LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Searching When Unemployed
Let’s make it clear that if you’re unemployed and job searching, you’ll want to be on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile allows you to share your recent professional experience and credentials with prospective employers. However, with many job seekers who are unemployed or who have remained unemployed for a lengthy period, there may be hesitation.
Unfortunately, the way that the LinkedIn profile is set up, it makes it easy for employers to see your current employment status. And no job seeker wants to broadcast their unemployment because there may be a bias towards the unemployed as being less than qualified for jobs.
The fact is often employers do give preference to candidates who are employed over the unemployed. The idea is the employed are more qualified and that they’ll have a fresher set of skills than the unemployed.
It leaves those who are unemployed on LinkedIn to think about questions like:
- How should I present my employment status?
- Do I leave the section on Current Position blank?
While there are vulnerabilities for job seekers who are unemployed and on LinkedIn, there are also a lot of advantages to help you find and secure the right next job for your career.
The key point is to not let your unemployment status define who you are and what you’re capable of doing as a professional.
Here are ways to project confidence and competence as a professional on your LinkedIn profile when you’re unemployed and job searching.
Headline that Speaks to the Employer’s Needs
Your LinkedIn headline on your profile does not need to make your unemployment status obvious. By default, LinkedIn will use your current position’s title as your headline. If you are unemployed, go ahead and put an end date to your last employer if you haven’t already done so. Next, add a new experience as if you were employed to describe you as a professional. For example, your new job title can read: “IT Systems Administrator Open to Opportunities.” This informs prospective employers you are as a professional without saying outright that you’re unemployed. Another option is to add information on current volunteer work you may be doing, especially if it’s directly relevant to your professional work. To understand more on why the Headline matters, read: “See Things from the Employer’s Side: What Happens When You Apply for a Job on LinkedIn.”
You Are Your Own Employer
Since you are adding a new experience to your LinkedIn profile, it’s important to complete the rest of the information in that section. Under Company (Employer), you can indicate “Self-Employed.” Where you describe your current experience, use it as an opportunity to write 1-2 lines about yourself. If you left your last job on good terms, whether it be because of a layoff or that you left voluntarily, indicate it as well as highlight your track record of professional accomplishments and that you are actively seeking new opportunities.
Professional Profile Photo as You Are Today
If it’s been a while since you last updated your profile photo or if you never bothered to add one, update it now. Hiring managers are more likely to access your LinkedIn profile with one than without one. Find out why, reading: “9 Tips to Getting Your LinkedIn Profile to All-Star Rating.” The profile photo should present you as how you appear now. Employers will have associated your face with your name and if you were to appear drastically different for the in-person interview, it can throw your interviewer off.
Welcome Opportunities with an Updated Status
For professionals who are well connected and have a strong network of contacts, it can be especially beneficial to update your LinkedIn profile status to indicate you are looking for a position and in what field/industry. Informing your network can lead to immediate opportunities you can pursue.
Leave Your LinkedIn Profile Alone If the Timing Is Favorable
The tips given so far are to ideally help those who have been unemployed for a longer period of time because the bias is more present for those who have had a longer period of unemployment. If you have had a short period of unemployment, it may benefit to leave your LinkedIn profile alone.
There’s a fine line to balance when choosing to not update your employment status on your LinkedIn profile. In some instances, holding off on an update can help you avoid any possible bias that may come from employers who give preference to the employed candidates. Factor the length of time that has gone by since your unemployment and how you are using your LinkedIn profile to help in your job search efforts to determine what information be best presented on your LinkedIn profile when job searching.
What you put on your LinkedIn profile can essentially be open for everyone to view. There are vulnerabilities especially for the unemployed, but LinkedIn can more likely help your job search than hurt it when you project yourself as a confident and competent professional.
About Jobs provides job seekers with LinkedIn profile writing services and resume writing services. Our certified professional writers work one-on-one with each client. Career services are also offers to help guide job seekers in the process of turning job interview opportunities into job offers. Find out more at GotTheJob.com and follow us on social.