LinkedIn is a great place to reach potential employers. But, are you creating the right impression with your LinkedIn profile headline? Does it sound pretentious?
I was scrolling through LinkedIn just the other day and noticed a sudden rise in cringy profile headlines. Almost always, these headlines were written by local university students (in Singapore). I’m guessing that these universities had just conducted classes on LinkedIn.
While I was thrilled that local universities were finally paying attention to social job-hunting, they could have taught their students to be less “kiasu” (Singaporean slang for being overly excessive due to the fear of losing out).
“Kiasu” LinkedIn Profile: Don’t stuff your headlines with descriptors
Since its the holiday season, I’ve used Santa Junior to illustrate the typical headlines I saw.
Wouldn’t you feel irritated at a stranger at a networking session if this is his introduction:
“Hi, I’m Santa Junior, aspiring to be the next Santa Claus. I am a diligent, responsible, and promising North Pole University undergraduate, who is passionate about sleigh riding. I am also a creative and dynamic individual.”
There is a difference between confidence and seeming self-flattery. Unfortunately, Santa Jr.’s headline reeks of the latter, even if unintentional.
By stuffing excessive descriptors into your LinkedIn profile headline, you make yourself seem so insecure that you resort to overcompensating with meaningless buzzwords. You have done nothing to demonstrate your skills. And, yet, you are telling potential recruiters what impression they ought to have of you.
It just comes off as pompous bragging and puts everyone off.
How Should LinkedIn Profile Headlines Be Crafted?
Brevity means Clarity
Back to the Santa Junior example.
Wouldn’t it be better (but not the best) to just do this…
Aspiring Santa Claus | North Pole University Undergraduate
Brevity makes a difference, especially to recruiters using LinkedIn’s search function. They are scanning for specific keywords amongst hundreds of LinkedIn headlines.
Make their jobs easier to shortlist you.
Demonstrate your skills with your portfolio, testimonials, and job experience
Allow others to judge your abilities for themselves. This applies to resumes as well.
Demonstrate your capabilities. Don’t tell people you’re great at what you do; show them all these in your profile. Put up your portfolio, display testimonials, and talk about your previous experience.
Those things speak volumes, far more effective than flowery words.
Don’t cram meaningless words into your headline. There is a reason why it’s called a headline. It should hook your intended audience for the right reasons.
Making it Even Better – Use Keywords and Show enthusiasm
Again, with Santa Jr.’s headline, how can we make it better?
Sleigh rider seeking toy-making apprenticeship to gift children the joy of Christmas.
Use keywords recruiters are looking for (not buzzwords). Summarise the opportunity you are seeking and one key skill you have in a short enthusiastic sentence.
This draws attention to your skills and internal compass to the recruiter.
Over to you. Let me know what you think makes the best LinkedIn profile header for students. And Merry Christmas!