Increase in LinkedIn’s Headline Field

Short but very sweet today! LinkedIn has decided to increase the number of characters that you can use in the headline field on your Profile today – something which came rather out of the blue!.

The Headline field is one of the most important areas on your LinkedIn Profile page, partly because it is quite restrictive but also because the role that it plays. In case you’re wondering, the Headline consists of the characters that appear just below your photo at the top of your profile:

For as long as I can remember, the limit to this section was 120 characters – it was always designed to be something which was short and to the point.

However, as of today LinkedIn has increased that limit to 220 characters so you can if you wish add in a whole lot more information into this area.

However, before the cheers subside, a word of warning. I’m not convinced that you should.

A bit of background

There are a number of other places where your headline appears, many of which are places where we are making a first impression with people who might not otherwise know us. Some of the key ones are as follows:

  • When you invite someone to connect: your headline piece of text which also appears along with your name in the Invitations area (currently c. 80 characters although used to be the entire Headline);
  • When you look at someone’s profile: on their “Who viewed your profile” page a shortened version of your Headline appears (c. 60 characters) with your name and photo, presuming that you have left your visibility on “Full Profile”;v
  • In the “People also viewed” area: this appears on the right hand side of people’s Profile Page and here again your headline with your name and photo appears, and this time it is the whole of the Headline that gets displayed;
  • In the search results: the text that appears is your Headline rather than your job title when you get listed in the search list, although again you now only get c. 82 characters. Sometimes, the top result gets a fuller appearance in the right hand sidebar as well and then the full Headline appears in all its glory.
  • When you comment: commenting is a powerful way to get people to your profile on a more regular basis and again your Headline plays a part as this also makes an appearance here with photo and name in tow, again c. 75 characters.

There is also the fact that on the Mobile, the numbers are reduced so not everything above actually appears – in all of these case therefore we need to be very careful what we put where. Clearly, the first part of the Headline is key so don’t use the extra characters to add fluff … or perhaps more appropriately, if you do, then do so at the end.

Is it of benefit?

It’s clearly of benefit to have some additional space in such a prominent part of your Profile and, it should not be forgotten, plays an important role in the eyes of the LinkedIn search engine.

BUT and there is indeed a BUT … two things to remember:

  1. Less is sometimes more: the more characters you put into this area, the more that the message it contains gets diluted and therefore the less impactful it becomes. I’m going to be honest, I think that the full 220 characters looks really messy and I tend not to read it. Get your message across and use the characters you need – don’t pad it out for the sake of it!
  2. The other places it appears around the site are equally – perhaps even more – important, so whatever length you make it, make sure that the first 65 or the first 80 characters also convey your message clearly!

So Good News! But, as always, use that Good News wisely!

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