5 Reasons to Spend Much More Time on Your LinkedIn Headline

Twitter HandleYour LinkedIn headline (that blurb of text right under your name) has always been a key component of your LinkedIn profile.

But in a job market that continues to be ultra-competitive, it’s more important now than ever before. Let’s explore why…

First Impressions

Heat map studies show that it’s the second thing people look at, right after your profile picture. Make it good! (And it’s the FIRST thing Recruiters look at, so if you’re job seeking, there’s some extra incentive.)

Sneak Preview 

It’s the snippet of your profile that people see in the search results when they’re deciding which profiles to click on to read more. If your headline isn’t compelling, they’ll just keep scrolling past. Make it enticing!

Personal Brand

It’s a chance to strategically brand yourself. How would you like to present yourself to the outside world? Are you simply “Employee at Acme Company”? Employee number 17354? A cog in the wheel? Or are you a more well-rounded professional that stands out from the pack? Keep your title and company, but go beyond that. Highlight your expertise and specialties.

You’ve got 120 characters to work with… make use of every one of them! (Doesn’t “Engineering / IT Recruiter at Intuit Specializing in Internet Sourcing, Employer Branding and Social Recruiting” sound much better than just “Recruiter at Intuit”?)


Your headline is real estate gold when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). LinkedIn rates this section of your profile higher than most others when it comes to keywords and their search algorithm. Small tweaks to your LinkedIn headline can yield an immediate bump in your search ranking. Go ahead, try it… A few strategic keywords can take you from Page 5 to Page 1!

Speaking of SEO, be sure to use words that your target audience might use to find you… not industry-specific terms that only insiders might use. Example: Don’t use “Talent Acquisition Specialist”… keep it simple and use “Recruiter.” That’s the search term that a candidate would use to find you.

But here’s the best reason…

Stacy Who?

Now that people outside of your 2nd level connections can no longer see your full name and profile, it’s more important than ever to be strategic about the content of your LinkedIn headline. Your 3rd level connections and fellow group members can only see your first name and last initial. Everyone beyond that can only see “LinkedIn Member.” But EVERYONE can see your full headline. (That’s really all they get, besides your picture, city and industry.)

If you want people to know who you are so they’ll be able to reach out to you, simply list your Twitter handle, your contact info or even just your name in your headline. (Note: Do NOT include anything besides your name in your name field. You could end up in LinkedIn jail!)

Now, they can easily reach out on Twitter or Google your name to find how to reach you. Or (BONUS TIP!) they can simply plug your name into the LinkedIn search box and – voila! – LinkedIn now assumes the person knows you so it will show them your full profile. Try it! Works like a charm!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friend Stacy Zapar!


StacyZaparHeadshot-SmallAbout the Author: Stacy Donovan Zapar is a 16-year recruiting veteran for Fortune 500 tech companies and CEO & Founder of Tenfold Social Training, a recruiter training company for talent acquisition and staffing teams around the world. In addition to in-house recruiter training, she is also currently working for Zappos as their Candidate Experience & Engagement Strategist, working on fun projects around social recruiting, talent communities, talent brand, candidate experience and more.

Stacy has been the Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn since 2008 and currently has more than 40,000 1st-level connections. She has her own blog, is a LinkedIn Publisher, a contributor to LinkedIn’s Talent Blog and speaks regularly at HR / Recruiting conferences globally. Connect with Stacy on Twitter and, of course, LinkedIn!



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