Your LinkedIn profile headline is a powerful place to communicate your personal brand for executive job search. Use it wisely.
In our first consultation, a new client of mine asked me whether the LinkedIn professional headline a writer had created for him was a good one.
This executive job seeker had been an IT Project Management Consultant for 20 years. His titles as a consultant had ranged from Project/Program Manager and Development Lead to Lead Architect.
He had never been a Director or VP, yet the writer he hired to create his LinkedIn profile and resume had used both phrases in his headlines.
Apparently, she convinced him that a headline should state the role he was seeking.
She was right to want to populate his headline with such a strong relevant keyword phrase . . . one that executive recruiters and hiring managers may search on LinkedIn to find candidates like him.
She was trying to best position him for future roles . . . but her strategy was all wrong.
I don’t know about you, but seeing “Director of Technology” or “VP of Information Technology” in someone’s LinkedIn headline would lead me to believe that person currently (or recently) held that title.
What’s So Wrong About Stretching the Truth Just a Little in a Job Title?
It’s never a good idea to make a claim about yourself that isn’t true. You’ll almost always be found out eventually and kicked out of the running.
By merely scrolling down to the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile (and/or resume), people will notice that the made-up job title doesn’t appear.
They’ll immediately wonder what else you’ve lied about.
Want to kill your chances with an employer, right off the bat? Lie in your job search/career marketing materials.
Let’s suppose your misrepresentation isn’t found out immediately. Would you really want to get into the interviewing/hiring process only to be found out further along, once your details are verified?
You’ve wasted your time, and everyone else’s.
How Can You Position Yourself For New Roles, Without Misrepresenting Yourself?
No doubt, you want to get your most important relevant keywords and phrases into your LinkedIn professional headline, and at the top of your executive resume.
This same client could have legitimately claimed in his LinkedIn professional headline (and resume) that he’s an “Information Technology Management Leader”, or something similar.
It’s not an actual job title, but describes what he does, and includes strong keywords.
The Second Worst LinkedIn Profile Headline Mistake
An oversight I often see on LinkedIn profiles – leaving the default headline the way LinkedIn fills that section, with your most recent job title.
Leaving your most recent job title probably won’t make best use of that location on your profile.
The headline needs to include your most important relevant keywords and phrases . . . as many as you can fit into the 120 character limit.
Since your LinkedIn professional headline sits high up on the web page, it’s a prime spot for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Any relevant keywords you place in the headline will be more readily found by the LinkedIn search engine than the content below it. But of course, the rest of your profile content needs to include those keywords, too.
How Do You Know Which Keywords To Use in Your LinkedIn Headline?
By researching your target employers.
If you don’t have a list of employers that will be a mutual good fit, get busy compiling one.
My post will help you, 7 Tips to Build Your Executive Job Search Target Companies List.