Ninja, Nerd, or Nut: What Your LinkedIn Headline Says About You

LinkedIn is a powerful online tool for marketing your talents to hiring managers, recruiters, colleagues, and new clients. This community of over 150 million users has an understandable desire to creatively describe and market their unique core competencies and transferable skills in order to be found, screened, and contacted. Every word used in a profile is searchable, so use them wisely.

While some people use their current job title or the quickly ignored generic headline shingle “open to new opportunities”, others take creative headlines to a whole new level, crafting short entertaining titles. Some LinkedIn members believe that they’re a “visionary”, “ninja”, or “foremost authority”, while others offer an amusing, playful description of their superhero abilities. Take a look at how some of your LinkedIn colleagues view themselves. Which ones would you hire or partner with in business? Are you searching for their brand? Do these unique examples generate inspiring ideas for your profile headline marketing efforts?

Here are three recommendations for how to create a solid LinkedIn profile headline that effectively markets your proven leadership and industry skills:

1) First Impression Impact: A clear, succinct headline is an “appetizer” describing your most valuable talents sought after by industry colleagues. You either grab or lose your readers’ attention here, so give them a taste of your abilities, professionalism, and personality. An engaging introduction entices profile visitors to read beyond your headline. What kind of first impression is conveyed by “cubicle warmer” or “senior narcissist”? How about “goddess” or “guru”? If your headline doesn’t clearly target a client, organization, or industry need, consider rewriting those 120 characters to create an eye-catching first impression. You’ll either attract interested viewers or be ignored for your competitors’ more effective and relevant marketing introduction. Create an impact!

2) Convey Core Competencies: A clearly-worded headline will illustrate solid core competencies and transferable skills needed within your industry. Share with your profile visitors a message of how you add value to your team through your unique experience and problem-solving talents. You’re hired by employers or clients to identify, create, and implement solutions. If “nerd”, “genius”, or “rock star” fail to convey your professionalism, solid knowledge, and proven experience, then consider writing a more appropriate and personal description. Whether or not you’re job hunting, your headline isn’t an opportunity to become a comic or narcissist, so brand yourself here as a confident, collaborative leader with valuable, sought-after competencies.

3) Connect with the Reader: Recruiters and hiring managers have a brief amount of time to view your profile, so every word counts. Will your headline entice them to read your profile or exit to a competitor’s page? Will your current employer, next employer, clients, or colleagues understand and identify with a “motivational superhero” or “chief computer geek”? A growing number of job hunters are using cookie cutter, overused, unimaginative headline phrases that quickly turn off viewers, because they fail to take the time to personalize their introduction, resulting in the reader quickly moving on to a more thoughtfully written headline. For ideas on how to express your talents to connect with the reader, review industry job descriptions to get a clear sense of which of your transferable skills will impress and resonate well with your colleagues. In lieu of meeting LinkedIn community members in person, write a smart, engaging introduction so other like-minded professionals will feel a connection to you – the whole reason we’re participating in this amazing tool.

Your keyword-packed, professional LinkedIn headline serves as a personal statement creating immediate marketing benefits to your profile. An articulate, thoughtful introduction offers a concise overview of your talents, allowing your profile to be searched, identified, and read by colleagues, hiring employers, recruiters, and clients. Even a “ninja”, “nerd”, or “nut” can learn how to create a powerful first impression that conveys their proven skills and attracts new opportunities.


For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Fresh Transition!

About the Author: Deborah E. Rooney, M.S., Ed, is the owner of Power Resumes & Coaching. She coaches new grads, seasoned professionals, and adults in career transition to identify and market their outstanding transferable skills and core competencies to attract new jobs where they’ll thrive. As a LinkedIn Connector, she uses her network to introduce clients to hiring managers.  Connect with Deborah on LinkedIn.

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