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If you want your LinkedIn profile headline to draw people to you like a magnet . . .
Maximize it by making it Search Engine Optimization (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.
How SEO works with your LinkedIn profile headline
Your LinkedIn profile 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 in the headline can quickly and easily lead the people you want to find you right to your profile.
But don’t overlook stoking the rest of your profile content with relevant keywords, while still making it an interesting read to human beings.
Once you’ve built out your LinkedIn profile, fully populating applicable sections with keyword-rich content, your profile will likely land higher in search results for those keywords.
How to optimize your LinkedIn profile headline.
If you haven’t customized the default headline, LinkedIn automatically populates that spot with your most recent job title from the Experience section, such as:
CEO – [Current Company]
Improving your headline doesn’t mean loading it with anemic phrases like “results-oriented”, “hands-on” or “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. [More characters are allowed with mobile.]
Use as many of the characters as you can to pump up the headline. More relevant keywords will make your profile more visible and findable.
What happens once your LinkedIn profile headline is SEO-friendly?
Your new LinkedIn profile headline will immediately be indexed in LinkedIn’s search engine, available to searches for those keywords.
Once your LinkedIn profile is picked up by Google (and the other search engines), searches for “your name” should include your LinkedIn profile on the first page or two of results.
And your profile headline will show up in the search result itself.
Keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile, along with containing all those good keywords, needs to be a good read.
Merely loading it with a string of keywords and neglecting to create vibrant, brand-evident 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.
More About LinkedIn and Executive Job Search
Top 10 Ways to Build Your Online Personal Brand with LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn Wisely in Your Executive Job Search
10+ Years on LinkedIn – Why It’s Still Indispensable To Me
The 3 Most Important LinkedIn Profile SEO Places for Relevant Keywords
Does My LinkedIn Profile Really Need a Photo?
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Chris Morton says
Also understand that every time you post in the fed or comment on someone else’s post, the first 79 characters of your headline appear every time, right below your name.
This means you should get the most important bits of your headline right up front (the lest-most position).
It also means that, by being active on the platform, you’re gaining more and more exposure and are informing all of those eyeballs what it is you do.
Those in the know try to get some personality aspect in there, too, so as to entice people to have a look at your profile. Here’s my headline as an example:
Editor/author fixes web/print content: accuracy, readability, continuity, and integrity for marketing and high tech
BTW, getting the extra characters only works on iPhone, near as I can tell.
Meg Guiseppi says
Thank you for sharing your tips, Chris.
Rasmus Fri says
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”
Meg Guiseppi says
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.
Stephen "Steve" Q Shannon says
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
Meg Guiseppi says
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!