What Does Your LinkedIn Headline Say About You?

By Nigel Cliffe

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*UPDATE* Since writing this blog post, the character count for LinkedIn headlines has now been extended from 120 characters to 220 characters (including spaces) but the tips shared in this blog post remain relevant.

“You need to have that 15-second elevator pitch for when you meet somebody.”

That’s a very well-known nugget of advice in the business world. In particular, it applies if you attend a networking event or business exhibition but also if you bump into a person who may be interested in your services or products in a more informal setting.

I often equate that 15-second elevator pitch to what you should have on your LinkedIn Headline. You only have 120 characters in your LinkedIn Headline to stand out from the crowd ( or a bit more if you use the mobile – bonus tip for you!) – don’t waste them!

The Tale of Frank the Accountant

I’ll tell you a little story that I sometimes share at LinkedIn Training sessions and have done for years. When I go to a networking event and I’m going around shaking hands, I’ve got my coffee or my glass of wine in one hand, depending on the time of day, and I go up to somebody and say, “hello, nice to meet you Frank! How are you doing? Great, and what do you do, Frank?”

And Frank says to me, “I’m an accountant.” …and a little bit inside of me dies (sorry to all accountants!) but do you know what I mean? They’re not always the most engaging type of individuals and it’s hard to get across what an accountant does that benefits everybody – we all need one and we all have one after all but actually meeting one at a networking event like that is not the most brilliant thing you can do in the world.

But what about if Frank had said to me, “Nigel, I’m glad you asked me that question! I helped turn my client’s hard-earned income into an extra family holiday a year as a consequence of the tax efficiency savings I make on their expenses!”

Wow! I didn’t need an accountant, but I want some of that! See the difference? If that guy Frank had said to me that sort of thing I’d be straight into a conversation and brimming with questions. “Frank, how do you do that? Tell me more!”

And If I needed a new accountant (which I don’t by the way, Aimee Hargreaves does a brilliant job) I’d be getting straight onto Frank and asking him to tell me more!

Ironically, Aimee might have potentially made me some tax efficiency savings – meaning the tale of Frank the accountant I have been telling for years to illustrate my point of LinkedIn Headlines being more what you can do for people than your job title might become a reality (see the video above!).

What’s your LinkedIn headline? What is your pitch? What is it you’re going to say in front of that prospect if you get the opportunity in that 15 seconds?

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