Unemployed? Do this on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Optimization

What to show on LinkedIn when you are Unemployed

This next topic is tricky as there are many ways to deal with a situation like unemployment. Some people leave their employment status untouched while they are unemployed, while others set their status something like “Unemployed – Looking for opportunities”. For example, take a look at the screenshot below.

In this example the person made two changes to her profile: Job Experience and Headline

You can see that this person has been unemployed since July of 2014. The individual added a new position outlining that he or she is looking for a new job opportunity.

While I understand why people do this, I do not necessarily recommend it. Too many times I have seen or heard about how hiring managers or hiring companies that are afraid to hire someone who has been unemployed (especially for a long period of time). The stigma of being unemployed can paint you in a negative light and make it more difficult to be hired in the future. At first, if you were to follow the example shown above, things might be alright because it is very close to the moment in time when you were laid off, but the longer it takes you to find a job the worse it looks like on your LinkedIn profile. Imagine being unemployed for seven months – hiring managers might raise the question about why you have not found a new job yet. Is something wrong with you?

I am not suggesting lying to a potential employer, but LinkedIn is a job-marketing tool. You are marketing yourself to potential employers. You need to present yourself in the best possible light, and highlighting your unemployment is not part of it. You want hiring managers to talk to you. It is so much easier to explain over the phone that you have been hesitant to take on just any job because you feel your experience and skills are worth waiting for the right company to come along.

If they liked your LinkedIn profile they will be much more open when you explain that you were laid off from your previous job. So, I would leave the job experience and status sections untouched and rather explain my situation when talking to a recruiter or hiring manager over the phone.