Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most visible sections of your LinkedIn profile. Not only does it stretch across the top of your profile page, it also introduces you on newsfeed posts, the “People You May Know” section, and LinkedIn job applications. Whether it’s being viewed by your business contacts or a recruiter, your LinkedIn headline is key to making a positive impression and explaining exactly what you bring to the table.

It’s also one of the most important fields for LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Not only should your LinkedIn headline portray you as a credible member of your industry, it should also contain strategic keywords that help you appear higher in LinkedIn searches.

LinkedIn Headline Keywords

LinkedIn has since removed practical information from their headline help page, but previously made the importance of keywords clear: “If you want your LinkedIn account to be a way that people discover you or your company, you’ll want to place an emphasis on keywords — words which people will search for on LinkedIn and that will show up on search engines.”

If you want your LinkedIn account to be a way that people discover you… place an emphasis on keywords.

LinkedIn Help Center (2017)

By default, LinkedIn creates your headline based on your current job title and company. For example: “Web Developer at Jobscan.” With 220 characters to work with, relying on the default LinkedIn headline is a wasted opportunity.

There is plenty of room to include additional details and keywords that help you stand out and show up in more search results. For example, the default headline could be expanded to read:

Web Developer at Jobscan | Full Stack Engineer | Front End Specialist | HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, JQuery, PHP

This 220 character headline expands on the skillset and specialization and adds specific hard skill keywords that a recruiter or other user might search for on LinkedIn.

Below are some real-life examples of good LinkedIn headlines.

LinkedIn Headline Examples for Job Seekers

If you search on LinkedIn for “unemployed,” you’ll be shocked to find hundreds of LinkedIn users in your extended network with some variation of this headline:

Don't use "Unemployed" in your LinkedIn Headline

Recruiters on LinkedIn are after the best candidates for the job, period. They’re not typically limiting their search to users who are actively job hunting. It’s OK to mention that you’re looking, but what you can actually do is far more important.

Be specific. “Experienced media professional seeking new opportunities” is better than “unemployed,” but still reveals next to nothing about your skillset. List hard skills and job titles.

Identify the most important hard skills with Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimization tool.

Here are four quality LinkedIn headline examples from real job seekers:

linkedin headline for job seekers

The most important search keyword is the job title. Dawn leads with “Digital Marketing Manager” then packs a ton of meaningful and frequently searched hard skills, keeping them organized with vertical bars/pipes (|).

linkedin headline example for job seekers

Amanda is job hunting after moving to a new city. She doesn’t mention that she’s seeking in her headline, but does in her profile summary. Her LinkedIn headline features the specific job title she’s targeting even though she hasn’t held that exact job title in the past. This headline is geared towards her future and specific roles recruiters are searching for.

linkedin headline example for job seekers

Amir is a long-time software developer looking for a new opportunity. His LinkedIn headline acknowledges that he’s on the hunt — which isn’t necessary — but also includes hard skills that a technical recruiter might search for.

linkedin headline example for job seekers

Instead of tacking on to her default LinkedIn headline, Meredith bumped it to the end and front-loaded her headline with relevant industry keywords and search terms. The job title will help her come up for specific search queries and adds context to her skills.

The right job title is the most important keyword you can include in your headline. Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimization tool analyzes your profile against jobs you’re interested in and industry data to show you the exact titles and keywords you need in your headline.

LinkedIn Headline Examples for Students

For a student with limited professional experience, it can be difficult to know what to put in a LinkedIn headline. Here are three good examples of students using their LinkedIn headline to find their first real job or a summer internship.

student linkedin headline example

Kevin packs a lot into his 115 character headline. We know that what he’s studying, when he’ll be available, the exact job title he’s seeking, and some of his key hard skills. A realistic recruiter search of “software engineer php c++” could create an opportunity for Kevin.

linkedin headline example for students

Tristan is looking for his first opportunity after earning a degree in digital media arts. His LinkedIn headline clearly states the types of roles for which he’s qualified (rather than “aspiring” to), and that he’s available and willing to work his way up.

linkedin headline for students example

Without extensive professional experience, students should focus on the skills they’ve learned and would like to develop in an internship. The word “internship” itself should also be included for any recruiters or department leads searching LinkedIn for potential interns.

student linkedin headline example

Megan displays as much information as possible in a naturalistic way. Her availability date is included alongside search keywords like “selling,” “sales,” “sales management,” and “marketing.”

Optimized LinkedIn Headline Examples

Whether you’re discreetly trying to attract recruiters or simply making sure your LinkedIn connections know what it is you do, your headline should expand upon LinkedIn’s default [job title] at [company]. Use the remaining characters for your most important hard skills, specializations, or goals. Here are four more examples of real optimized LinkedIn headlines.

Great LinkedIn Headline Examples

Think about who you want looking at your profile and appeal directly to them in your headline. Type in exactly what they need to know before anything else. Look to your most influential peers for some ideas.

Need specific ideas for your LinkedIn headline?

Can recruiters find you based on your headline? Jobscan’s LinkedIn Optimization tool analyzes your LinkedIn headline for free to see whether or not it contains the right keywords for your job interests and industry.

To use our LinkedIn Optmization tool, first log into your LinkedIn profile. Once there, click the “More” button and then “Save to PDF.” This transfers your profile into a resume that you can download.

Within the LinkedIn Optmization tool, click “Connect with LinkedIn” and log into your LinkedIn account here, too. On the next screen, upload the resume you created from your profile. Then, paste in the job descriptions you want to compare your profile against. 

Once you do this, you’ll see a report filled with actionable advice and insights on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile based on the job descriptions you pasted in the previous step. 

LinkedIn Optimization

To sum it all up

  • Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most visible sections of your LinkedIn profile
  • Expand upon the default headline by using all 220 characters to include top skills and specialties
  • Appear in more LinkedIn searches by using strategic keywords in your headline
  • Create opportunities by sharing what you can actually do instead of just describing yourself as “unemployed” or “student”

What’s next?

More about headlines:

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