A Little-Known, But HUGE Mistake Most HR Job Seekers Make on LinkedIn — That You Can Correct In 5 Minutes!

by Alan Collins

One of the biggest mistakes I see HR job seekers make on LinkedIn is…

…with their headline!

To clarify, your headline is located on the line immediately below your name on your LinkedIn profile.

And it’s the first thing a headhunter, recruiter or hiring manager sees – after your name and picture.

If you’re on the prowl for a new opportunity and your headline doesn’t scream and make you stand out from the 2 million other HR people around the globe, you’re toast.

With busy, overworked recruiters who are under the gun to find candidates for great jobs, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention.

If you don’t, they’ll just click past your profile and you’re SOL.

However, a good headline will stop them dead in their tracks.

But most headlines for HR folks suck and there are three reasons why.

*   *   *

Reason #1:
They’re LAZY and STALE.   

Phrases like “Results-oriented Generalist” or “Strategic Business Partner” or “Dynamic Problem-Solver” are used so much in HR, they don’t excite anyone.

If your headline is full of these kinds of buzzwords, you’ll just be seen as a typical schmuck in HR, no different than anyone else.

*   *   *

Reason #2:

Most HR folks just use a job title and name of their last employer as their headline.

You are much more than just your last job.

Whether you are an HR generalist, specialist, executive, consultant, if your headline doesn’t clearly explain your “value-add”…or what you do makes other people and organizations better, most time-strapped recruiters will just click past your profile.

*   *   *

Reason #3: 
They make you sound DESPERATE.

If you’re in transition, don’t say in your headline that you are “unemployed” or that you are “seeking new opportunities.”  You don’t have to hide or lie about this, but stating this upfront in your headline merely discounts your worth.

In today’s HR competitive job market, you shouldn’t be passively sitting back hoping that recruiters and hiring managers will find you, anyway.  You should be aggressively seeking out opportunities on your own.

In addition, no one gives a rip about what you are looking for. They ONLY care about how you can make their job easier and how you can solve their specific organizational problems.

So far, I’ve described what you SHOULDN’T DO.

Let’s now shift gears.

*   *   *

Here’s how to create a more
COMPELLING Linkedin headline.

Structure it in four parts:

1 — Say WHAT you are.
2 — Say WHO you help.
3 — Say HOW you make their organization better.
4 — Give PROOF that you are credible.

Here are some examples:

In each of these example headlines, you immediately know what the person does, who they help, how they help them, and why they are credible.

And  each one differentiates you from the rest of the ho-hum crowd!

However, these are merely quick examples and you can certainly craft one for yourself better than these.

The 120 characters that LinkedIn gives you for your headline is valuable part of your HR career brand.

So don’t waste this asset.

If you’re in the job market..or anticipate that you will be soon…go make this change in your headline…NOW!

Don’t get overlooked.



Feel free to add your comments below by clicking HERE.

Want even more strategies for POSITIONING YOURSELF as an HR pro to employers, then check out:  HR RESUME SECRETS:  How to Create An Irresistible Human Resources Resume That Will Open Doors, Wow Hiring Managers & Get You Interviews! by CLICKING HERE.

About the Author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling HR books including HR RESUME SECRETS.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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33 Responses to “A Little-Known, But HUGE Mistake Most HR Job Seekers Make on LinkedIn — That You Can Correct In 5 Minutes!”

  1. Compensation Insider - Share the knowledge - August 2012 | Compensation Insider Says:

    […] here is a very good piece of advice from Alan Collins at Success in HR on how HR can improve their LinkedIn profile when looking for a […]

  2. Patti Johnson Says:

    Excellent advice! This is a game changer.

  3. Pamela Green Says:

    Great Points Alan, spot on! Now off to check mine…

  4. Roberto Martinez Says:

    Thank you Alan for such sound advice. I will begin working on my headline immediately!

  5. Ghazi Turkistani Says:

    Hello Alan,

    Thank you very much for your useful article.


  6. Jerry Miller Says:

    Great article Alan! And it doesn’t just pertain to HR folks. Anyone in transition could benefit from this advice.

  7. goal Says:

    Great stuff, but once you find a recruiter/manager willing to read a headline of about 120 characters at a 3-second glimpse, as that’s usually the maximum time they spend reading the headline, let me know. I wish they payed attention as you describe.

    I will definitely give it a go and change my LI headline to see the reaction 🙂

  8. syamsir syahbana Says:

    Amazing advice, Alan! I will start with the working on my headline.

  9. Nwaulune Jude Says:

    Good job!Keep it up.

  10. Leslie Blazys-DeMerville,BSc, MSc Says:

    Once again, outstanding, effective, and useful advice. Your “straight talk advice,” written in your books, and on linkedin is by far the best.

    Leslie Blazys, BSc, MSc

  11. Lyn Maylone Says:

    Excellent article. As someone who has been on both sides of this situation (haven’t we all?) I can honestly confess that I don’t spend time looking at a potential candidate in a more serious fashion unless their headline smacks me in the face. It has to be instantly compelling, complete and correct.

    “The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.” – Mark Twain

  12. Gregg Says:

    A very informative article but only for HR professionals that have experience but what about job seekers like myself? I have a Masters degree in Organizational Management with specilization in HR but no hands-on experience….what advice can you give me and job seekers like me? Thanks.

  13. Gloria Towolawi Says:

    I will sure reference this article on our website this week. You make a valid point which i think all job seeker should note. Thanks

  14. Tom Vines Says:

    Alan, Great advice and article. Makes we want to read your new book. Thanks

  15. Anita Santiago Says:

    Great Article Alan. One of the most down to earth and no nonsense advice I have come across.

    No doubt the same goes for our Resume Headlines as well and maybe one reason why resume’s of good talent goes overlooked…..

  16. Teddy Burriss (@TLBurriss) Says:

    Great article Alan – More people, not just job seekers, need to pay attention to their LinkedIn profiles, starting with their Headline. Thanks for these solid & real tips.

  17. Victoria Says:

    Once again, some great tips and a fun read…will be making some adjustments!

  18. Nonye Ikebudu Says:

    Thanks a lot for this great HR insights . I truly have got some adjustments to make. I appreciate partnering with you, great HR Comrad.

  19. Patricia M Rhoads Says:

    As a recent MBA graduate with HR generalist experience, I will go back to my resume and try to be the “Red Crayon” that attracts attention.

  20. Jacqueline Says:

    A little used but highly effective resource! I’m not looking for another opportunity, so I use the headline to advertise my company’s openings. LinkedIn is a fabulous resource and I promote it to everyone I know, and especially to my daughter who will be a junior at MU this year. Tips like this help get yourself noticed, and she’s already “in the game”, having acquired almost 75 connections since graduating from high school. Thank you, Alan, for keeping us “in the know”.

  21. Teresa Says:

    Very valuable advice. I’ll be improving my headline immediately!

  22. TK Says:

    Thank you Allan for this great tip

  23. Jayne Kangwa Says:

    Thanks, Alan. Will heed your advice!

  24. Oladapo Says:

    ………..not only HR job seekers, but all categories of job seekers. Just participated in a job fair and a great deal of the candidates were not on spot – completely lost on what they have or could deliver. Thanks Alan for putting this on spotlight.

  25. Chickie Says:

    Great points, I will update mine…..love the information you provide us all with. Thank you Alan

  26. Thomas Kennedy Says:

    Thank you Alan for your valuable advice.
    Great points for getting noticed.

    Thomas E Kennedy

  27. Anjana Says:

    Thanks Allan!
    Will update mine …

  28. Samuel Says:

    Thanks Allan! Spot on and great advice.

  29. David Zibo Konteh Says:

    This can definitely take me to my wish. Excellent points / strategy

  30. Mark A. Griffin Says:

    Great information Alan. LinkedIn is such a hot topic right now. Having the right profile will pay dividends for years to come for high potential professionals.

  31. Ije Says:

    Thank you Allan, never looked at it this way. Nice one

  32. BuiltforTeams.com Says:

    I think the same concepts apply if you include a summary or objective statement at the beginning of your resume. Make it grab a recruiter’s attention and tell them how you can make their job easier!

  33. GalaM Says:

    Time to update; Thank you Allan!