Fix the Worst Mistake in Your LinkedIn Headline in 120 Characters or Less

Fix the Worst Mistake in Your LinkedIn Headline in 120 Characters or Less

If you could stack rank the best LinkedIn profile headlines, the 120 characters that show up next to your photo in searches, would the worst one be:

A) A well-honed description of your job title, industry, and value-add?
B) Your job title alone?
C) Something on your “results-driven” attitude?
D) Your employment status?

If you’re a savvy LinkedIn user, then your only choice would be D, or including your employment status in the most important element of your LinkedIn profile, the one that convinces readers to click through to your profile. Of course, anything other than choice A will not likely get your profile the degree of play you hope, but let’s focus here on the biggest error that I see in LinkedIn profiles all the time.

Expect your LinkedIn profile to crash and burn if you present yourself as a job seeker.

Expect your LinkedIn profile to crash and burn if you present yourself as a job seeker.

Let’s think critically about what your LinkedIn profile is really telegraphing if you state outright that you are an executive searching for a new opportunity. You’ll fall into one of two categories. If you’re employed, then you’re likely sending the wrong message to your current employer. Doing so will probably hurt your chances for success with your current company, and for obvious reasons.

If you’re truly unemployed, you don’t want the world to believe that this is the brand you wish to promote. Shouting from the rooftops that you’re unemployed is leaving you open for bias at the worst and benign neglect at best. Don’t stonewall a potential lead with a sign that says, “do not enter.”

Next, and most important, people get hired due to their accomplishments and skill sets. Being unemployed or engaged in a new job search is never going to be a skill. In fact, if you are engaged in a job search, what you want (said new opportunity) is essentially irrelevant to a future hiring leader–until they know you better. You should be concentrating on building a social media presence that future hiring executives simply cannot ignore, because your brand is compelling and essential to that executive’s company future success.

Last, and most importantly, “searching for new opportunity” is wasting what is widely acknowledged to be the most important real estate in your profile. Those 120 characters provide your profile’s billboard to the world, not to mention critical opportunity to improve your profile’s chances for being found on the words that describe your brand best. In the world of the Internet, this is called search engine optimization (SEO), and many of the long-tail keyword strategies prevail on LinkedIn as well.

To conclude, if your profile promotes you as a job seeker, you might be hurting your chances for success with an unhealthy mix of desperation and lack of insight into how you can create a compelling profile that demands  interest from the right people.

Does your LinkedIn profile not achieve the impact you need? Call Five Strengths.

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng / guitargoa

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.