LinkedIn Headline Mistakes You Should Stop Making Right Now

First impressions matter. That’s why you should take your LinkedIn headline seriously. LinkedIn inserts your job title automatically, but that’s easy to change.

LinkedIn Headline

As explained in 5 LinkedIn Optimization Tips Nobody Told You About, your headline should grab attention. Let’s look at the most common mistakes to avoid if you want to make the right impression.

The most common mistakes you should avoid in your LinkedIn headline. Share on X

LinkedIn headlines with buzzwords or hype words

These are the words you hear all the time. They have been so overused and misused that they don’t mean anything anymore.

  • Content production ninja. “Ninja” is a very popular term on LinkedIn. Technically, a ninja was either a spy or assassin in feudal Japan. What does a content production ninja actually do? Kill content? Spy on content production? Maybe it means that you have to master the skills of Ninjitsu (all 18 of them!) to work in content production.
  • Passion-driven recruiter. Everyone has a passion nowadays. What does that mean? Jim Rohn said: “Motivation is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you just have a motivated idiot.” Same thing for passion.
  • Advertising addict. It sounds slightly better than “advertising junky” or “druggie,” and it will probably make you stand out, although, not necessarily in a good way. If you’ve been to rehab, don’t mention that either.
Please stop using hype words in your LinkedIn professional headline! Share on X

Confusing headlines

People shouldn’t scratch their head trying to understand what your headline means. Avoid headlines that are too clever, ambiguous, or just not very descriptive, such as:

  • Multitasker extraordinaire. Several studies have shown that you cannot effectively focus on two important things at the same time. You can do two things, but you won’t be effective or efficient at either of them. Worse, studies have shown that multitaskers make more mistakes than non-multitaskers. Do you still want to be a multitasker extraordinaire?
  • Creative human. Do you really have to remind people on LinkedIn that you’re human? A creative person would probably have found a much better headline.
  • Cut me and I bleed content. This was supposed to be clever…at the expense of clarity.

Headlines that convey arrogance

You want to show your best self on LinkedIn, but using plain exaggerations won’t do it. In many ways, selling is a lot like being cool. The more you try, the less it works.

  • Ivy League MBA graduate. You are-rightfully-very proud to be an Ivy League graduate, but this information should go in the education section. When you put it in your headline, it makes you sound arrogant.
  • Grand overlord. In the feudal system (quite a popular era on LinkedIn apparently), the term was primarily used to designate the supreme ruler of a manor or estate. But why would you use it in a business context? Please tell me it is not because you run your company like a feudal system. Can’t wait to work there.
  • Direct-mail demi-god. No need to be a theologian to know nobody reveres direct mail specialists.
Selling is a lot like being cool. The more you try, the less it works. Share on X

The winning formula for LinkedIn headlines

Now that you know the types of headlines you should avoid, here are some tips for coming up with the perfect headline:

  1. Describe the value you bring.
  2. Say who you help.
  3. Say how you make a difference.
  4. Use keywords that speak to the needs of your target audience.
  5. Make sure you stay within the 120-character limit.

Personal picks that would qualify as powerful professional headlines:

  • I’ve helped 7 companies reach $1 billion. Who wants to be #8?
  • Helping accountants attract, convert and retain more profitable clients
  • Certified Trainer |Teaching business owners how to grow revenue with LinkedIn
  • Tax Accountant CPA | Specialist in family-owned businesses with revenues of $1-5 million
  • Executive recruiter helping mid-size manufacturing companies find top sales talent

Don’t underestimate the value of a good headline description. It influences how you show up in LinkedIn searches and will make you stand out in a sea of applicants.

So, take the time to work on your headline. You won’t regret it. Nobody gets it right the first time. Experiment. Notice results and improve from there.

Please share your favourite headlines in the comments sections.

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