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Andrew Arkley|July 27, 2023

Guide To Updating Your LinkedIn Headline

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Do you know what your LinkedIn headline is and how to update it? Most importantly, do you know how to make it stand out? We’ll cover all this throughout our guide.

By using LinkedIn for job searching, you’re using one of the best tools out there. Every hiring manager and recruiter is on there, and the vast majority of job vacancies will appear on this platform.

However, these opportunities aren’t just for you – there are 930 million members across 200 countries using LinkedIn and a high percentage of them are looking for their next role.

That means you need to know how to make a great LinkedIn profile. And one of the first things hiring managers will see on your great profile is the headline, so that needs to be brilliant too!

Here’s how to write an attention-grabbing headline on LinkedIn. But before we start…

What is a LinkedIn headline?

Your LinkedIn headline is the text underneath your name, picture and background photo on the profile page. 

By default, the headline is the same as your current or most recent job title, word for word – but it doesn’t have to be.

The maximum character length is 220. That means your headline can be close to 80% as long as the longest possible post on Twitter – but how many words is that?

According to Character Counter, the average word has 5-6.5 letters including spaces and punctuation. Whereas The Great Gatsby has 5.44 characters per word, a New York Times article averages 6.05!

That means you have about 34-44 words to play with in your LinkedIn headline. But with some tight writing, you may only need a few of these!

How to change your headline on LinkedIn

If you want to make your headline something other than just your job title – in most cases, we recommend this – here’s how to do it:

  1. Starting from your ‘Feed’ page, go to your personal profile by clicking on your picture – if you click on the one at the top, you’ll then also need to select ‘View Profile’
  2. Click the grey pencil to the right hand side of your name (or your profile picture, on mobile) – not the blue one above it, which is for changing your background image
  3. On the ‘Edit Intro’ screen, scroll down to ‘Headline’
  4. Write your new headline in the box beneath and click ‘Save’ in the bottom right hand corner on desktop, or at the end of the screen on mobile

It’s as simple as that! However, coming up with a great headline that makes your profile stand out to hiring managers is a bit tougher.

Stand out with an eye-catching headline

Firstly, be aware of LinkedIn mistakes that could make headline readers think twice before clicking on your profile!

Once you’ve updated your headline, check it afterwards for these red flags:

  • Generalisations: Hard working, team player etc.
  • Spelling mistakes: Spelling errors suggest a lack of attention to detail
  • Keyword stuffing: Add a few keywords if relevant, but don’t go overboard
  • Out-of-date job titles: If you’re no longer in the role mentioned on your headline, change it

When these basics are taken care of, turn your attention to writing something that will make anyone reading the headline sit up and take notice.

Compared to the default job title headline, think about using at least one of the following approaches to make it stand out:

  1. Hard skills or qualifications-based headline: Highlight your most impressive skills, achievements and qualifications. You don’t need full sentences. Separate each one with vertical bars, like this… |
  2. Elevator pitch headline: Give a very succinct synopsis of your experience and purpose. With only 220 characters available, it’s the shortest of hypothetical elevator journeys, probably just going from the ground floor to the first floor… but remember, you don’t need to use all these characters either, so keep the headline short and snappy!
  3. Show off your personality: Think about your soft skills or attributes that make you different to others in your role – tell hiring managers why you’re unique.

Now, let’s take a look at some LinkedIn headline examples.

LinkedIn headline examples

For each of these three approaches, here’s a sample:

  • Hard skills or qualifications-based: Check out my very own Linkedin headline for an example!
  • Elevator pitch: Statistical analysis consultant with 10 years’ experience creating data-driven solutions to inform business strategies; passionate about future-proofing purpose-drive companies
  • Show off your personality: Results-driven storyteller with 10M+ views of sponsored editorial content published on major media platforms. Also, the nerdiest and happiest person in copywriting!

In the third example, what does the final sentence achieve? It suggests this person knows all the technical ins and outs of their field – or if not yet, they’re prepared to do research on the latest trends in their spare time until they do.

It also suggests they’ll have a smile on their face while working and be full of energy, not a jaded staff member waiting for their next payday. With your LinkedIn headline, in just a few words, you can convey lots about your personality!

Final thoughts: Updating your LinkedIn headline

Lastly, when using adjectives in your headline, make them strong. And in general, don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your choice of words.

Remember, your headline doesn’t need to just reveal your job title. You could show off your skills and personality, or summarise your elevator pitch.

For more LinkedIn advice, here are seven top tips around how to use LinkedIn to find a job – including what to do if you’re currently unemployed.

Looking for some hands-on help? Head over to our Accessories page to find out more about our LinkedIn profile writing skills.

We’re CV writing experts, so if you’d like some support applying for the open roles you’re seeing on LinkedIn or anywhere else, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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