HR & Management

Linkedin: What to put in your professional headline

3 min read

27 August 2011

Your professional headline on LinkedIn affects how and when you appear in search results. Here's how to write a strong professional headline on LinkedIn.

I’ve recently been writing some training on how to use LinkedIn to generate leads for your business. 

In the course of my research, I discovered that most people do not know what to put in their professional headline within their LinkedIn profile. In fact, the amount of poorly written headlines and empty summary boxes on people’s LinkedIn profiles was very depressing.

In brief, your professional headline on your LinkedIn profile is the “strapline” under your name which appears whenever your name appears on LinkedIn. 

Similar to a business’s strapline, your professional headline is something which defines, at a glance, your personal brand. 

Yet most professionals let LinkedIn set their professional headline within their profile. In other words, they leave it as: Job title X at Company Y.

I don’t know about you, but my personal brand is much wider and bigger than: “Chief Coach at The Efficiency Coach”!

What about my book, The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking? My social media expertise? My business coaching experience? The value my services bring to my target market – accountants and lawyers?

In case you haven’t read many of my previous pieces on LinkedIn, one of the very powerful reasons to be on LinkedIn – apart from its 100 million worldwide membership base – is that Google ranks LinkedIn very highly, and normally returns your LinkedIn profile in the top three results when someone Googles your name.

Now, your professional headline is not only JUST read by google and humans – it’s also indexed by LinkedIn’s own search engine, which is equally important. Therefore, you need to also add in some keywords which describe what you want to be found for.

To summarise, your professional headline needs to include a combination of:

  • What you do
  • The value you bring to your clients
  • Keywords which someone searching for a person like you may use

After doing this research, I realised that I had to change my own professional headline. Here’s my updated professional headline:

“Author of ‘The FT Guide to Business Networking’, Speaker, Business Coach, Social Media Consultant”

Oh, and one more thing, you only have 125 characters to write your professional headline!

What’s in your professional headline?

Heather Townsend is the author of The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking. and the founder of The Efficiency Coach. Follow her Partnership Potential and Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks.