"Quite possibly the only person on LinkedIn who isn't a results-oriented team player with excellent interpersonal skills".
It was a brilliant line.
Several years ago, a guy called Gordon Rae posted it as his LinkedIn professional headline – the words that come under your name right at the top of your profile, and that appear if someone searches for you.
He cleverly exposed just how formulaic, boring and clichéd most LinkedIn headlines and profiles are.
If you search for Gordon Rae now, 70 different people come up – and not one of them stands out in any way. All their professional headlines list their job title, sometimes with the name of the company they're at, and sometimes with some of those tired old clichés thrown in. And that's it.
It's what almost everyone does – and it's a huge mistake.
That headline is the very first thing your prospects will see. They will usually to decide whether to read further into your profile, and even whether to connect to you, based on what you write there.
You need to grab that opportunity to sell yourself.
So what should you put there, if not your job title and company?
Think of it as your elevator pitch. You've got to get two things across – exactly who you want to attract, and what you can achieve for them. And all this in just 120 characters (including spaces!)….
Including "business owner" can sometimes make sense, but remember that it uses up almost 12% of your total allowance of characters. And it certainly doesn't help you to stand out – there are more than half a million people on LinkedIn currently using "business owner" as their job title.
My LinkedIn professional headline reads as follows: "Helping businesses build online sales funnels that deliver enquiries & sales. Specialist in health & aesthetic markets".
It clarifies what we do….
The benefit to the client…
And – although we help companies from a variety of sectors, including many financial services companies – our core target market.
One of my favourite LinkedIn headlines is for Bryan Franklin in San Francisco, which at one time read: "I've Helped 7 Companies Reach $1 Billion. Who Wants To Be #8?".
He's a consultant who works across many different sectors, but he uses this space creatively to get across the size of business he's looking for, and clarify the kind of result they can expect.
Isn't that more attractive than "Bryan Franklin, Principal, Outbound Consulting?"
We might not all be able to have a professional headline quite as clever as Bryan Franklin's (or Gordon Rae's!). But you need 120 characters that grab your ideal client's attention, and tells them clearly why it's worthwhile connecting with you.
It's the first step to selling yourself on LinkedIn.