The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Second part of the mini-series about spring-cleaning your online and offline communication.
Step 1: Focus on your hard skills
When scanning resumes, profiles or LinkedIn search results for freelance help, customers look for elements of differentiation. They need to understand who is the best fit for their projects, and what this person can tangibly do for them - quickly.
That's why including soft skills (or personality traits such as being reliable) in a professional headline is a waste - unless your services are heavily soft skill-based (e.g. business coaching). To increase your chances of getting noticed, focus on your hard skills - i.e. the specific, technical skills you need to excel in your work.
Step 2: Select your highlights
When the skills list is complete, it's time to select the highlights to include in your headline.
Even though length limitations might not apply, concise professional headlines maximise the impact - and resonate best with your audience.
Try narrowing your list down to 4-5 elements.
Step 3: Add a personal touch
The skills and features you selected are probably common to other professionals in your industry or niche. To make your professional headline stand out, you need to sprinkle some personality on top.
Consider complementing your headline with your business slogan, a snappy title or other elements that make your unique self shine through. Just remember: avoid marketing-speak at all costs - when it comes to headlines, every word counts.
Step 4: Select your top candidates
With the brainstorming session hopefully resulting in plenty of options to assess, now it's time to wear your hyper-critical glasses. Your goal here is to shortlist 2 to 4 headlines.
Remember that your professional headline should be as unique as possible.
To get started, check the headlines your direct competitors use. Knock off your list all options that look too similar to your competitors'.
Step 5: Test your professional headlines
The last leg of your journey: testing your shortlist.
To do so, you just need a small panel of friends, family members, colleagues or other professionals you cooperate with. To maximise results, aim for a mix of backgrounds.
Drum roll: you have a winner! A professional headline that works, and holds the key to more meaningful connections with prospects and peers.