Take These Career-Altering LinkedIn Profile Headlines, Please…

Apparently, using LinkedIn's actual logo on a self-help book's cover is frowned upon...
Apparently, using LinkedIn’s actual logo on a self-help book’s cover is frowned upon…

To improve my LinkedIn mentality, I ingested as many of Liam Austin’s 12/2015 LinkedIn Success Summit webcasts as humanly possible.

I’m not one to binge-watch TV shows. But due to the (figurative) tightening noose of my son’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah, I “binge-attended” those LinkedIn Success Summit webcasts until the free access was no more.

In honor of Liam’s generosity, I encourage you to check out his LinkedIn Success Summit, now repackaged as the LinkedIn Incubator online course.

One sliver of advice surfaced repeatedly during the many Success Summit interviews I documented via copious notes. Want to know what it is? (Of course you do. Why else did your eyeballs affix themselves to this blog post’s tantalizing teaser?)

It’s simply this: Your LinkedIn profile headline should be a benefit statement with keywords. It shouldn’t be a bland, generic label: accountant, financial adviser, IT consultant, store owner, graphic designer (and writer!).

Per Donna Serdula, your profile’s headline “follows you around on LinkedIn,” so you should make it compelling. Instinctively, you know this is good advice. But what if writing persuasively makes you uncomfortable? Perhaps you hesitate to write anything about yourself that sounds, well, promiscuously promotional.

I’m stepping in by way of blog post to give you the necessary push. Prepare yourself: I’ve scanned numerous LinkedIn headlines across a sampling of professions.

Is your current LinkedIn headline as forgettable as your first (fumbling, bumbling) sexual encounter? If so, go into your account and edit it after reading this post. Promise me you’ll do it. The examples that follow are yours to “quasi-lift.” Just don’t get caught doing a plagiaristic version of “the full Monty.”

(Note: LinkedIn profile headlines are limited to 120 characters. Please adjust/edit your headline accordingly…)

In Example #1, We’ll Turn Anonymous Accounting into Developing Dollars: Accountants are (typically) modest people who focus strictly on the numbers. But that doesn’t mean they can’t express themselves on LinkedIn with panache.

The most common headline representing our bean-counting friends goes something like this: Dee Ceepeeay, Professional and Experienced Accounting and Tax Services.

Small-business owners and larger enterprises alike need reliable accounting assistance. But there’s a good chance Dee Ceepeeay’s profile won’t garner many clicks. What if Dee’s LinkedIn profile offered a headline/tagline like this?

“After I crunch the accounting numbers and maximize your tax refund, I’ll make you a cup of (Company Name) green tea.”

Your professional headline should focus on potential clients. Entice them into learning how you can make their boo-boos all better. The “it’s not about me; it’s about you” theme will repeat throughout this post like a cable-TV channel solely dedicated to Groundhog Day. Onward!

In Example #2, We’ll Transform Compliant Financial Services into a Potential Cornucopia of Clients: I’m fairly confident many of those modest accountants hang out and consume hard-to-find microbrewery beers with their kindred spirits: financial-services advisers, consultants, and executives.

A typical financial-services headline on LinkedIn you might stumble upon: Ima Seriessevn, Financial Adviser and Managing Partner at…

Honest reveal: I’m married to a longtime financial adviser. Additionally, I’m quite aware that any financial firm’s compliance department will get medieval on your @$$ if you commit certain language faux pas.

Specifically, you can’t promise numerical return rates regarding the investment strategies you dispense. But you can wear 37 pieces of (digital) flair. How about:

“Does worry rule your investment strategy? As your financial adviser (at Company Name), my quest is monetary sanctuary.”

(The necessary keywords for searching within LinkedIn remain intact.)

In Example #3, We’ll Reboot IT/Technical Services as a Viral Source (The Good Kind) of Prosperous Programming: Tech professionals share a distinct sense of humor. It usually produces a plethora of quirky GIFs and infographics on Facebook and Twitter. (I’m not sure about Quora–Google+, maybe.)

But on LinkedIn, many IT managers and business owners handle their Boolean searches straight up: Eckzemel Bitmap, National Technical Services Manager and IT Professional at…

I’m not suggesting you techies out there should embed a lineup of Star Wars, Second Life, or Minecraft emojis in your profile’s headline. (Or am I?) Consider unzipping this file:

“I back up your data and darkest fears before Trojans (and their viruses) invade your business’s IT defenses!”

One last thing: Beware of seagull managers and other IT sniglets

In Example #4, We’ll Merchandise Small-Business Retailers with Window-Dressing That Reaps Stellar Sales: People who own boutique-size retail businesses bestow a lot of love upon their window displays, end caps, and merchandising plan-o-grams.

This may leave them with scant reserves of energy for writing a killer professional headline on LinkedIn. The most frequent headline/tagline I observed for these peeps was: Aisle Shopfouryuu, Retail Store Manager at/for (Company Name).

Really? As my maternal grandmother might have said, “A glick ayf dir!” I’ll channel a sassy toy-store owner’s spirit and suggest:

“You’ve got kids; (Company Name) has over 5,000 creative and educational toys, games, and puzzles in stock. Let’s play!”

I had you at Aisle Shopfouryuu, didn’t I?

In Example #5, We’ll Help Humble Graphic Designers Create Lucrative Layouts: I’m willing to grant these professionals a slightly wider margin of error. Graphic artists and designers are masters of visual presentation. Their goal is persuasive illustration, not brilliance in 120 characters or less.

Sadly, many of these creative peeps’ LinkedIn headlines read like a stack of sleepaway-camp name labels: Drew Inskool, Freelance Graphic Designer.

Allow me to show you how to take these keywords to the next level:

“As graphic designer at (Company Name), I redraw the marketing primer on knockout (print and web) layouts, every day.”

See how I retained this profession’s primary keyword phrase in a benefit-oriented headline? Now it’s your turn…

Additional Possibilities for Sparking Your LinkedIn Headline: As a “content cow” grazing on a farm for one, I know I shouldn’t give away my written milk for free. Nevertheless, here are a few more sips from the pail:

Digital Marketing Agency/Consultant:

“(Company Name) lures in prospecting eyeballs, clicks, and phone calls for your business via noninvasive marketing…”

Professional Networking Organization/Consultant:

“Fed up with networking cattle calls and hard-sell falls? Expanding your circle of trust is (Company Name’s) business!”


When did you last update your LinkedIn profile? Is your current headline a string of successive keywords related to your industry/profession?

What do you think about converting your headline to a benefit statement that still includes some keywords? You’d remain searchable within the LinkedIn environment, but you would target prospective clients’/customers’ needs and pain points.

Again, this blog post’s genesis stems from Liam Austin’s fabulous December 2015 LinkedIn Success Summit. Don’t be shy about visiting him and his Small Today community for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Finally: Go update your profile headline on LinkedIn. “Do it now! Do it!”

Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) company in Marlton, New Jersey, that plies its trade via copywriting, editing, and other content-marketing services. She revels in shielding her clients from the time-consuming pain of writing their own print or web marketing and promotional copy.

Please call Lori Shapiro of By All Writes LLC at 856-810-9764 (or e-mail her via lori@byallwrites.biz) to schedule a gratis 20-minute consultation that will propel you toward resolution of your current content dilemma…

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