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Social Media in Job Search

Question:

Someone told me I should change my LinkedIn headline. Right now it says “Currently unemployed,” because I am. If that’s not right, what is?

Answer:

Keep in mind the purpose of the headline: to help people find you. Will “Currently unemployed” do that for you? Many companies are willing to hire people who are currently unemployed, but very few will seek them out.

The headline is one of the three most valuable pieces of real estate on your profile. (The other two are your name and your picture.) You want to use it to promote yourself, and all that you can do for your very fortunate next employer.

By default, LinkedIn puts your current job title in the headline. That may be what you want; however, there is probably a better way to grab a reader’s attention. You have 120 characters available; use them!

Consider these: “Hedgehog trainer with five years of experience.” “Dinky operator looking for new opportunities in the finance field.” “Personal chef specializing in low-carbohydrate diets.”

It’s okay to show a little of your character, too. Here are some examples: “Left/right brain designer.” “Living the dream as a beverage manager.” “Business Consultant: I’ve helped five companies succeed. Who wants to be #6?”

Especially if you’re job seeking, show off your expertise. “#1 Personal Trainer in Western Maryland.” “Award-winning bookkeeper in transition.” “Recent MBA graduate seeking opportunities in the medical-equipment field.”

Finally, here’s a clever example from Liz Ryan, of Humanworkplace.com. She was working with an office manager who enjoyed a busy environment. Together they came up with this: “Office manager/business air traffic controller looking for overstressed CEO to make sane.” Who wouldn’t hire that person?

To find out if your profile and headline are doing their jobs, go to the search box at the top of your LinkedIn page. Put in your job title, or the title you’d like to have, and hit ENTER on the keyboard. A list of people with that job title will appear. If you are at or near the top of the list, you’re doing well! If not, there may be some tinkering to do.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.