What Benefits or Skills do You Offer?

The line of information that exists below your name on your LinkedIn profile is called the “headline”. I hope that this is not new news to you because the headline is the single most important line in your entire profile! Why? There are several reasons.

Contacts and potential contacts see your headline as the very first sentence that they read about you on your profile. We all know how important first impressions are and it is no different on LinkedIn. Based on your headline, readers will either want more information or will seek out someone more dynamic.

The headline follows you in the search engines and elsewhere. Check yourself out on Google and you will see your LinkedIn profile picture and headline there. Recommend another LinkedIn member and your profile picture and headline will appear on their profile. (Clients of mine have actually gotten business because they were “seen” on my profile due to a recommendation they made of me!)

I see many profiles under utilizing the headline area. Most simply don’t know that it can contain up to 120 characters. Probably 90% repeat their title or position in their headline even though it is redundant and takes up precious real estate. It could be said that most profiles misuse the headline as well as under utilize its potential.

Here’s the deal. Contacts are looking for a solution to a problem or for someone that can provide a quality service. They are not usually looking for someone’s position info as a priority. As a result, those that promote themselves with a headline that addresses the need or skill being searched are the ones that are realizing the best business opportunities on LinkedIn.

Consider this contrast. “I am the President of ABC Systems, Inc.” or “I specialize in providing my customers and community with the most effective, efficient water-saving systems available”. The second version is loaded with key words that might be used to find a company that offers such a system. The first statement is much narrower and only exact words like ‘president” or the company name would pull up that profile.

Do your own research and evaluate how one headline is intriguing or inviting while another might lack interesting elements.

Time invested in a targeted headline statement is time well-spent. As mentioned earlier, your headline will follow you around much like an online resume. It is a necessary piece of your brand so it needs to be consistent with your mission, purpose and vision.

Other parts of the profile provide opportunities to display past positions, projects and skills as well as many other attributes. In order to get the reader to reach those areas, however, one must present a unique or compelling opening line to prompt them to want to learn more about you. If a dull or routine headline is presented, then the chance of having the viewer go on to someone else is the likely result. Their search should end when they find you!

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author