LinkedIn Headline Advice & Examples for Job Seekers (According to 14 Experts)

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What should you put in your LinkedIn headline that will make you stand out?

We asked experts for some great examples.

Table of Contents

Ron Auerbach, MBA

Ron Auerbach

Career Coach | Consultant | Author, Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success

Your LinkedIn headline is extremely valuable real estate that lots of job seekers don’t realize. So you must seize upon this and use it to your full advantage in just the right way! And that brings us to mistake number two. Job seekers realizing the headline is important yet not having an appropriate or powerful enough one.

If you are unemployed, the last thing you want to do is promote and highlight you’re not working

So your headline should definitely not say you are out of work or unemployed at the moment. And it’s a mistake to be generic in saying you want to work at a place where you can learn, grow, and/or use your skills. Everybody wants this and thus it adds no value nor screams out how you are of value to those who screen and hire.

Thus avoid something like the following:

currently unemployed

You also do not want to announce you’re seeking new opportunities. Again, as a job seeker, that’s a given. Besides, what value does it add to your being considered for employment? Nothing! So it’s a total waste of valuable headline space to promote something that’s a given and adds nothing of importance.

Below is an example of somebody doing just this:

experienced manager

Notice how I don’t specify what kind of opportunity this person is seeking. I could just as easily have included this information. Yet it would still add nothing in terms of making him or her more attractive to you as somebody looking to screen and hire potential candidates!

You want the focus on your headline to be 100% what makes you of value and worth considering

Another thing I recommend with your headline is not to go too far overboard in describing yourself. So you don’t want to toot your own horn to the point of being perceived as cocky or arrogant! Here’s an example to illustrate my point:

superstar salesperson

The superstar part is the problem. The rest of it is just fine and hits all the key things necessary with somebody looking for sales or business development. So having a proven track record is good. So too is making customers happy. And converting potential customers into actual ones is also great. So too is exceeding sales goals and expectations. But calling yourself a superstar is crossing the line from being more humble to being very arrogant and cocky!

The same would be true if you referred to yourself as a rockstar sales pro. So this is an excellent example of how your headline can have one small problem while the rest of it is superb and spot-on! And how that one small problem can really hurt your chances of success.

Here is an example of a good LinkedIn headline for a customer service manager seeking a similar role elsewhere:

highly experienced customer service

Notice how this person is drawing immediate attention to being experienced. And not just experienced, but highly experienced! So that qualifier indicating how experienced boosts that person’s perceived value. And it hits the fact that customers are your company’s lifeblood and come first. It also spotlights a manager being a role model to his or her subordinates. So it’s hitting all the key areas of importance yet not crossing the line into arrogance or cockiness.

Now suppose you’re not the manager but just a very experienced customer service representative looking for a managerial position. How can you use this managerial headline as your guide? Very simple!

All you’d really need to do is make a very minor yet powerhouse change as shown below:

highly experienced customer service 2

Did you catch what I had adjusted? Hint, it was just one word with the rest remaining exactly the same. That word being professional. I revised it from professional to pro. I could have just as easily changed it to rep. But since I have repsat the very end to mean representatives, I chose to shorten professional down to just pro. And play into the psychology of how pros are perceived. That perception being pros are above the average or rest of us. So you’re a standout when it comes to other customer service personnel!

Now, of course, there are many other ways to word things, which is where creativity and really knowing what they’ll be looking for comes into play. So there are times when you may only need to take someone else’s headline and just tweak it a bit to turn it into your own winning and powerful headline.

Highlight relevant certifications in your headline

Now with something like IT, certifications become very important with many jobs and areas of IT. So if you are seeking information technology positions, highlighting your holding one or more relevant certifications in your headline is an excellent idea. That will immediately draw attention to your having them, understanding they’re what hiring managers and recruiters will be seeking, and will help separate you out from those who don’t say whether they have any or those certs. For example:

talented computer technician

Notice how with this headline, the person doesn’t say he or she is highly or very or just experienced but actually provides a specific number of years of experience. Depending upon the rest of your headline and your level of expertise, numbers will sometimes really help. And they can help free up more characters to expand or add more to your headline. But also take note of how it references to specific certifications, namely the A+ and MOUS. With those building, repairing, and servicing equipment, plus those working helpdesks, these certifications become of importance.

For those seeking employment in programming or coding, you can use your headline space to reference specific languages or language types to immediately capture the attention of employers, recruiters, and hiring managers. For example:

coding professional

What’s really interesting with this person’s headline is that it can be used by both those having practical work experience and students or recent graduates! So expertise can stem from your having worked in the field and gaining experience and expertise that way. Or it can come from schooling where you learned these, had assignments and/or projects using them, and were tested on your level of mastery with them. So the beauty of this headline is that it’s designed for both those with and without work experience!

Please also take note of how many languages I was able to incorporate within the 120 character limit. This is a great example of how limited space doesn’t mean you cannot have tremendous power contained within. One way I achieved this was combining C and R programming rather than using C-programming and R-programming. And consolidating the various C languages in one. So I chose not to separate them out with C+, C++, C#, etc. I could have just as easily done this if it was necessary by tweaking other things, as shown in the below example:

coding professional 2

So depending upon what you’d really like to emphasize and focus attention on, you can pretty easily modify things to maintain the raw power yet hit the key things you’d like to emphasize.

Use the power of graphics in your headline

The last thing I will discuss is you can use the power of graphics in your headline! So you can incorporate special characters, similar to having bullets on your resume or CV. Doing this is an excellent way to separate things out and stand out from those who are merely using text. The below example will illustrate this:

experienced nurse

Notice how this headline is using stars to separate the key pieces of information. The key thing to realize is that you need to use something that will make a positive impression! So your choice of graphic will be judged by those who are looking at your headline. So you want to choose your special character very carefully. And consistency is another thing that will matter! If I had used a star in one place but a different special character in another, that’s inconsistent and will be taken as a negative.

Howard Fox

Howard Fox

Founder, Fox Coaching, Inc.

I coach my clients that there are four PRIME areas of real estate on LinkedIn profile:

  • The Profile Photo
  • The Banner Image
  • The Headline
  • The About Section

The goal of the first three is to keep the visitor on the profile with a desire to learn more. An exceptionally crafted LinkedIn Headline, when done well, can also provide a framework for how the About Section is constructed.

The Headline should communicate one or more of these three overlapping elements

What issues do you care about?

This area is an opportunity to share about your professional body of work and enables you to share the “WHY” about the work you do. This statement should include keywords that LinkedIn users would enter in the search field to find you. Examples are:

I work with small manufacturers to implement ISO 2001:2015 quality systems throughout their organization.

I craft high-quality LinkedIn profiles for college students preparing to enter the job market.

Financial Advisor helping small business owners and entrepreneurs to protect their assets.

Professor of public administration with research specializations in public policy, urban planning & economic development.

What problems do you solve?

This builds on the first element and lets potential clients and customers that come to you know what outcome they can expect when they work with you. In the examples below, we added a short role description for additional clarity.

Relationship Coach | I empower successful professionals to have satisfying & fulfilling relationships

Health Insurance Specialist | I put individuals, families, and companies in the best value healthcare coverage available.

Office Work-Space Specialist | LOVE your workspace! We BUILD ● We DESIGN ● We INSTALL

What opportunities do you create?

This highlights for the visitor what they can expect when engaging the individual for a job or professional opportunity. In some of these examples too, a short role description for additional clarity.

Keynote Speaker | Communication Speaker | Trainer, boosting attitude and communication skills

Graduate Student in Public Policy looking to bring skills in customer service & managing resources to your organization

Motivational Speaker, Public Speaking Coach ★ Powerful communication to be Prepared, Polished, & Powerful when you speak

When well crafted, the Headline, along with the Profile Photo and Banner Image, are what prompts the visitor to want to learn more about you. If it is simply pulled, by default from your job experience, you’re giving visitors a reason to navigate away to someone else’s profile.

The more you engage on LinkedIn through commenting and sharing of content, other LinkedIn users will see your profile photo and headline and be more likely to visit your profile. This is how you build your network and community. A true win-win.

Carol Kaemmerer

Carol Kaemmerer

Executive Branding and LinkedIn Expert |
Author, LinkedIn for the Savvy Executive: Promote Your Brand with Authenticity, Tact, and Power

LinkedIn auto-fills your headline with your current job title and employer, which presents a problem for those in transition. But LinkedIn also allows you to customize your headline using 120 characters.

You can actually say quite a lot in 120 characters, so before you write a new headline for yourself, ponder for a while about your personal brand. Ask yourself these branding questions:

  • What are the three things you want to be known for in the world of work?
  • What is different in the world of work because of you?
  • What are your keywords?
  • And, finish this sentence: I am passionate about ______.

Identify a functional title that works for you

This could be titles like “Sales and Marketing Leader” or “Chief Financial Officer.” Work in Word so that you can easily determine the character count (including spaces), lead off with your functional title and add a colon.

With the remaining characters consider how you can use your keywords to good effect to help people quickly know both what you do and something more about you (e.g., the three top things you want to be known for, who you serve, what result they receive from working with you, etc.).

You should really work with the text because this text is seen every time you comment or post on LinkedIn. It is your brand tagline. Try various combinations and iterations. Generate many options. Let it sit for a while and come back to it. Read your options aloud and eliminate any you stumble over. Ask someone close to you which of the options you have generated seems the most powerful and true to you.

Resist the temptation to list more than three things in your headline

This is because people can easily remember three things, but not more. If you list more than three things in your headline people will instead consider you unfocused — and no one wants to recommend someone who is unfocused.

Do not use the words “seeking” or “available for” in your headline even if you are. You may think that would be helpful in letting people know that you are open to a new opportunity, but it actually works against you.

Here are two example headlines for professionals in transition that follow the formula above:

Senior Sales & Marketing: Leading effective teams | Building customer relationships | Driving record growth

Chief Financial Officer: Domestic & international finance | Building strong teams and infrastructure for growth

Holly Leyva

Holly Leyva

Customer and Career Services Division Manager, Virtual Vocations

The default for your LinkedIn headline is your current role, but that can—and should—be customized. Your headline is the most visible part of your LinkedIn profile, so utilize those 120 characters to tell your story and hook your reader.

I usually suggest that jobseekers use a formula of function or title and then results

In addition to telling employers your function or job title, you need to answer the begging question: “So what?” Why should potential employers care? What value do you provide to what problem can you solve for them?

Here are some great examples of effective LinkedIn profile headlines:

Athlete, Dynamic Speaker & Health Coach | Helping You Live Your Best Life with New Dedication and Determination!

Accountant & Finance Professional — Serving as a Conduit of Positive Change for Financial and Business Functions

Event Planner and Project Manager — Empowering Innovative Solutions and Advancing Projects to the Next Level

Keep in mind: It’s important to be creative in your LinkedIn profile so you stand out, but when you are writing your function or job title in the headline, think about what job titles employers will be searching for. Try to get into the mind of the recruiter and determine what keywords they will use in their search so you show up at the top of the list among applicants in your field.

Do not mention that you’re “seeking employment” or “open to new opportunities” in your LinkedIn headline

Not only do recruiters and other hiring professionals tend to avoid profiles with this phrase, but this area is prime real estate—and you don’t want your first impression to potential employers to be that you’re currently unemployed.

William Ratliff

William Ratliff

Career Services Manager, Employment BOOST

Your headline is often the first thing a recruiter or colleague will see on your LinkedIn profile. The area is featured prominently at the top of your profile, and it’s even displayed on the search page before someone selects your profile. Clearly, the headline has a lot of power to shape the first impression, and it’s vital in establishing your professional brand.

LinkedIn will provide an automatically generated headline—it simply takes your current title and plugs it in. While this might seem sufficient, it’s better to use the headline to define your professional brand and strengthen your profile’s searchability.

Instead of your title, insert three or four key terms that highlight your skillset and specialties

Instead of using a comma to separate the terms, consider using a pipe ( | ) for a nice visual flair. Additionally, make sure the phrases are common key terms in your industry—this bolsters the SEO value of your profile.

If you were a medical device salesperson, for example, and the good headline would read:

Medical Device Sales |Business Development | Territory Management

Similarly, a Chief Operating Officer might have:

Operations Leadership |Strategic Planning | Process Improvement

Don’t be afraid to highlight different—yet related—concepts with your headline

Maybe you’re a plant manager, but you also have a passion for employee development and mentorship.

This could look like:

Plant Management | Training & Mentorship | Employee Development

Finally, a creative marketing director with a burgeoning interest in digital marketing might look something like this:

Marketing Strategies |Creative Direction | Integrated Campaigns | Digital Strategy

By following this approach, you ensure recruiters see beyond your current position and understand your entire professional brand and the value you bring to the table.

Ellen Mullarkey

Ellen Mullarkey

Vice President, Messina Staffing

Whether you’re unemployed and out in the job market, employed but looking for a new opportunity, or a graduating student trying to land the first job for your new career, your LinkedIn profile is a really important tool because the vast majority of recruiters are using it to find talent for their clients.

Recruiters want to know three things when they are looking for talent on LinkedIn: your hard skills, your specialization or industry, and your goals.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good LinkedIn headline, as it’s the first thing a recruiter is going to see and it’s the most important thing for a keyword search.

Keywords are king on LinkedIn and beyond so you’ll want to work those into your headline

When you write your headline, think about what keywords you would search for if you were a recruiter looking to fill the role you want.

Your headline should convey what you do, your area of specialization, and your goal

If you are employed but hoping to be snagged by a recruiter for a better position, having your job title and current company as your headline probably isn’t useful. So, instead of “Regional Sales Manager for X Divison of Y Company,” you would say “Sales Management.”

Then, indicate a broad enough industry or specialization that it incorporates both what you do now and what you would like to do. Your goal should be what it is you aim to achieve in your role, so use strong action verbs, for example, “committed to growing market space”

So for example, someone who is a regional sales manager for a yogurt distributor and wants to stay in the food industry might write:

Sales Management | Food & Beverage Distribution | Committed to Growing Market Space and Visibility

If you’re unemployed or a student, don’t say “unemployed” or “student” in your headline

Instead, say what it is you do or are trained to do, that you want to put to use in your next role, then the sector or specialization you want. Then, you might say “seeking new opportunity” or “seeking entry-level opportunity.” However, you don’t have to do this—you can still say instead what your goal is. So, for example:

Software Development | Mobile Gaming | Seeking Entry-Level or Employment Opportunity

So really the key is just to put yourself in the mind of a recruiter and think about what exactly they will be looking for both in keyword searches and as they scan the results looking for matches.

Related: How to Get an Entry-Level Job with No Qualifications or Experience

Damian Birkel

Damian Birkel

Career Counselor | Founder, Professionals In Transition, Inc.

LinkedIn is a critical part of your job search. It immediately establishes an online presence for you, and you always want to put your best foot forward. Your LinkedIn headline serves as your beacon for your job search. Like a lighthouse in a storm, it broadcasts to the world who you are via the keywords that anchor your job search.

Utilize the best keywords to vividly describe your critical talents in ten words or less

They are the banner headlines that radiate your profile and easy to find when a recruiter or company HR person searches the web to find the talent that they are looking for.

Other LinkedIn strategies

  • Always make sure that your profile is complete, showing your full work history. Please, make sure you spell check your document.
  • It is important that the information that you enter into your LinkedIn profile matches your resume.
  • Make sure you clean up your online presence before you start your job search. Human resource folks will check your LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media they can find where they can see you in action unfiltered.

Chelsey Puza

Chelsey Puza

Marketing & Social Media Manager, Winterwyman

Your LinkedIn headline may be the first and only thing a recruiter takes a look at before deciding if they want to engage with you or even click into your profile to view your job experiences.

Keep it short, simple and compelling

Your headline should be more than your current job title – especially if you’re on the hunt for a new gig. Using keywords that specify your skills set will improve your SEO ranking making you appear in searches that a hiring manager or recruiter is generating.

Avoid using buzzwords

Buzzwords like “detail-oriented” or “wear many hats” are a no-no. Get specific and keep your headline true to your experience and the job you desire. Keep in mind your headline doesn’t have to be a sentence or tagline, the bulleted format works too.

For example, if you’re in the marketing field but specialize in digital, you may want to use something along the lines of:

Digital Marking Pro Specializing in Social Media Strategy & Branding

Digital Marketing • Social Media Strategy • Branding & Design

Jennifer R. Glass

Jennifer R. Glass

CEO, Business Growth Strategies International, LLC.

Focus your profile only in the industry where you want to be and tie everything into that position

Depending on what someone is looking for in terms of their next job, LinkedIn can be a very important part of that job search. With recruiters constantly looking at profiles and hiring managers doing the same, when the right person comes up, there’s a good chance that person can be considered for an opportunity that may not even be public yet. But, how does one go about getting noticed?

The answer is their profile needs to be optimized to show potential employers what they can do and how they can bring about a positive impact to the business when they are in that new position. But it’s not just a glossy look – it’s the keywords being used, it’s the “flushing out” the profile to make it stand out and show that you really understand your industry and what you are doing.

It’s looking at the opportunities you have had and making them speak loudly to the recruiter saying “I’m the right person for this job!”

But, your profile should not be a resume. That sounds awfully weird in a job search, but if a recruiter or hiring manager would want to speak with you, they’ll likely want to see some sort of CV or resume, but many of us have positions on our resumes/CVs that have no value to the industry where we want to be/are in.

An example can be the person used to be in retail and is now in high-tech. Being a cashier at a retail store is not the same as someone managing an Exchange server, as an example, and if I saw the person as a cashier, I may not even consider them as an expert in managing Exchange servers.

Write the description of your job in the summary of that position and the summary section of your profile as though you’re talking directly to the hiring manager. Focus on the types of jobs you’re looking for, believe you are already there and make that happen through your profile.

Steph Cartwright, CPRW

Steph Cartwright

Certified Professional Resume Writer, Off The Clock Resumes, LLC

LinkedIn Headlines have two jobs: to help you be more visible in search results and attract the right profile views.

To improve your visibility on LinkedIn, include keywords that employers will use to search for candidates like you

These keywords are typically position titles and skills. This means including either your position title (if you’re targeting similar jobs), indicating your career goals (if you’re changing careers), or integrating the top skills that relate to your job target.

While this tactic alone may attract profile views, using your LinkedIn Headline to showcase the value you offer employers will seal the deal. The value you offer relates directly to the results you can produce for an employer. This can be tricky to pull off in 120 characters, but it’s doable!

My LinkedIn Headline, for example, includes my title and what I accomplish for my clients: “Certifed Resume Writer developing resumes and LinkedIn profiles that present you as the best fit for the job you want”.

Here are a few other examples that I’ve seen on LinkedIn:

Business Development Director helping life science companies meet their sales goals

Army Veteran and HR graduate student streamlining work processes and improving workflow

Communications Specialist with 10+ years of success in growing revenue & awareness through marketing & public relations

Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili

Author | Former Social Media Consultant | Head of Marketing, SparkPost

Your LinkedIn headline is your personal billboard.

You have 120 characters to tell the world what you do and what you want to be known for. If you don’t fill it in, LinkedIn will default it to be whatever is your most recent/current job title.

As a job seeker, if you’re unemployed, it is a must to update your headline

You could say “Seeking new opportunities in {insert job role/function}.”

If you’re currently employed, the headline should say more than your title

For example, if you were in Customer Success at a telco you could update your headline to say, “Helping customers achieve great results through telecommunications” or something relevant to what you do and why you’re great at it without overly self-promoting your company/brand.

As a job seeker, you also have settings in your profile where you can alert recruiters that you are open to new opportunities without letting your current employer see. Although LinkedIn won’t 100% guarantee your privacy to your current employer, it’s pretty unlikely you’d be found out.

You can view their method to protect your privacy from your current employer here. Under the Privacy Settings>Job Seeking Preferences, there are four settings that are worth updating if you’re currently looking for a job. All of these are worth updating if you’re job seeking.

Bryan Zawikowski

Bryan Zawikowski

Vice President and General Manager of Military Division, Lucas Group

These are my bits of advice for job seekers to make their LinkedIn Headline stand out to potential employers:

  • Keep it short and to the point!
  • Make it relevant to the industry & function you are targeting.
  • Don’t use hyperbole to get attention.
  • Don’t try to be too clever or too funny.
  • Don’t overuse buzzwords.

A good example would be:

Experienced CPA seeking Corporate Finance Management Roles in Atlanta

Whereas, you should avoid doing this:

Silo-Busting Synergizer of Business Optimization & Key Performance Metrics, Delivering Excellence and Diversity Across Multi-Functional Collaboration Teams

Matt Edstrom

Matt Edstrom

CMO, Good Life Home Loans

Highlight a particular accolade that can separate you from the rest of the pack in terms of uniqueness

When you’re looking for work, it can be difficult to sell yourself. While a LinkedIn headline doesn’t encapsulate you completely, it serves as a first impression for those that view your profile. It’s an excellent place to give viewers a sneak preview of your accolades.

The harsh reality is that many recruiters/LinkedIn viewers base their decision of whether or not they will dig deeper into a profile based on the headline and/or summary. It’s essential that these be refined if you’re looking to cast a larger net as far as job opportunities are concerned.

The goal is to be as clear and concise as possible without it coming across as robotic. Keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to add a twist of personal touch to it.

Penina Soberman

Penina Soberman

Human Resources Manager, Quantum Networks

Instead of putting your current role or position in the headline, include expertise and skills

When creating a LinkedIn headline, you need to understand who you want to be coming to your profile and viewing your page.

For example instead of putting “Sales Representative,” someone could put “Connecting people to products.” Be sure to include specific keywords that you want to appear when someone searches and know which words people are targeting to find certain candidates.