard skills that a technical recruiter might search for.

linkedin headline example for job seekers

Instead of tacking on to her default LinkedIn headline, Meredith bumped it to the end and front-loaded her headline with relevant industry keywords and search terms. The job title will help her come up for specific search queries and adds context to her skills.The right job title is the most important keyword you can include in your headline.

Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimization tool analyzes your profile against jobs you’re interested in and industry data to show you the exact titles and keywords you need in your headline.

Try linkedin optimization

LinkedIn headline examples for students

For a student with limited professional experience, it can be difficult to know what to put in a LinkedIn headline. Here are three good examples of students using their LinkedIn headlines to find their first real job or a summer internship.

student linkedin headline example

Kevin packs a lot into his headline for LinkedIn. We know what he’s studying, when he’ll be available, the exact job title he’s seeking, and some of his key hard skills. A realistic recruiter search of “software engineer PHP c++” could create an opportunity for Kevin.

linkedin headline example for students

Tristan is looking for his first opportunity after earning a degree in digital media arts. His LinkedIn headline clearly states the types of roles for which he’s qualified (rather than “aspiring” to), and that he’s available and willing to work his way up.

linkedin headline for students example

Without extensive professional experience, students should focus on the skills they’ve learned and would like to develop in an internship. The word “internship” itself should also be included for any recruiters or department leads searching LinkedIn for potential interns.

student linkedin headline example

Megan displays as much information as possible in a naturalistic way. Her availability date is included alongside search keywords like “selling,” “sales,” “sales management,” and “marketing.”

LinkedIn headline examples for salespeople

Sales can cover a broad spectrum of skills, experience, and fields. Be specific in your headline and use a call-to-action to let employers know exactly where you can help.

example of a salesperson linkedin headline

Micaiah managed to fit a lot of helpful information into his headline. He’s looking for a remote job, he has experience as a sales development representative and a business development representative, and he specializes in Saas companies. With less than 10 words, Micaiah told employers everything they need to know about why he’s qualified and if he’s a good fit for them.

example of a salesperson linkedin headline

Jessica also gave a lot of details. She even gave the specific field she’s looking to join – tech sales. This is a great keyword to use. Any tech company who needs a sales representative will likely search for “tech sales”. Who’s the first person that comes up in that search? Jessica.

example of a salesperson linkedin headline

Don’t be afraid to niche down! Effective salespeople are experts in what they’re selling. Anam is an expert in a very specific field – enterprise fintech SaaS companies. He makes that clear and tells employers exactly what he brings to the table.

LinkedIn headline examples for HR managers

How can you stand out from other HR leaders on LinkedIn? Include areas of expertise, results, and how you achieve goals. These LinkedIn headlines from HR managers are great examples of that.

example of an optimized hr manager linkedin headline

Lisa includes some key phrases that will get the attention of recruiters and employers. “Strategic” and “business results” will grab their attention. She’s even able to explain how she gets those results. This headline is the perfect sales pitch.

example of an optimized hr manager linkedin headline

Melinda succinctly describes her areas of expertise, level of experience, and even her hobbies! All in one headline! Recruiters who are looking for these exact skills will click on her bio in an instant.

example of an optimized hr manager linkedin headline

Mary’s headline is short and simple, but it includes every crucial detail. She gives her level of experience – “executive” – and she explains how she operates and what her focus is as an HR leader. Her last statement could be a little less vague, but she at least describes her mindset for results. She also included all of her certifications and titles in her main headline.

example of an optimized hr manager linkedin headline

Karolina lists some unique qualifications that display her specific areas of expertise. Beyond experience as an HR manager, she has also been a talent manager and has engaged in employee and labor relations. On top of that, she’s multilingual. That’s a lot of experience to fit in to one headline, but she does it effectively.

LinkedIn headline examples for graduates

As a recent graduate, you might feel like you don’t have enough experience to qualify for the job you want. To remove this blocker, include internships in your headline. If you don’t have an internships to mention, be specific about your education and the job you’re seeking.

example of a graduate linkedin headline

Haley is a good example of a graduate who optimized their LinkedIn headline even though she didn’t have a relevant internship to mention. She shows what field her training is in and what specific area of that field she wants to join.

example of a graduate linkedin headline

Akshita cites her degree major, her experience at ZS Associates, and her prominent internship as a software engineer with Microsoft. This tells recruiters what areas she is knowledgeable in and what skills she has.

example of a graduate linkedin headline

Sanjana also lists a prominent internship, this one at Goldman Sachs, and her university education. There’s some room for improvement though. She has enough room here to give details on her degree and some relevant extracurricular activities she engaged in while in college.

How to change your LinkedIn headline

Editing and updating your LinkedIn headline is easy. Here’s what you have to do:

  • Click the Me icon at top of your LinkedIn homepage and click View Profile to get to your LinkedIn profile.
a screenshot of the linkedin profile header section
  • Click the  Edit icon in your introduction section (that pencil icon below your cover photo)
  • In the Edit intro pop-up window, write your LinkedIn headline in the Headline field and Save the changes made.
where to edit your linkedin profile headline

How to get personalized ideas for your LinkedIn headline

Can recruiters find you based on your headline? Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimization tool analyzes your LinkedIn headline for free to see whether or not it contains the right keywords for your job interests and industry.

To use our LinkedIn Optimization tool:

  1. Log into your LinkedIn profile
  2. Once there, click the “More” button and then “Save to PDF”. This transfers your profile into a resume that you can download.
  3. Within the LinkedIn Optimization tool, click “Connect with LinkedIn” and log into your LinkedIn account here, too. 
  4. On the next screen, upload the resume you created from your profile. 
  5. Paste in the job descriptions you want to compare your profile against. Once you do this, you’ll see a report filled with actionable advice and insights on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile based on the job descriptions you pasted in the previous step.
LinkedIn optimization to create a better LinkedIn headline

Other LinkedIn resources

To stand out in a sea of candidates on LinkedIn, you shouldn’t just optimize your LinkedIn headline. You need to work through your entire LinkedIn profile, making sure that everything is complete, professional, and optimized. Here are some resources to help you create a top-notch LinkedIn profile that will attract recruiters and hiring managers.

LinkedIn headlines FAQs

What do you include in your LinkedIn headline?

Here are a couple of things you can include in your LinkedIn headline.

  • Current job title and current company
  • Unique value proposition 
  • Worthwhile achievements 
  • Areas of expertise
  • Hard skills
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Personal and public details (for some personal touch)

Why should you customize your LinkedIn headline?

Your LinkedIn headline plays a huge role in your chances of appearing in LinkedIn search results. The LinkedIn headline appears everywhere on the platform and is one of the first things people see. When you customize your headline and optimize it with relevant and targeted keywords, you increase your chances of getting to the top of the search results list, getting noticed by recruiters, and getting contacted by hiring managers.

What should a student’s LinkedIn headline include?

If you are a student, your headline for LinkedIn may include the following:

  • Your degree and university name
  • Hard skills 
  • Dream job
  • Academic Honors and Awards
  • Scholarships
  • Thesis
  • Achievements that you are most proud of

What should a career changer’s headline for LinkedIn include?

If you are switching careers, you need to focus on the new job and industry that you want and optimize your headline with keywords in this industry. You may also mention your current expertise and your past career experiences and skills.

6 Steps to a Killer LinkedIn Headline

Without a doubt, the LinkedIn headline is an essential real estate that you need to take advantage of in order to get your LinkedIn profile to rank high in search results and get noticed by recruiters and prospective employers. To sum it all up, here are a few key points:

  1. Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most visible sections of your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Expand upon the default headline by using all 220 characters to include top skills and specialties.
  3. Appear in more LinkedIn searches by using strategic keywords in your headline.
  4. Don’t settle for the default headline provided by LinkedIn.
  5. Create opportunities by sharing what you can actually do instead of just describing yourself as “unemployed” or “student.”
  6. Make sure your LinkedIn Headline is optimized as with the rest of your LinkedIn profile.