Leave a Lasting Impression with Your LinkedIn Headline

KA TownsNot too long ago, as I watched the 2015 NBA Draft, it was clear the players selected to join the professional ranks are more than athletes. They’re bona fide brands with images to uphold.

That’s why Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 overall draft pick, wore a suit for the draft made of a rare fabric. How rare? Towns claims there’s only eight meters of the fabric in the world — and his suit used two and a half of it.

Right on cue, Towns (second from the right) posted a photo on social media in the custom jacket. Even at 19 years of age, Towns knows he needs to leave an impression at every turn.

On LinkedIn, we can also share our personal brands with the world. And we can do that in one sentence. Can you guess where?

In the professional headline, the space right below your name. 

Most people use the line to write their current job title:

“John Doe, Project Manager at Acme Corporation”

Sure, that’s a safe thing to do. And, as the default in LinkedIn, won’t get you in trouble. But here’s the catch:

  • Project Manager at Acme Corporation isn’t a professional headline. It’s just the facts as if to say, “This is what I do, and this is where I work.”
  • Most people list their job title and company, which makes their LinkedIn profiles blend in with all the rest.

OK. But What’s Your Brand?

Maybe John Doe excels at data analytics, and he’s become known around the office for his ability. Then his professional headline could be:

“John Doe, Using data to make smarter decisions”

Or perhaps:

“John Doe, Powerful insights driven by data”

Yes, your job title and company matter, but your “brand” is more interesting. It might catch readers by surprise and lure them into your profile.

So How Do We Craft a Professional Headline?

First, ask yourself this question: where do you provide the most value on the job?

If you’re in customer service, the headline could be “The customer always comes first” or “Dedicated customer service specialist.” If you work in IT, the headline could read “Ready to solve the toughest tech challenges” or “Cybersecurity and antivirus expert.”

Think about how your skills allow you to make an impact on others. Why do you matter?

That’s your professional headline. That’s your brand.

A Few More points to Consider

Here’s a few more helpful hints:

  • Don’t use the professional headline to brag. For example, “Greatest marketer in the country.” Nope, you’re not. Instead, tell us how you make others better.
  • Please don’t write the exact phrase “Turn complex problems into solutions.” It’s super cliche and overdone.
  • Keep the professional headline to eight words or fewer. Otherwise, it will drag on.
  • Ask a few friends or co-workers what they think of your headline. Tell them to be honest and not hold back.
  • Once you set the professional headline, forget about it for a couple of hours and then look again. Do you still like the headline or does it feel funny? Listen to your gut — it’s usually right.

Now, go take a look at your LinkedIn profile… and see how what kind of impression your headline is leaving the world.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!


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Danny Rubin AuthorAbout The AuthorDanny Rubin is a communications expert for the millennial generation. He also writes the blog News To Live By, which highlights the career advice “hidden” in the headlines. His work has appeared on Huffington Post, Business Insider and the New York Times. Follow him @DannyHRubin



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