If you’re looking for a new job, you probably already know the importance of having an updated LinkedIn profile, but you may not realize how important the LinkedIn headline section can be to your job search.
Related: Quick Tip: Tweak Your LinkedIn Professional Headline
By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your current job title and employer, but this field is fully customizable. Most career experts agree that this is one of the most powerful fields in your profile and you should take full advantage of the ability to show your awesomeness in 120 characters or less.
Why You Should Update Your LinkedIn Headline
When recruiters use LinkedIn to identify candidates for their open positions, the first piece of data that comes up is your name and your headline. There needs to be some call to action for the recruiter to click through to your full profile.
Think Like A Salesperson
Rather than just listing your job title, think like a salesperson. What is your greatest asset for a prospective employer? What’s in it for the employer if they hire you? Why should this employer hire you or even make an initial contact with you? Since you’ll need to edit this down to a quick sound bite, make a list of all of your assets and then rank them in order of importance. Take the top two or three and work them into a headline of appropriate length.
If you’re struggling with this, ask people who know you to help. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to be our own agent, but other people see us favorably. Ask former co-workers, friends and family to tell you what they admire most about you and take those items and work them into a headline.
Be Specific To Your Field
Your headline should also be specific to your career field. Use keywords that may be used in a recruiter’s search for your specialty. Some creativity is good to set you apart from the competition, but it’s unlikely that a recruiter will be searching for a “healthcare ninja,” so don’t go overboard with originality and imagination.
Tell Your Story As Succinctly As Possible
Since a mere 120 characters goes quickly, so you can’t write a novel, but you do have room to make one solid statement about who you are. Think about how you got to this point in your career and what problems you want to solve for an employer going forward.
When you’re ready to make a change to your headline, log in to LinkedIn and select the menu for Profile, Edit Profile. Click Edit by your name. On the next screen, you’ll see a subheading for Headline. It’s easier to craft the headline in Word (or a similar word processing program) so you can see how many characters you’re using and then cut and paste it into the LinkedIn field. Click Save Changes and you’re finished!
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
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