LinkedIn is a business and professional network. The people who use LinkedIn are not there to discuss their favorite television show or talk about what they had for dinner. They join LinkedIn, post Updates and join Groups to further their professional career. They're there to do business.
Your professional headline on LinkedIn is a one-line description that appears at the top of your Profile often accompanies your name when you interact on LinkedIn.
The professional headline field defaults to your current title (i.e. Attorney, Partner, Owner, etc.), but you can change that by clicking the “Edit” button next to your name and adding keywords to your professional headline.
When someone hovers their mouse over your name or photograph where it appears in LinkedIn in their Updates or in Groups, etc., a pop-up appears with your professional headline and your location. But for most lawyers, the professional headline doesn't act as a differentiator, or give viewers any reason to click through to find out more. Some of those professional headlines don't even identify them as an attorney - "Associate," "Partner," "Founder" or similar titles could apply to any business - not just law.
Not only that, but failing to identify yourself as a lawyer in your professional headline means you won't be returned in LinkedIn's search results for attorneys.
Let's look at some examples:
Compare that with this attorney's professional headline:
Her professional headline notes that she is a "Tax Attorney." This is an improvement - at least we know what kind of law she practices. Although we don't know the specifics, having that little extra bit of detail may be enough to entice us to click through to see her complete Profile.
Now consider this third example:
In this final example, this attorney has listed her area of practice, Medical Malpractice, but she has gone one step further and identified who she represents in those medical malpractice cases - patients.
Instead of just your title or insider firm descriptions (“Associate” or “Partner”), use all of the 120 characters allotted in the Professional Headline field and provide information helpful to someone outside your firm. Describe your practice area, your clients or your services – or all three.
While you want to make sure you use “lawyer” or “attorney” in your description for those all-important search results, that isn't enough, if your purpose is to engage with people, extend your network and make sure others know exactly what you do and who you do it for.
One quick and easy change to your LinkedIn Profile - your professional headline - may make a big difference.