Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most visible sections of your LinkedIn profile. It stretches across the top of your profile page, is attached to your newsfeed posts, and is displayed under you name in other users’ “People You May Know” sections. Whether it’s being viewed by your business contacts, prospective sales leads, or a corporate recruiter, your LinkedIn headline is key to making a positive impression and explaining exactly what you bring to the table.
It’s also one of the most important fields for LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Not only should your LinkedIn headline portray you as a credible member of your industry, it should also contain strategic keywords that will help you appear higher in LinkedIn searches. According to LinkedIn’s headline video, “If you want your LinkedIn account to be a way that people discover you or your company, you’ll want to place an emphasis on keywords — words which people will search for on LinkedIn and that will show up on search engines.”
By default, LinkedIn creates your headline based on your current job title and company. For example: “Web Developer at Jobscan.” With 120 characters to work with, sticking with the default LinkedIn headline is a wasted opportunity. There is plenty of room to include other details that help you stand out and show up in more search results. 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
This 111 character headline expands on the user’s skillset, specialization, plus a few specific hard skills that a recruiter or other user might search for on LinkedIn. Below are some real-life examples of strong LinkedIn headlines:
LinkedIn Headline Examples for Active Job Seekers
If you search on LinkedIn for “unemployed,” you might be shocked to find hundreds of LinkedIn users in your extended network with some variation of this headline:
Recruiters on LinkedIn are after the best candidates for the job. 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.
It’s also helpful to be specific. “Experienced media professional seeking new opportunities” is better than just “unemployed,” but it still reveals next to nothing about your skillset. List hard skills when possible.
Here are three quality LinkedIn headline examples from real job seekers.
Jan is a long-time software developer looking for a new opportunity. His LinkedIn headline acknowledges that he’s on the hunt but also includes hard skills that a technical recruiter might search for.
Amanda is job hunting after moving to a new city. She doesn’t mention that 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 recruiters and hiring managers.
Unemployed job seekers can learn a thing or two from experienced freelancers. They’re not unemployed but are always on the lookout for the next opportunity. Destiny is a freelance social media marketer with a LinkedIn headline optimized for finding her next gig. Not only does it contain two key job titles that people are likely to search for, she lets other users know she’s available.
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 headline to find their first real job or a summer internship.
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, and that he’s available and willing to work his way up.
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 interns. Neelam accomplishes this with her LinkedIn headline and uses every single one of the available 120 characters.
Like Neelam, Megan uses the full length of her LinkedIn headline to display as much information as possible. Her availability date is included alongside search keywords like “selling,” “sales,” “sales management,” and “marketing.”
Optimized LinkedIn Headline Examples
Whether you’re discreetly trying to attract recruiters or simply making sure your LinkedIn connections know what it is you do, your headline should expand upon LinkedIn’s default [job title] at [company]. Use the remaining characters for your most important hard skills, specializations, or goals. Here are four more examples of real optimized LinkedIn headlines.
Think about who you want looking at your profile and appeal directly to them in your headline. Type in exactly what they need to know before anything else. Look to your most influential peers for some ideas.
To sum it up
- Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most visible sections of your LinkedIn profile
- Expand upon the default headline by using all 120 characters to include top skills and specialties
- Appear in more LinkedIn searches by using strategic keywords in your headline
- Create opportunities by sharing what you can actually do instead of “unemployed” or “student”
Still not sure what to put for your LinkedIn headline?
Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimization tool analyzes your LinkedIn headline for free. Instead of manually scouring LinkedIn and job descriptions for keywords to put in your headline, Jobscan automates the process by scanning your LinkedIn headline against multiple job descriptions you’re interested in. Jobscan then provides missing keywords, actionable tips, and real examples from other similar users.