Dec 1 2016
You’ve recently lost your job and like any executive, you want to optimize your LinkedIn profile to connect with potential employers, executive search firms, colleagues, and other contacts who can help you in your job search. You may be wondering how to address your recent unemployment to your advantage on your LinkedIn profile. The strategy you use will make a big impact on your job search.
The first thing you should do is put an end date on your current position. Some unemployed executives believe the best strategy is to leave their current position end date as “present”. However, this is not accurate, and it will require you to immediately explain your current status when contacted for a potential job lead.
This will impact your credibility and take away from the brief opportunity you have to sell your skills and showcase your match for the position. It may even raise a red flag to a potential employer that contacts you as it may seem you are trying to hide something.
Next, address your professional headline. You should already have a compelling headline that draws in the reader, such as:
Sr. VP – Manufacturing Quality | MBA | Building Customer Processes & Quality Programs for Manufacturing Suppliers
You can simply leave this header as is, or you can add a few additional words at the beginning of your header to showcase your job search. Examples include:
- Manufacturing Quality SVP Available for New Opportunities
- Manufacturing Quality SVP Seeking New Opportunities
- Manufacturing Quality SVP in Transition
However, remember you only have 120 characters for your professional header so be sure you don’t sacrifice keywords to indicate you are seeking opportunities.
Another strategy to ensure recruiters and hiring managers have quick access to your contact information is to incorporate your title, phone, and email at the top of your summary section. An example includes:
John Smith | Quality Assurance Manager | Email | Phone
Next you will add your current position to your LinkedIn profile. Several ways to do this include adding a volunteer assignment as your current position (if it’s relevant to your field), seeking out a board role (or list one that you now have), listing an ongoing career-related project, highlighting an entrepreneurial interest, or listing yourself as a consultant. However, whatever you list, you must be prepared to defend as legitimate in an interview.
Do not use freelancer, consultant, or self-employed unless you are actually working in that capacity and can list and describe specific project(s). This current position should be rich in relevant keywords.
Use a job title that matches your career goal. If you are dedicating your free time to volunteer work, this should be incorporated into the volunteer section, not listed under your current position. Unless the volunteer work is in the field you are pursuing, this will drag down your search ranking, as it will not incorporate related skills.
Here are some examples of position titles you can use under as your current position:
- Open to Quality Assurance Management Opportunities
- Seeking an Executive Position in Quality Assurance
- Marketing Consultant (again, if you are pursuing and have consulting engagements)
- Board member (if you have a current board role)
For the company name you can also use the same strategy. Suggestions include:
- Actively Seeking New CTO Opportunities
- Seeking CEO Role
- Smith Marketing Consulting or Marketing Consulting (if you have a consulting business)
- Name of Organization (if you have a current board role)
Don’t use words such as “unemployed” and “laid off” as they may have negative connotations to readers.
If you choose to omit listing a current position in the Experience section, your ranking in LinkedIn search results will drop as the search algorithm searches and ranks current positions with related keywords.
In the job description section of the current position, you have another opportunity to showcase your skills and value. This is where you can also highlight keywords and your proactive approach to seeking your next career role. Here is an example:
Actively networking within the quality assurance industry by attending networking events, participating in industry discussions and expanding my expertise through workshops and training in Lean Six Sigma and continuous improvement.
Finally, if you left your last position in good standing, you can address this within the description of your last position. For example you can state:
Position was eliminated due to a recent organization restructuring. I left Company ABC in excellent standing and offer excellent recommendations from supervisors and colleagues.
These strategies will lead to your success on LinkedIn, ensuring you are optimized in search rankings and potential hiring organizations and search firms can quickly identify you as a highly qualified executive in your field.