By Bob Woods
This is good advice for most people. And yes, LinkedIn has a good handle on what the typical user should do while using their platform. If you’re in sales (and especially if you’re in social selling), though, you are not the “typical” LinkedIn member. Thus, your headline should absolutely NOT be your current position.
It’s All About Value
Simply put, the headline is a great space or area to really talk about the value you bring to those people with whom you interact in the normal course of your business. If your headline does not speak to the needs of people viewing your profile (or those mousing over your name in their newsfeed) and doesn’t spell out the value you bring to them, you’ve lost a potential social engagement, connection, or even prospect.
Instead of promoting yourself or re-hashing your corporate title, treat your headline as a great opportunity to build your value in their minds. Make them want to contact you or connect with you because you’ll be a great help to them. Why? You are a true professional who will bring them value… even if she or he doesn’t eventually buy your product or service. (You may even be able to gain referrals from that latter person!) Demonstrate all of that in your headline.
These are what I would consider “typical” headlines that you don’t want to use:
- Account Executive at (Company)
- Salesperson at (Company)
- Service and Marketing Manager at (Company)
- Realtor | Home Sales | Home Rentals | Foreclosures | Condo Sales
- Personal Lines Account Manager at (Company)
Instead, try writing a headline that piques curiosity, creates immediate engagement, and truly shows your value proposition. Here are some examples:
- Helping Manufacturers and Distributors Leverage “The Cloud” for Effective and Efficient Operations
- Driving Down Cost & Increasing Efficiencies in Healthcare Starts with Logistics
- Transforming the Way Businesses Address AML Compliance and Fraud Monitoring
- Making Sales People Wildly Successful By Providing the Most Effective Way to Engage Their B2B Buyers (This is one we use at my company.)
- Giving LinkedIn Marketers and Trainers an Easier Life!
(I should look into that last one!)
Which group of headlines would entice you more to click through to her or his profile? Moreover, which group demonstrates true value? If you think the latter list answers those questions, I’d suggest you get crackin’ on writing a new headline.
The Stigma of Sales
If you’re in sales, there’s another very real reason why your headline should not mention your current position. Unfortunately, there’s still a dishonorable view out there about the sales profession. Many people are turned off when they receive a connection request, an InMail or some other form of communication within the platform from a business professional who is in sales. Alternatively, they may see a post or comment from someone in their feed, but they shy away from clicking through to that person’s profile when they hover over her or his name and see any connotation of the word “sales” in it (salesperson, account executive, etc.).
Not having any form of the word “sales” in your headline isn’t being dishonest, either. You’re not trying to “put one past” the people visiting your profile; in fact, you are actually being very honest about what it is you do and the value you will bring to someone who either contacts you or who decides to engage with you.
On the flip side of that, you should most definitely include your title in the Experience section. You should have complete transparency in the fact that you are in sales, but the best place for that is in your Experience section.
So don’t follow LinkedIn’s advice on headlines if you are in sales. Instead, use those 120 characters to show the true value you bring to your connections, prospects, clients, and audience in general. After all, you bring a lot of value that others can use. Adopt and embrace that value in your headline.