I know copywriters who get paid 6 figures to write one-line sentences.
Of course, they write endless variations before that final headline or tagline appear on a page. But that one line can make or break an ad. Precise communication is everything.
Too many of us, especially when job searching, are flat, uninteresting, and vague in our communications. In our email body and subject, LinkedIn profile, and of course, the resume… all underwhelming.
The resume submissions that always got my attention were those that spoke specifically to the job I was recruiting for, but using similar verbiage to uniquely and specifically describe the candidate. I’m not just talking about tailoring your resume to fit the role; I’m talking about using strong headlines and lead-ins that are attention grabbing and specific.
Hypothetical example: I’m recruiting for a graphic designer with 8 years of integrated (digital and print) experience, and they must have prior experience working in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector. On top of that, I want someone who has worked for both big advertising agencies and in-house for the types of pharma clients they’re likely to be serving. An email that would get my attention has a subject line that basically speaks to those core criteria, and sounds something like these examples:
- “Graphic Designer, 8+ years integrated experience in pharma, client & agency side”
- “Senior integrated designer, extensive client/agency pharma experience”
- “8+ years print/digital design experience specializing in pharma, agency & in-house”
These are also great examples of compelling headlines you might use on your LinkedIn or social media profiles, particularly if you’re in-between jobs or actively looking for a position similar to the one above.
This headline writing process is effective for four reasons:
- It tells me exactly what you do, and where your specialization is: you’re a graphic designer who has both digital and print expertise, and is looking to continue in that direction (integrated)
- It tells me whether you meet the level of the role: 8+ years experience, or senior-level
- It tells me what industry vertical you specialize in: pharmaceuticals
- It reveals additional small details that are important: you’ve worked on both the agency and client side, and likely bring a well-rounded knowledge of the business relationship and the parties involved
Of course you can address these things in the resume or cover letter, but the point is to draw in your audience at the very first point of introduction.
Here are a few more tips to help you craft an attention-grabbing, opportunity-specific headline:
Have Similarly Branded Variations for Each Platform
Your LinkedIn profile headline allows for 120 characters, Twitter and Pinterest 160, and while Google+ has virtually no limit, it does denote separate fields for a shorter “tagline” followed by a more in-depth “introduction”. The actual verbiage can vary slightly, but make sure you’re conveying the same message across all platforms.
Use a Job Title Similar to What You Want
In other words, be specific but don’t pigeon-hole yourself into a singular title. This can be a headline or a short description. For example: “Senior designer with strong Hispanic and general market experience.” While this person is interested in promoting their Hispanic market experience, a niche in advertising, they’re also leaving room to be considered for general market positions as well.
Omit Any and All Negative Language
Two clear examples would be “unemployed” or “in transition”.
Use meaningful keywords that speak directly to your value. “Senior sales executive with 15 years of experience” is kind of flat. “Award-winning sales executive specializing in B2B business development” gives me a little more context around what makes you great, and where you specialize.
Your social media profile headline is the very first piece of information people will come in contact with about you, so treat it like you would a first impression upon meeting someone: what information would be most relevant to your audience to know, and what ideas about you will they be left with once they leave?
Your headline, whether on your LinkedIn profile, Twitter, your email communications, or your website, is a key marketing tool that often gets overlooked. To utilize this prime real estate to its maximum advantage.Take a moment now… and write the perfect profile headline!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
Image courtesy of Jarod Carruthers on Flickr… thank you!