Anyone who’s ever crafted newspaper headlines for most of an eight hour shift realizes a lot of mediocre verbiage comes to mind first. This is usually followed by the stronger, eye-catching ones.
This holds true on professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, where individuals write their own headline showcasing their career and their talents. Writers, for example, call themselves a “digital storyteller” or a “writer-producer,” a “prolific writer” or “LinkedIn profile writer.”
These professional headlines are important, because they are one of the first things others see when they search the site. It becomes the sum-up of you and it’s smart to “make it sparkle,” said Krista Canfield, LinkedIn’s senior corporate communications manager. She uses the terms “journalist wrangler” and “constant beta” in hers.
Here are five questions to answer as you add some sparkle to your headline:
What Should Your Headline Accomplish?The headline ought to “grab your attention” and help you stand out from other professionals who share your title or field, said Canfield, like a headline in a media article, “you want to draw people in and entice other professionals (whether they are potential hiring managers, business partners or clients) so that they click through to read the whole story – your full LinkedIn Profile, she said.
You also may want to give a key trait that will appeal to employers: energetic, bilingual, multimedia, design, award winning. Don’t make your headline a list though, either of your varied jobs or your skills.
How Much Creativity and Personality Will You Show?This depends partly on your industry and your attitude. You want to differentiate yourself from other profiles that also may show up in a recruiter’s search, Schaffer said. Plus you want to humanize yourself so you seem more approachable online, Canfield added.
Choose words creatively but make sure they support your brand, said Neal Schaffer, president of Windmills Marketing and author of two books on LinkedIn.
My current headline: “Careers and consumer writer, with a side of cherry ice” focuses on my duality: I’m a writer / journalist and an entrepreneur. It intentionally gives people a reason to look twice. They may be intrigued to learn that I co-own a small social enterprise, which sells Michigan-made all-vegan Italian ice, and gives a glimpse of my love of sweet treats.