Dear Students… See Santa Jr’s “Kiasu” LinkedIn Profile Headline

LinkedIn is a great place to find your dream job. But, are you making the right impression with your profile headline? Does your profile seem pretentious?

Just the other day, I was scrolling through LinkedIn and noticed numerous cringy profile headlines. Almost always, these profiles belonged to local university students, whom I’m guessing were taking a class on resume preparation.

While it’s great that universities are finally paying attention to recruitment in the digital age, they could have taught 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 by new entrants to the job market.

Pompous Santa Junior

How would you feel if you were networking with someone and he introduces himself with:

“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 pretentious self-flattery. Unfortunately, Santa Jr.’s headline reeks of the latter, even if unintentional.

Stuffing excessive descriptors into your LinkedIn profile headline makes you seem desperate and insecure. Why else would you use meaningless buzzwords? You have done nothing to demonstrate your skills. And, yet, you’re “telling” potential recruiters what to think.

It just comes off as pompous bragging and puts everyone off.

How Should LinkedIn Profile Headlines Be Crafted?

Brevity means Clarity

Pompous name card
Found this on Business Insider — When your title is an essay, it makes it hard for people to know what you’re about within 5 seconds.

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!

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