Your LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.

Yet, many LinkedIn users remain confused how to best leverage the Headline or how to optimize it for maximum site traffic.

LinkedIn’s search algorithm ranks your Headline as the top indexed field in your Profile (second only to your name). In other words, out of all the data on your Profile, this field is weighted most heavily in user searches. Putting job titles or keywords here will count more strongly than anywhere else.

Therefore, you’ll want to consider carefully what you use in this field (and avoid using the default value, which is your current job title).

In addition, your Headline is first piece of information others will see when communicating with you! Take a look around and you’ll realize the Headline helps define nearly every Profile you see.

Here is a list of the most meaningless words you can put in your Headline  (unfortunately, these were found in actual Profiles), plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:

 

1 – Results-Driven.

Just like on your resume, it’s important to use terms that distinguish you from the competition. This phrase and others like it (Dynamic or Visionary, anyone?) have become so embedded in boilerplate resume-speak, they’re essentially meaningless.

Plus, recruiters aren’t using “Results-driven” as a search term.

Instead, consider adding a short phrase to your Headline that actually describes results, slipping in a keyword or two (Marketing VP Improving Social Media Engagement).

Even a short, powerful note on the ROI from your skills (Sales Manager | #1 Revenue Record Across Americas) can make a better impression. Short on ideas? Pull in some of the powerful catchphrases from your leadership resume.

2 – Experienced.

Unless you’re a student, this word doesn’t count for much in describing your career. Most professionals, by way of their job titles and career history, ARE “experienced” in their chosen fields, so you’re not laying claim to a unique skill.

Make your Headline more search-friendly by using target job titles (Senior Director Operations or IT Director) to show your career goals, or a short description of your achievements (32%+ Annual Sales Growth).

Either way, showing your career aspirations or accomplishments will actually prove that you’re experienced and worthy of employer attention.

 

3 – Father, Husband, Wife, etc.

Remember – LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, and it certainly isn’t Twitter (where these types of mini-bios are common).

On LinkedIn, others are most interested in your career level and ability to produce results in a professional environment. Leave the family references for a more personal venue.

 

4 – Seeking (desired goal).

Nearly everyone on LinkedIn is seeking something, so cut this word to express yourself more clearly. Much like a resume objective, you don’t need to reference what you’re pursuing in the Headline.

Instead, try cutting right to the chase with your career level and areas of expertise (CFO. Manufacturing & Distribution Operations. CPG, Building Products, & Tech Industries), then back this up with additional keywords in your Summary describing your career achievements.

 

5 – Unemployed.

If you’re not using your Headline to strengthen your brand message with keywords and job titles, you’re missing out on potential traffic and employer interest. “Unemployed” is hardly a search term, and it certainly doesn’t speak to your expertise.

(It might, however, convey desperation.)

Instead of wasting Headline space with it, try sending the same message while specifying what you offer employers (IT Director Seeking Infrastructure, Operations, & Development Leadership Role), while injecting strong keyword content.  

As you can see, there’s many ways to capture and express value to an employer with your Headline.

 

Take a few minutes to add some creative phrasing and keyword content for better ROI from your Profile.