While it should be obvious, but having an incomplete profile on LinkedIn is hindering your potential of being found by recruiters and hiring managers. LinkedIn’s search function is putting a lot of weight on the overall completion level of your profile. The lower your completion level, the lower your profile will rank in any searches done by recruiters.
In 2012 LinkedIn provided very detailed information of what makes a profile considered completed (=100% completed).
- Your industry and geographical location
- An up-to-date current position (with a detailed description)
- At least 2 past positions
- Education (at least one | High School, College, etc.)
- At least 3 skills associated with your profile
- A profile photo
- 50+ connections
If you are unemployed and update your profile at LinkedIn, it should still show up as completed if you have the other requirements covered. I am not sure why LinkedIn would push your status level down when you are suddenly unemployed, but I have heard about it. Being unemployed does not affect who you are or what your level of experience is and if your profile is otherwise complete I would not worry about it. If you got laid off from your last employer, you might just keep it as the last status in the system – more about that later. Your LinkedIn profile is not your actual resume and usually recruiters will ask for a current version of your resume and they will ask what your current status is.
Unemployed (or between jobs): I am not necessarily certain that it is a good step to show on LinkedIn that you are unemployed. It seems like that hiring companies and recruiters feel that something must be wrong with a candidate if he or she is unemployed. I do think that is stupid to say at least, but I think it is always easier to leave the profile as is and then explain later on once contact has been initiated. Your actual resume should be up-to-date though – the advice here applies to your LinkedIn profile only. Coming back to your LinkedIn profile again if you are unemployed your goal should be to rank high in searches on LinkedIn and just in case LinkedIn dings you for being unemployed then don’t give them a chance to do so. It’s a strategic step in my opinion and you have to be sure it is what you want to be. Leaving the status as employed does not mean you’re lying, you’re just behind a bit with having your LinkedIn profile updated.
If your profile is 100% complete and filled with information you will eventually reach “All-Star” status. That status level will not buy you anything, but I think it is comforting to know that the LinkedIn system sees you as that.
Having your profile 100% completed will dramatically increase your rankings in LinkedIn’s internal search engine. I heard rumors that it would increase your visibility and ranking level by ~40, but like things are with any search engine, qualifying elements a certain item might sometimes carry more ranking value and sometimes less. In general it should be your goal to have your LinkedIn Profile 100% completed. It is definitely important to have this step completed.