How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Professional Headline SEO-Friendly

by Meg Guiseppi on October 9, 2012

To maximize your LinkedIn professional headline, make it SEO-friendly.

That is, include the most important relevant keywords recruiters and your target employers will be searching for, when they’re sourcing top talent.

Your LinkedIn professional headline sits high up on the web page. Any relevant keywords you place there will be more readily found by search engines than the content below it.

Having the right keywords there (and in your “Summary” and “Skills & Expertise” sections, which also sit high on the web page) can quickly and easily lead the people you want to find you right to you.

Once you have a 100% complete LI profile, according to LinkedIn’s criteria — AND those all-important relevant keywords in your headline — your profile will likely land higher in search results for those keywords.

If you haven’t changed the default headline LinkedIn automatically populated for that spot, based on the information you’ve completed for your most recent job, here’s what your headline looks like:

CEO – [Current Company]

Improving your headline doesn’t mean loading it with anemic phrases like “results-oriented”, “hands-on” and “forward-thinking”.

Instead, create something like this:

CEO, COO, President – Global Manufacturing Turnaround Management – Lean | JIT | Demand Flow Technology

Get the idea?

You can pack quite a punch with the 120 characters allowed. Use as many of the characters as you can, while keeping the headline comprehensible. More relevant keywords = more likelihood your profile will be found.

Here’s how to change your LinkedIn professional headline:

  • On the menu at the top of your profile, hover over “Profile” and click on “Edit Profile”.
  • Look next to your name and click on the tiny blue “Edit” link.
  • The second block of fields is the “Headline”. Fill in your juicy new, keyword-rich headline and hit “Save Changes”.

Your new LinkedIn professional headline will immediately be indexed in LinkedIn’s search engine, waiting for people to search those keywords.

Once your completed LinkedIn profile is picked up by Google (and the other search engines), when people search your name to find out more about you, your LinkedIn profile should land high in search results, and your professional headline will show up in the search result.

Keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile, along with containing all those good key words, needs to be a good read. Merely loading it with a string of keywords and neglecting to create interesting content may sabotage your chances to be noticed and considered for the jobs you want.

Don’t know what keywords and phrases are the right ones for you? You probably didn’t do your industry and target company research.

Related posts:

How to Get Your Personal Brand Into Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn’s Free Executive Job Search Resources

Using LinkedIn For Confidential Executive Job Search

Does My LinkedIn Profile Really Need a Photo?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg Guiseppi June 7, 2013 at 7:26 am

Thanks for commenting, Rasmus.

I’m glad you found my post helpful. To develop a headline that will capture the attention of your target employers, you’ll need to first do the hard work of researching their needs and what makes you a good fit for them. In doing that research, you’ll uncover the relevant keywords you’ll need to use in your LinkedIn headline, elsewhere in your LI profile, and in all your career marketing materials.

2 Rasmus Fri June 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm


Very interesting and good tips! But I am wondering if you have any further advice. I am now graduating from my undergraduate studies (Management of Business & Technology) and will now head into the job market. I have no “relevant”(3 years as a waiter and event manager at a restaurant) previous work experience in Finance and Consultancy, which are the industries where I want to find a job.

I am wondering if you have any tips on what to write in my headline to improve my “SEO”? my current headline is: “Student at the University of La Salle, Ramon Llull, Barcelona”

Thank you!

3 Meg Guiseppi October 10, 2012 at 8:47 am

Nice to hear from you, Steve, with another excellent tip!

Wish I had thought to include your suggestion in the post, especially since I’ve used it myself. In my own LinkedIn profile, I tagged “my name” with “Executive Resume Branding”, which is an additional important search term for me.

Thanks for your valuable advice!

4 Stephen "Steve" Q Shannon October 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

Meg, Another tip I have learned is display you CPA, MD, PhD, or other widely recognized designation following you name and a comma, is, contrary to some LI advisers, totally okay with LinkedIn. Result: Your name, your certification, your intensely optimized headline, as you have eloquently recommended, “will tag-a-long with you” everywhere you go on LinkedIn. Next time you see activity from your network members note how many do not intensely optimize their name and headline not to mention their image, another highly neglected profile element. I am having my avatar changed (after too many years) as we “speak.” Thanks Meg for the excellent post. I will share it, with attribution, with my “tribe” members. Your advocate, Stephen “Steve” Q

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