Who here has changed their LinkedIn settings to anonymous and checked out their coworkers or peers? Every one of us has done it. Admit it! You flip through profiles to see what everyone else’s looks like – see what people in similar roles say – or simply see what others choose to write about. Ignoring the obvious (that we’ve all turned into stalkers), it can be really scary to choose what to write about on LinkedIn. What are you supposed to say? And how do you write a great LinkedIn profile, anyway?
I’ve blogged about the basics of writing a LinkedIn profile, but how do you know what to avoid? What turns off a recruiter? And what are you doing that might stall your job search? Here is my list of the worst mistakes that LinkedIn users make in their headlines.
It starts with the headline – the first field people see and your best chance to make a first impression. I can’t possibly overstate its importance and if this scares a few people, then good! You should be taking your headline seriously.
Mistake #1…No job title. As a Recruiting agency here in Phoenix, a lot of contracts are fulfilled by networking and online sourcing. Sounds great, right? But what if we’re looking for a Project Manager and you’d be a great fit, except you’ve left your job title off your headline. And even worse, you haven’t spent any time in cultivating the reach of your LinkedIn network.
Unfortunately, we’ll never find you.
The fix? Make sure that your headline leads with your job title.
Mistake #2…Not using all 120 characters. LinkedIn may give you 20 fewer characters than Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them all. The possibilities here for creativity are really only limited by your imagination.
The fix? Customize the rest of the headline (beyond your job title) with information that supports your goal. If you are job searching in sales, you might consider adding revenue that you’ve produced. If you are looking for new clients, then consider adding a few applicable keywords. Sometimes I even use a quote or go completely left field and hit hard for immediate impact.
Mistake #3…Your headline has no visual appeal. There are dozens of text-based symbols that you can use in your headline to make it pop. In a sea of Project Managers, a carefully placed symbol will help differentiate you from the competition.
The fix? Google it. Copy and paste a star, a round bullet, a flower, or a starburst. I recently worked with a Rabbi on his profile and was able to use a Star of David. Pick a symbol that you like and go copy/paste.
Mistake #4…You’ve forgotten the basic principles of SEO. Going back to the idea of being searchable, there are some fundamental principles at play here that if leveraged properly, can really make a difference in your overall profile views. The idea is visibility, right? You WANT recruiters to find you! That means you need words in your headline that mirror your claim to fame.
The fix? Think of the 2-3 critical phrases for your field and use them in your headline. If you are in marketing, then I’d recommend terms like marketing strategy or lead generation. If you are in construction, then consider phrase a like construction management, subcontractor management, or cost control.
Go make that headline great.