Should You Add a “Current” Job on LinkedIn When You’re Unemployed?

LinkedIn Profile Tips for Newly UnemployedNewly unemployed – and need some LinkedIn Profile tips on whether you should add a “current” job to your LinkedIn Profile as a cover story?

You’ve probably heard you won’t rank in LinkedIn search results without a current job, or that you must attain a 100% complete Profile to be findable online.

However, there’s no need to panic or become overly creative – no matter what your situation or career level. You’ll simply need to respect employers’ need for truthful, helpful information, and then formulate an effective LinkedIn strategy.

Here are LinkedIn Profile tips for handling your “unemployed” status on LinkedIn:

1 – How to add a “job-seeking” entry.

If you decide to fill in your Experience with a current job title, then make your status clear to employers, while focusing on the positive in your background:

  • Use a Job Title similar to what you’d pursue for a new role (for example, an Account Manager might list “Sales Executive Open to Account Manager Positions”)
  • Add a short description that includes keywords, such as “Pursuing opportunities to use Lean Six Sigma and plant production expertise as an Operations Manager”
  • Use only the Year in your From Date field, so that it shows “2013 to Present”
  • Keep negative words such as “laid off” or “unemployed” out of the Job Title or description

Resist the temptation to list your Board activities or volunteer experience as a “placeholder” job.

It can be confusing for employers to see this as part of your work history – and they might believe you’re actually working for these organizations.

2 – How to justify omitting a current job entirely.

Yes, your LinkedIn SEO ranking will drop slightly without a current job, meaning that if employers conduct a search for an IT Manager skilled in Cisco networks and agile development in Omaha, you might be found on the second or third page of results (vs. the first).

Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a career-killing move. Most employers and recruiters, accustomed to the tendency of many LinkedIn users to barely fill in their Profiles, will conduct a number of searches to find you and your unique set of skills.

Still not convinced? Here’s how to test the impact of omitting a current job in LinkedIn:

  • Perform an Advanced People Search on your job title and several key skills
  • Include your zip code for more targeted results
  • Note where you rank among users with identical job titles and competencies
  • Now, remove your current job entry (save it in a Word document for re-use)
  • Try the same search again – you may see very little difference in your ranking

3 – How to adjust your Headline (regardless of your decision).

Never use the default LinkedIn Headline (your current job title)! This field is second only to your Name in importance on LinkedIn, so take the time to maximize the content in this field.

Since your Headline is crucial to your LinkedIn SEO ranking and promotion, it works best when all 120 characters are put to good use.

Promote your value with titles and keyword-specific skills, such as “IT Manager  |  Infrastructure, Applications, & Business Transformation | Product Development & Engineering.”

Also, no matter what you use for a current job, adding “unemployed” or “in transition” in your Headline will work against you. (At a minimum, this doesn’t tell recruiters why they should seek you out.)

These LinkedIn Profile tips sum up the most simple ways to deal with unemployment on LinkedIn, while meeting the demands of today’s social media-conscious job market.

A straight-forward message of value, with meaningful skills and keywords, is the best strategy to help boost your findability and convey your brand message to employers.

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