How to make your profile’s title, not just a job title, but the showcase of your professional identity in terms of competences, added value and employability?
Your LinkedIn title is the most seen, the most read and the most essential section of your profile, to be identified on that professional network. We all thought for some time that this title should be synonym of the last position we’ve occupied. This reflex is principally due to the fact that the system fills in automatically that box with the title of your current position. However, your job title and your LinkedIn profile’s title should not be confused that easily. Most people do not bother to change it. But to let LinkedIn choose your profile’s title actually may not advantage you in the context of a real personal branding approach.
In line with Insights No 1 on your key competences and No 2 on recommendations, the following suggestions are based on my experience as a coach, recruiter and head-hunter. The profile’s title with its 120 allocated characters constitutes the most important section to make your own, for an effective self-marketing effort. By effective, I mean able to make you be “detected” by the professional users of LinkedIn, to summarize your key competences and to promote your added value. That title should present you as a talent managing his or her employability with awareness, and that if you are looking for a job or not. I would add that the title deserves considerable attention in its drafting because of its major importance in the indexing scheme of LinkedIn, and because it appears in all the interactions that you are having or will have on this professional network.
In my day-to-day activity, I visit and read a great number of profiles, more or less well-written, more or less effective in terms of self-marketing and visibility. Frequently solicited by questions on the subject by my clients, candidates and companies, I’ve decided to share some suggestions, best practices, as well as some things that I would recommend avoiding.
What can you do to make your profile’s title on LinkedIn « remarkable »? As a recruiter, I use LinkedIn as a talent pool. If a candidate wants to draw attention to his or her profile, this candidate needs to make sure that his/her title represents in a an instant his/her key competences, resulting in a clear message of what the talent wants to be identified for. Why should I take a closer look at your profile? Tell me in your title. Synonym of your “brand” or your elevator pitch, your title should retain, in 30-60 seconds, the attention of any professional interlocutor in front of you.
- address yourself directly to the persons likely to recruit you or to be interested by your profile, with terms /competences that reflect your field of activity, your speciality, your excellence
- search for language precision and conciseness
- think in terms of key words for persons likely to search for your competences, as well as for search engines
- be aware that some job titles can express competences, but a lot don’t. For example, “Project Manager” refers to a competence/skill. In contrast, “IT Director “ is a hierarchical function but in no case a competence.
Do not forget to accompany your title with the field in which you’ve evolved and put into practice your competences (Pharmaceutical Industry, Public Administration, Food Industry, Luxury and Watch Industry, Information Technologies and Services, Banking, Financial Services, Network and IS/IT Security, etc.) as well as the name of the company you work for.
Here are some examples:
A person choosing the title of IT Consultant is not precise enough. In practice, this consultant is for example: Front-End/UI Designer Mobile iOS/Android/Win App Developer or Support of 2nd or 3rd level/ITSM, ITIL or Service desk.
A Social Media Strategist should not stop there, but seize the opportunity to add his/her fields of competences according to the acquired experience and/or current job position: Facebook Marketing, LinkedIn Trainer, Twitter or Social Strategy Podcast, Digital and Content Marketer, Communications leader or Conference Producer.
And so forth:
Marketing Manager : App Marketing, E-commerce, Product Marketing, Field and Channel Marketing, Mobile Marketing
Recruitment Director : Supply chain, Production, Engineering, Logistics
ITSM Project Manager : Change Management & Release Management, Certified ITIL Expert, PMP/Agile/Scrum
Communications Coordinator : Marketing, Public Relations, Events Producer, Digital marketing or Audiovisual Production
IS/IT Support Manager : ITIL / CAPM, EasyVista, Support Processes, SLA/SLO, SharePoint, Exchange
Pre Sales Architect : Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, Messaging, UC, Cloud computing
Trader : Treasury, Short Term Interest Rates, Derivatives, Shares
Compliance Officer : Derivatives, Structured Products, Equity market, euro zone
Executive Assistant : Administrative Management, Minutes recording, Budget monitoring, Organisation of business trips, Time Management, Planning
To complete those suggestions on your title, I’ll list some elements that, from my point of view, should be avoided in a profile’s title.
- your phone number
- your email
- special characters or symbols: ★
- that you are looking for a job, new challenges and/or open to opportunities
- your diplomas without mentioning the specializations and/or their transfer in terms of competences: PhD, MBA, etc.
- your job title if it does not allow to understand your real competences or if it is not accompanied with your concrete skills: President, Owner, Entrepreneur, Partner, Consultant, Director, Founder, Advisor, etc.
- qualifiers and superlatives that are not competences: visionary, experienced, dynamic, hands-on executive, impact oriented, evangelist, international, EMEA, senior or junior…
- extra-professional information: certified scuba-diver, on a world-trip…
- titles that you alone understand the meaning… or that only a few understand
The idea is to encourage to language preciseness and terms that one is likely to type in a search engine. Put yourself in the position of someone recruiting or searching for a professional. Would you type his or her phone number or email?
A title should reflect in one instant your competences and professional skills. All that refers to your experience is mentioned in your profile anyway: your senior status, your hierarchical function or your specific diplomas. In addition, let others (see Insights No 2) decide and express that you are dynamic, visionary, experienced or a pleasant person to work with!
To conclude, I do not encourage the trend to mention that you are looking for a job or open to new challenges. It considerably disadvantages and weakens the profile of a candidate. Your LinkedIn profile and its title in particular, as a personal branding tool, must promote a clear and structured professional identity, by preserving the attention and the message on your added value, and not on your current situation and condition (unemployment, relocation, transition, etc.). In contrast, the section corresponding to your “profile’s summary”, answers far better, according to me, to the expression of your ambitions, your current status and your professional aspirations.
The identification of your real competences and their transfer to an effective professional identity constitute an effort that requires most of the time a professional support. It is in this context that I propose my coaching program. Contact me to learn more about it.