In order to get the most out of your LinkedIn presence, optimize every part of your profile, including your LinkedIn Professional Headline. This appears under your name on your profile. This space is auto-filled the “title” from your last place of employment, but you can change it to say whatever you want.
You have 120 characters (letters and spaces) to write a powerful and descriptive headline that speaks to your ideal client.
There are four different ways most LinkedIn users choose to write a headline.
1. Your Job Title as Your LinkedIn Professional Headline
Some people feel that they need to use the name of their firm and a fancy position in their LinkedIn professional headline to come out ahead. I agree that some industry/job titles need to be used. Which ones? Take a look at these examples:
- Managing Director of ABC Associates
- QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor
- Financial Advisor, Fiduciary
In the first example, who cares about a Managing Director at ABC Associates? (Answer: Only you.) Put this information in the Summary and Experience area of LinkedIn if you feel it will help you gain more business.
How many LinkedIn members are looking for a certified QuickBooks pro? Even CFP or other designations may not be important in your title IF your ideal clients don’t know what those mean. Having QuickBooks or other programs in your LinkedIn professional headline may be beneficial if your ideal clients use that program or want to hire someone who does. Certifications do set you apart from people who are not certified. They can also fit well in other areas of your LinkedIn profile, such as Summary, Education or Courses. Note: In the example above, you could also save the character spaces “certified” and “pro” take up and use those spaces for more impactful words.
Finally, the last example: would people look for a fiduciary? A couple may have read a newspaper article recently and would know what a fiduciary is. But many more will not be familiar with the term. Don’t waste the real estate “above the fold” (space on the top of your profile) on a title that nobody else is searching for.
If you’re in a career and are seeking a new job, remember to use this space for keywords that a recruiter would use to find you. Recommendations for job seeker headlines are a bit different than what I’d recommend for business owners.
2. Using Your Results* for Your LinkedIn Professional Headline
Telling people “what’s in it for them” will often catch their eye more quickly and sustain their attention longer than telling them about yourself. State who you help in the context of how it benefits them:
- I Help Medical Practitioners Build Wealth Through Their Businesses
- I Help RIAs and Financial Advisors Double Their Revenue & Free Time
You can see this format not only tells others how you help. It also piques their interest. They create more impactful statements than just listing “Outsource CFO” or “Life/Business Coach” in your LinkedIn professional headline. The next logical question from the reader is, “How do you do that?” Then your visitor continues to read your profile!
3. Use Both Your Position and Results as Your LinkedIn Professional Headline*
You can always combine both your position and the results you bring to clients. This creates a very powerful LinkedIn professional headline. There are ways to use the method we describe without the results appearing like an ad, promotion, guarantee, etc.
Use this model: “I help ___ to ____”. The first blank should speak to your niche. The second blank talks about the wonderful benefits they will experience as a result of working with you. Then type in a separator symbol (a dash, asterisk or line) and add your title. Here are a few examples:
- I help single moms to plan for a wonderful life after retirement. | Financial Advisor
- I help medical doctors to plan for a great life after college. | Certified Financial Planner
- I help entrepreneurs to realize their profit and play potential. | Strategic Business Coach
4. Using Search-Engine Friendly Words in Your LinkedIn Professional Headline
Search engines analyze the words on a web page as part of their algorithms. This is to determine what the page is about and therefore correctly refer web surfers to the pages they are looking for based on the keywords they type in.
It’s important to use a LinkedIn professional headline that contains keywords that people will use to find you through a Google or LinkedIn search. Surprisingly, LinkedIn profiles often rate high on search engine results pages — higher than even your own website!
Someone conducting a search in Google might type in “accounting for financial advisors” or “accountant for financial advisors” — you can see why these phrases might work better in your LinkedIn professional headline than others. If you want to attract financial advisors to your accounting firm, think about what they would type in to find you.
Examine the professional headline you’ve used in your LinkedIn profile. Determine ways you can make it more interesting to your ideal prospects and more friendly to the search engines.
*Financial advisors should always get compliance approval for their LinkedIn professional headline as well as their entire LinkedIn profile before they go “live”. What one firm will allow, another will disallow.
©2016 Elevating Your Business, Maria Marsala, Strategic Business Coach