What Your Linkedin Headline Says (and Doesn’t Say) About You?

It’s safe to assume (or is it?) that most lawyersl have a LinkedIn profile. The preeminent business-oriented social network, Linkedin just for jobseekers and accepting invitations to connect. It’s an indispensable communications tool for business development.

LinkedIn has more than 600 million members, half of whom are active on the site. Forty percent of those who are active visit the site daily. Ninety-two percent of Fortune 500 companies (clients and prospective clients) use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is responsible for 80 percent of the leads from social media that represent business generation.

Assuming that you are on LinkedIn, how do you maximize your visibility and your ability to stand out among the crowd? That is a topic that will require more than one blog post, to be sure. But one way to start this undertaking is to look at something you probably have ignored since you set up your profile– your LinkedIn headline. Those are the words just underneath your name in your profile. Chances are that they say, “Partner at [your law firm],” or “Associate at [your law firm],” or something similar. But they don’t have to be this straightforward and routine. Instead, they can be specific and dramatic.

LinkedIn gives you 120 characters for your headline. That’s about 20 words or so, certainly nothing to sneeze at. And since the headline is at the top of your profile and in larger print, these are not 120 characters that should be viewed lightly.  They should be seen as an opportunity to tell prospective clients or referrals in a few words just what you do and how you can help them solve their legal problems.

So, rather than “Partner at [your law firm],” how about “Litigator who knows her way around the courtroom”? Or “Nonprofit advisor with 20 years’ experience in tax and employment issues”? Which approach will tell prospective clients what you are all about or why they should hire you? Why miss an opportunity to distinguish yourself?

Don’t forget to use strategic keywords in your headline. Your marketing and PR staff can help you with that. LinkedIn itself has advised its users, “If you want your LinkedIn account to be a way that people discover you, place an emphasis on keywords.” The opportunity is yours.