Content & Community Marketing Manager
When it comes to generating leads, taking advantage of new opportunities, reaching your target audience, and landing sales, many companies around the world will tell you that LinkedIn is an unbeatable tool.
This is especially true for the B2B sector, where an estimated 80% of all leads from social media come from LinkedIn.
But like every other platform, LinkedIn is no exception to this rule: you have to make a stellar first impression to succeed at social selling and captivate potential prospects. And one of the most important keys to standing out as a sales professional is your headline:
Headlines are displayed front-and-center: the first thing that people from your target audience see after they see your name. In many cases, it’s the reason that someone clicks your profile to read more—or skims right past it in search of people who are a better match for their needs and interests.
The good news is that there are several tried-and-true ways to enhance your visibility, engage leads, and stay one step ahead of your competitors using professional headlines, all within the 120-character limit.
Let’s go over five eye-catching LinkedIn headline examples, as well as a few tips to make sure that your own headline is just as good.
1. The benefit-focused headline
Sometimes, it’s just not enough (or just too boring and mediocre) to simply list your title in a LinkedIn profile headline. And depending on your job and skillset, a title alone may not be completely clear about what you do for your company and clients.
Try a more actionable approach with your LinkedIn profile by including the benefits that you provide to people. This helps the reader visualize the relationship they might have with you, and the role you can play in helping them accomplish their goals or aspirations.
Aaron Henderson of Optimizely gets right to the point in his headline, which reads:
“Enabling Enterprise Companies to Optimize Business Results Through Digital Experimentation and Personalization”
It answers the “who, what, how” right away.
- Who? Enterprise companies
- What? Optimize business results
- How? Digital experimentation and personalization
Ask yourself when writing a professional headline: “What’s the main benefit that I offer my clients? Who is my ideal prospect, and what are they looking for in their next partner or vendor?”
2. The “humble brag” headline
As a general rule of thumb in business (and in life as a whole), too much bragging can alienate others and make you come off as self-absorbed. On the flip side of this coin, the “humble brag” can actually communicate your top strengths—without making you sound like too big of a jerk .
Consider Goldie Chan, who was named a “Top Voice for Social Media” by LinkedIn in 2018. That’s a huge deal, and a distinction like this will turn the head of anyone looking for an exceptional social media strategist.
So naturally, she included it as the top item in her LinkedIn headline, which reads:
“LinkedIn Top Voice: Social Media | Forbes: Personal Branding and Storytelling| Producer's Guild.”
Of course, not all of us have gotten a shoutout from one of the most widely recognized names in media, but you can turn heads just the same by including notable awards or accolades you’ve gotten for your work.
3. The humorous headline
Humor can be a simple way to make your profile memorable by standing out in a sea of dry, hyper-professional language.
It can also be an excellent way to show your personality right off the bat, demonstrating that you’re relatable and that you have a more light-hearted communication style than others.
John Sammon of Sixth City Marketing takes a pretty simple approach to his humor, adding just a couple of words to his LinkedIn headline. The trick, though, is that he’s written something that readers wouldn’t expect from a standard LinkedIn headline. Consider the following LinkedIn headline example:
His headline reads: “Grizzled Internet Marketing Vet & CEO at Sixth City Marketing”
The term “grizzled internet marketing vet” indicates that he has some gray streaks in his hair—from age and from experience in his field. It’s the perfect way to add just the right amount of uniqueness while still effectively showing readers what he does.
One thing to remember as a sales professional is that you should always proceed with caution when injecting humor into such a small space. It’s easy to write something hilarious in your LinkedIn profile, but not very useful—don’t derail your efforts by distracting from the real point of the headline, which is to showcase your expertise and qualifications.
4. The direct headline
This profile headline approach builds on the “benefit-focused” headline, by adding an extra relationship element.
As you look through LinkedIn headline examples, you’ll find that most of them have something in common: they speak in the third person. (The previous headlines in this article are all good examples of this phenomenon.)
After looking over more LinkedIn headline examples for sales, try speaking directly to your prospects by using the second person voice, like saying “I can help you” instead of “I help business owners.”
Melitta Campbell does this well in this LinkedIn headline example. Her headline reads:
“Business & Communications Mentor for Female Entrepreneurs. I’ll help you build and succeed in a business you love.”
She tells us what she does and who her audience is, then speaks directly to her reader, stating that she can help her create and dominate her dream business.
Keep in mind that not everyone who reads your profile will be a viable prospect. For example, not all of Melitta’s readers will be female entrepreneurs.
While you’re choosing your technique for writing your headline, consider how this might impact others reading your profile, and whether it’s a risk you’re willing to take for that added connection with the few who are viable prospects.
5. The authentic headline
If the whole point of writing a LinkedIn headline is to make prospects feel that they know you as a person, then there’s no use of even making an effort if you aren’t going to present your true self to people.
Yes, it’s important to look professional, but at the same time, you want to show prospects your quirks and real-world traits with your profile headline.
Are you an adrenaline junkie in your spare time? Are you a parent? Consider including such information in your headline to let prospects know that there’s more to your life than business.
Performance coach Luis Guaman keeps it real by mentioning his life long passion in his headline, which reads:
“Performance coach for high performers regarding sales, leadership or self imposed limitations. Life long Martial Artist.”
The beginning gives some insight into Luis’s professional background.
The last part, unanticipatedly, breaks the norm and highlights what he does outside of performance coaching (he’s a lifelong student of martial arts). This personal touch differentiates Luis from the rest of the performance coaches who only include career-oriented information in their headline.
As you write your headline, mention a hobby or interest that reveals a little more of your personality. Doing so will help to show prospects that there is a genuine person behind the profile. If you want to create intrigue with your headline you can use the above example as inspiration.
Bonus LinkedIn profile headline tip: Avoid filler words and information.
Because you’ve only got 120 characters to convey who you are or how you can help a prospect, make sure that you aren’t filling up your headline with meaningless words and jargon. Avoid:
- Mentioning your university, degree or current employer. Most of this information is already in your profile.
- Using words like “top performer,” “winner,” “guru,” and “superior” as they don’t offer much context to your readers.
- Highlighting that you’re currently seeking opportunities. What prospects want to know is how you can help them succeed with their business.
Jargon and corporate lingo are types of information that will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons. Remember, you're writing something that occupies valuable real estate in your headline. Use valuable words that'll attract your prospects and get them to stick around and explore more about what you’ve got to offer.
LinkedIn is full of cringe-worthy headlines. Make yours the standout!
Your LinkedIn headline is generally something that your prospects will remember. And if it isn’t, it should be. Make the most of those few characters, and take advantage of new opportunities, by writing headlines that grab the attention of your audience and encourage them to keep reading your profile.