How to Write a LinkedIn Profile When Unemployed

How to Write Your LinkedIn Profile When Unemployed

How to write a LinkedIn headline and profile when you are unemployed is a confusing problem for job seekers. It comes up often when I am speaking at job search programs or talking to job seekers on LinkedIn.

How you decide to set up a LinkedIn profile when unemployed will have an impact on:

  • Whether you show up at all in searches by employers and recruiters
  • How professional you appear on LinkedIn
  • How you are vetted b recruiters on LinkedIn
  • Whether you are offered job opportunities

In this article, we are going to look at the two key areas job seekers miss opportunities on LinkedIn:

  1. Not having a current position
  2. Not having a headline.

“Wait! How can I have a current position when I’m unemployed?”

I know, it doesn’t make sense but not having one on your LinkedIn profile makes you invisible to employers searching…

By the end of this article, I’ll explain why you need a current position, give you some options on how to do this, and provide a headline formula to get your LinkedIn profile noticed by employers and recruiters.

Unemployed on LinkedIn

How LinkedIn is Used by Recruiters and Employers

43% of employers use social media to recruit. 88% of them use LinkedIn: If you are only using the traditional job posts on hiring websites you are missing opportunities. The percentage of companies that are using social media to hire will only continue to increase.

94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. 20% of candidates are removed from the application process at this stage: Once your resume has been deemed worthy to move on to the next round in the job application process, the recruiter is coming to LinkedIn to view your profile. This is where about 20% of applicants are wiped out due to basic errors, unprofessional profiles, and inconsistencies between their resume and LinkedIn.

Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn: A complete profile will determine your Profile Strength, which needs to be at the Expert level to rank high in its search algorithm. The most important areas to have completed are your profile picture and headline.

LinkedIn Profile Strength

How Job Seekers Can Brand Their Current Position

The Current Position concerns job seekers for a couple of reasons. The first is because LinkedIn will repeatedly prompt users to fill in their current position, causing them to feel compelled to fill “the gap” in their profile. Second is that not having a current position will affect your search rankings negatively.

To complete your current position you must choose a Job Title at a Company. Choosing a Company is problematic because a job seeker clearly doesn’t have one.

The following are ways unemployed users tackle their current position:

  1. Close off previous position and leave current blank.
  2. Unemployed at unemployed.
  3. Desired Title at Currently Seeking New Opportunities (see image above).
  4. Consultant at Your Name Consulting.
  5. Leave old company as position.
  6. Desired next role (specific keywords) at your industry.

Let’s take a look at each option:

  1. Leaving your current position blank seems a reasonable option, particularly if your period of unemployment has been brief. Be aware, however, that it will significantly lower your ranking in the search results.
  2. This is a poor option as no recruiter or employer is searching for “unemployed” people. They want people branded for the roles they are looking to fill: sales professionals, production engineers, rocket scientists, etc.
  3. The first half is right and the second has its merits because it is letting recruiters and employers know you are available for a new role. This option is so popular that a company page called “Currently Seeking New Opportunities” has 5500 followers.
  4. This option should only be used if you are really consulting. Lying on LinkedIn will catch up with you. Consulting while you are between jobs is a great way to stay in the game and continue to build the experience that will help you land your next role.
  5. A huge no no. Lying on your LinkedIn profile will catch up with you as soon as they contact your previous company for a reference.
  6. This option is the strongest to score well with search results and show viewers of your profile what you want your next role to be. The fact you’re “seeking opportunities” can be addressed in your Headline and Summary.

Your LinkedIn Headline and Profile Picture

Best LinkedIn Headline Examples

The headline and profile picture are the two biggest wasted opportunities on LinkedIn. When your profile appears in a search result or a suggestion (People you may know or People also viewed) your picture and headline are all they see – they are your only opportunity to stand out.

Blank LinkedIn Profile ImageYou are 11x more likely to have your profile clicked on if you have a profile picture. Not having a profile picture on LinkedIn is like walking into a networking event with a paper bag over your head.

A surprisingly large number of LinkedIn users are either unaware or unconcerned about their Profile Headline. Many users leave their headline blank which defaults to what your current experience is. This is a wasted opportunity because you are a lot more than your job title.

What’s Next?

  1. Headline Formula: Your Headline should state whom you help (hiring manager or client-base) your industry, and how you make a difference (unique ability) to that audience.
  2. Put the headline formula into action and write your headline in the comments below. I’ll give anyone who comments feedback on your headline
  3. If you think someone would benefit from reading this article please hit the share button below to share it with your network.

Surviving the Downturn - How to Find a Job in Alberta in Tough Times

Dave Byrnes is the co-author of Surviving the Downturn, a road map for job seekers in Alberta during tough times. Click on the image to learn what’s changed in job search, why you don’t hear back, and what to do about it.

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