There’s an old copywriting adage that says 80% of the time spent on a piece of copy should be dedicated to crafting the headline. The reason? You could write the best copy in the world, but it will never get read without a headline that piques the reader’s curiosity enough for he or she to continue.
This same concept applies to your LinkedIn profile: You could have an amazing summary and tons of relevant work experience, but recruiters won’t click through to your profile if your headline doesn’t grab their collective attention.
So, how do you write a headline that gets your profile read? Follow these three steps.
Make a swipe file of headlines from people in your industry
Have you ever made a Pinterest board for a specific topic? If so, then you know how to make a swipe file.
Copywriters create swipe files of headlines, calls to action and otherwise memorable and effective sentences. As a job seeker, you want to create a swipe file of LinkedIn headlines from successful professionals in your industry.
Each industry is different. Designers may typically have more offbeat headlines, while lawyers may typically have more traditional keyword-based headlines. Creating a swipe file will give you a guide to the vibe your headline should convey.
To find relevant headlines to put in your swipe file, all you have to do is type your desired job title in LinkedIn’s search bar. Read through at least 25 and pick the ten that resonated most.
Use your examples as a template to craft a headline which conveys your unique value proposition
Your unique value proposition is the reason why a recruiter should pick you over your competition. It is comprised of your tangible skills and your intangible values. Here’s my own headline as an example:
On LinkedIn, you have just 120 characters to convey your unique value preposition in your headline. The main question that should drive your headline is: so what?
What about your headline will make a recruiter care enough to click through to your profile?
Spend at least 30 minutes brainstorming headlines. Remember how I said some copywriters spend 80% of their time writing headlines for a piece? They often write dozens of different headlines for the same piece before deciding on the best one. Aim for at least five headlines to choose from at the end of the 30 minutes.
Test, Tweak, Repeat
One of the most important things to remember about your LinkedIn headline is that it can be changed. You aren’t going to craft the perfect headline on your first try.
Take that list of five headlines from step two and narrow it down to your top two choices. You can now perform what is called an A/B test in the marketing world. An AB test looks at a piece of copy is published with two different headlines, and then the marketer analyzes the data to see which performs better.
For your A/B test, put each choice as your headline for a month. Apply to the same number of jobs each month through Linkedin’s job board, and then analyze your results.
What are some of your proven tips for creating a LinkedIn headline? Share your thoughts in the comment box!