Ten Tips for a better LinkedIn profile 9/10

Your LinkedIn Profile is certainly your first, and can be your last chance to make a positive impression online.

It’s a combination of a sales pitch, a personal presentation, a business card, a brochure, a personal statement, a list of recommendations, a mini web-site, and a wave from across the room. It has a lot of work to do, and it only has a few seconds to either succeed or fail in doing that work. So — how do you make it a success?

This is the ninth of Ten Top Tips with my compliments, to help you make your LinkedIn Profile more effective. Enjoy!

Don’t want to read this? Listen on SoundCloud (4m 2s)

Ten Tips for a Better LinkedIn Profile: 9/10

Tip 9: Don’t bury the lead!

You have a headline beside your name on LinkedIn. The reason it’s called a headline is because it comes at the top, and it’s what people see, and read first.

So make it count. Write a good headline. Tell us what’s in the story to follow.

Make your headline tell the story of you — not just your job title.

You have 120 characters to use in your headline — almost as much as a Tweet with 140 characters. So there’s plenty of room to add a few descriptive words that will interest people…

Important: Your headline works in two different ways…

But there are two forms of headline — one short version people see when they ‘mouse over’ your contributions on LinkedIn, and one they see in full when they view your profile.

If you look at my headline, you’ll also notice that its length works well on LinkedIn because an ellipsis (…) kicks in after 40 characters. There’s only one word missing when you see the preview, and it’s not crucial to the message in my headline.

Take care to consider how your headline appears when it’s truncated to 40 characters

The full headline is “I make you visible legible and credible online.

What you see in the summary is
“I make you visible legible and credible…”

The problem can come where the 40 character cut-off makes your headline lose its meaning. So write your headline to make sense in its shorter form.

Here are some examples where the headline does not work because of a cutoff:

  • Business Development Consultant,…
  • Development Team Lead / Project Manager at…
  • EMEA Senior asset/procurement management…
  • Director — Resources, Energy and…
  • General Manager, Direct Channels at…

None of these headlines sells, tells or says anything, other than perhaps rather negatively implying that the subject of the headline has not really thought about how they present themselves to the world on LinkedIn.

The issue with these, and many examples on LinkedIn are that people are concentrating on getting their current job title in there as the first part of the headline. (Unhelpfully, this is what LinkedIn enters as a default.)

Your job title is not the same as your headline. It’s not the lead!

I can see your job title when I look at that part of your profile. So if you simply add your job title to your headline, you are repeating yourself. And if your headline does not appeal — I may not even get to the stage of reading your profile.

So wake up — use your headline to sell yourself to your readers!

Lead with the main story, and test it to make sure your headline makes sense (or at least intrigues) when it breaks at 40 characters, and also works at its full length of up to 120.

Don’t bury the lead!

  • If you have news, put it in the headline.
  • If you are looking for a position, put it in the headline.
  • If you have just started something, put it in the headline.

You get the picture.

And please use simple language. “Homo sapiens engages with canine” is not as good as “Man bites dog” when it comes down to getting attention.

The classic questions people want to know in the lead of a news story are who, what, where, why, when, and very often — how much? So make your headline do the same: introduce an interesting story.

So in a nutshell:

Use your headline to introduce a story — and make the reader want to read the full story. And remember to proof read it!


I am David Petherick — Director of First Impressions at Amazes.Me
I make your online presence visible, legible and credible at
I Own My Own Name. Follow me on Twitter at @petherick_ or circle me on Google Plus. Please feel free to connect on LinkedIn.

You can listen to all of my Tips for a better LinkedIn Profile at https://soundcloud.com/petherick/sets/linkedin-top-ten-tips

Originally published at www.linkedin.com on January 6, 2015.