My article on inc.com has been enthusiastically received so I think more detailed discussion than what I outlined, on each of the 8 ideas, is in order.
Does your Headline succinctly describe why you do what you do, not blandly list your title and company name?
In today’s world, you only have the mere 120-character headline to make an immediate electronic impression to whet the intellectual appetite of a casual reader.
Use every character and knit in the keywords that can be used to search for you.
When teaching classes or coaching clients, I tell them that one of the hardest exercises, of all the sections on LinkedIn which absolutely must be written very well, is the headline.
You are distilling years of experience into fewer characters than a tweet, to entice the casual, attention-starved reader to read more, and further.
Using the earlier metaphor, you are appearing on the global newsstand that LinkedIn created. People “passing by” your LinkedIn profile will only stop to consider reading about you if you have a compelling headline that makes them want to read more.
A LinkedIn headline is only 120 characters, including spaces. Anything more than 120 and your excess characters fall into the void. Thus, condensing WYDWYD into such a small space is really hard. If it doesn’t challenge you, then you haven’t tried hard enough.
Most people take the easy route and paste their title and company name like “Partner at XYZ, PC” or worse, “Owner, Acme Financial Associates.” But do these headlines make someone stop and say to themselves, “Hmmm, sounds interesting. I want to read more about this person”?
I doubt it.
There is no value proposition, no life, no interest factor, no brand of you is conveyed. Nothing to make the reader think you could actually help him or her. And in our attention-deficit world, that’s not getting you seriously considered, much less even noticed, as a candidate for that case, as a contender for a new job, that consulting assignment, that big project.
Primary aspects of a great headline
Use the word help or helping, which shows your ability to offer your skills to the needs of your client. Reinforce the helping with words like adding certainty in financial markets that can be anything but that.
Think SEO as well as conveying the help you provide: Mediation and legal advice contains search keywords in the LinkedIn search engine that will help you be found more readily using one or more of the words in that phrase.
Secondary aspects of a great headline
Economy of keyword and strong verbs make a headline “sing.” Show proper use of capitalization without abbreviations, jargon or industrial lingo (and there is plenty in the financial field!)
For 185 other great active verbs see https://www.themuse.com/advice/185-powerful-verbs-that-will-make-your-resume-awesome
Next, if appropriate to your situation or business, divide 2 separate aspects of your work using the ” | ” the key found above your enter key on any keyboard (when you shift and press it). It helps the mind and eye of the reader see that there are 2 distinct thoughts being presented and uses minimal characters. I advise using it in a headline to express how you are doing 2 things simultaneously; if you have 2 or more aspects of your work the “ | “ key will divide your reader’s attention to the impression you work in different fields or areas, a handy character-saving convention to express who you really are in terms of the ways your professional time and interests are spent.
In one quick glance, the reader knows whatever field of work your are in via a desire to help, passion you bring, qualities you convey. Make them want to read more about you. That’s the aim. The headline gets more eyes started reading further downward on your profile.
Years ago, another coaching client called me from her car, pulled over to the side of the road saying she had been driving along and eureka! the headline came to her subconsciously and she just wrote it down. And it was a gem! I often show it in some of my presentations as a great example.
So you never know when some great material or clause pops into your head, to be used to tell WYDWYD on your LinkedIn page.
What do you call yourself in your LinkedIn headline?
Write it carefully and publish it on your profile when you are content it perfectly reflects who you are and why you. This is not easy to write, and it is the hardest part of writing you will have to do on LinkedIn.
I suggest you rethink your headline (as the preamble to the rest of your profile) and find the right terms and phrases that economically paint your self-defining image in the minds of your readers. Go ahead-pour your experience into 120 characters!