LinkedIn Profile Tips for When You’re Unemployed
Being active on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to land a job. But if you’re currently unemployed, how should your profile look on the site?
It’s a question raised by many job seekers – and for good reason. You want to put your best foot forward to attract recruiters and updating your LinkedIn profile in the wrong way when unemployed could drive them away.
The U.S. economy is officially in a recession, so many LinkedIn users are grappling with this problem now. LinkedIn has shown it understands the gravity of the “coronavirus recession.” The site is now allowing users to add an “open to work” frame to their photos, which lets recruiters know they’re job hunting.
Choosing LinkedIn’s new photo frame is a good start, but you’ll want to go beyond that. The best thing job seekers can do is redesign their profiles to highlight their career goals – and not their unemployment.
Empire Resume will describe the best ways job seekers can position themselves on LinkedIn while unemployed, including how to re-write your headline and summary section, and other things to attract recruiters.
Update Your Headline
A good first step is changing your headline to reflect that you’re open to new opportunities. There’s a smart way to do this that won’t draw too much attention to the fact that you’re unemployed.
Writing a good LinkedIn profile headline is always important, but it’s especially crucial when you’re out of work. The headline is a chance to highlight your value to recruiters and communicate what types of positions you’re looking for.
Write a headline that focuses on your area of expertise, such as “Data Scientist with 10-plus years’ of experience” or “Experienced Sales Strategist.”
Think twice about drawing attention to your unemployment in the headline by adding a statement like “Actively Seeking New Opportunities.” Like it or not, some recruiters prefer candidates who are currently employed, believing they’re more qualified and their skills are fresher.
Given the current high unemployment rate due to the coronavirus, this recruiting bias may be different now. But it’s better to use the 120-character headline space to improve your chance of being found, rather than stating the obvious that you’re looking for work.
Either way, updating your profile headline should be a priority. A good LinkedIn headline grabs recruiters’ attention. By reading your headline, they should quickly know what you have to offer as a potential employee.
Make sure you use appropriate keywords in the headline. Recruiters search for specific skills and titles on LinkedIn. Think about your top skills and desired title and be sure to include them.
Should You List a Current Position?
Listing a current position on LinkedIn is a dilemma when you’re unemployed. But you have plenty of options with this area of the profile.
Don’t highlight the fact you’re out of work by creating a current job title that says, “Seeking a New Position.” Empire Resume recommends simply listing the final month you worked at your previous company and leaving it at that.
You can add a statement about why you left the previous company to make it clear to recruiters and potential employers. Be honest about how you lost your job – whether it was voluntary, or you were laid off – and highlight your successes while you were at the company and that you left on good terms.
If you’re freelancing or consulting while looking for a new job, it’s okay to add that as a new position. Put down “self-employed” for the company name and describe what you’ve been doing and who your clients are.
However, you shouldn’t put down volunteer work as a current position. This will confuse recruiters, and they may think you’re working for the company on a full- or part-time basis.
Lastly, it’s never okay to lie on your resume. If you lose your job, update the former job description on the profile to reflect when your last day was. Gaps in employment are challenging to overcome, but it’s better to be honest about your employment record.
Update Your Summary Section
A LinkedIn profile headline should grab attention, and so should your summary. Update your summary when you’re unemployed to reflect career goals, the types of jobs you’re looking for, and the skills and qualities you offer to employers.
Before you re-write the summary, ask yourself this: “Who are you trying to influence?” The summary is your elevator pitch, and it’s one of the most essential parts of the LinkedIn profile.
Make sure you have a clear idea of what types of positions, companies, and employment opportunities you’re after. Then write a summary that speaks directly to the recruiter or decision maker who could provide that opportunity.
Your LinkedIn profile is essentially a marketing document that’s intended to convince recruiters to contact you. So, when writing the summary, give a call to action at the end.
A good summary outlines your professional experience, skills, and accomplishments. But it should also tell the reader what they should do next. A good example of this is ending your summary with a statement like, “I’m exploring new opportunities in the sales management field, so feel free to contact me directly.”
Stay Active on the Site
When you’re gainfully employed, you may not pay much attention to LinkedIn, and your profile may get a little rusty. When you’re looking for work, it’s the perfect time to update other things, such as your picture.
Update your picture and use one that’s professional and has been taken recently. The picture is the first thing people will notice about your profile, so it’s vital to choose one that’s suitable. It’s also smart to use the same photo on all work-related social media, as this will strengthen your professional brand.
Another way to strengthen your profile is to give and receive recommendations. Instead of flat-out asking former managers or co-workers, write recommendations for them, and they may reciprocate.
You can also endorse the skills of former colleagues on the site. When you endorse their skills, your colleagues are more likely to return the favor. Having a profile with several endorsements and recommendations makes you more attractive to recruiters.
The bottom line is to be active on LinkedIn. Keep track of who has viewed your profile and posts and the number of times you’ve shown up in search results. You can access all this information from the “dashboard” on your profile.
The more active you are on the site, the more you’ll gain traffic to your profile. Ways to stay active include sharing posts, writing posts, and commenting on what others are sharing. It’s also a smart move to follow companies you’d like to work for and engage with them on LinkedIn. Take it a step further and use LinkedIn for networking with the people at those companies who make hiring decisions.
Is LinkedIn Premium Worth the Cost?
All the advice we just gave can be done with a basic and free LinkedIn account. If you’re still unable to find work, consider upgrading to LinkedIn’s premium account for jobseekers.
A LinkedIn Premium account costs $29.99 per month – a nice chunk of change. However, some career experts say splurging on the Premium subscription may be worth the investment. LinkedIn Premium offers a few great additional features that can help you land a job. It’s also possible that recruiters and hiring managers will see you as a more serious candidate if you have Premium.
Some of the benefits of a Premium membership include:
- Priority in job applications. When you apply for jobs on the site, you become a “Featured Applicant.” That means your application will be viewed before people with basic accounts.
- See all profile views. With a basic account, you can only see the last five people who viewed your profile. Premium accounts allow you unlimited access to who views your profile.
- Connect with hiring managers. Basic accounts allow you to receive messages from people you’re not connected with (called InMail), but you can’t contact them yourself. With a Premium account, you can send five InMail messages per month.
- More profile hits. As we mentioned, recruiters take LinkedIn users with Premium accounts more seriously. As a result, recruiters are more likely to check out your profile, and you’ll get increased hits.
LinkedIn Premium may be a worthy investment, but that’s up to you. Your best bet is to take full advantage of a basic account and see if you can land a job that way first. If not, you can always try a free one-month trial of Premium.
Showcase Your Strengths
When you’re unemployed, it can be tricky to decide how to enhance your LinkedIn profile. Empire Resume thinks it’s always best to play from a position of strength and confidence when working on your profile.
Even if you’re out of work, there are ways to say it on the profile that puts a positive spin on it. A general rule of thumb is to think about keywords when updating your profile and to showcase your strengths in an engaging way.
Think about your career goals when updating your profile and re-write it as if you’re speaking to the person who will make the hiring decision. With a little luck and lots of elbow grease, you’ll make the connections that’ll get the interview you’re hoping for.
Seek an All-Star Profile Status
There are five levels of LinkedIn profile strength: beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert, and All-Star. Getting to the All-Star Profile Status is critical because many studies have shown that people with All-Star profiles are 40x more likely to be contacted by recruiters.
Reaching an All-Star profile status isn’t too difficult. It only requires that you add a professional profile picture, include your work experience/education, have at least five skills listed, and have at least 50 connections.
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Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.