2010-06-16-unemployment

One of the biggest challenges in job searches is standing out among the competition. This challenge is magnified immensely when you are unemployed. I wish I could say that the bias against the unemployed doesn’t exist, but it does. One of the most common questions that I get is whether or not you should advertise your availability on LinkedIn. There are a lot of mixed opinions on this, to say the least! Let’s make it simple: The answer is NO.

Here’s my recommendation. It’s okay to let employers know that you are open to new opportunities, but don’t do it in your LinkedIn headline! The headline is VALUABLE real estate on your profile and carries the most SEO benefits in terms of getting your profile to show up in searches. Your headline should be used to demonstrate your value and skills and position you for the job that you want. The words that you put in your headline will determine what searches you show up in. I can promise you that no recruiter ever does a search for the words “seeking new opportunities.”

Here are two other alternatives to try:

  1. Put a “call to action” for employers in your summary, rather than your headline. You don’t need to come out and say that you are currently unemployed but here’s what it might sound like:

“If your organization is looking for an experienced Marketing Director, feel free to contact me at  johnsmithmarketingdirector@yahoo.com to discuss how I can contribute to your organization’s marketing initiatives.”

  1. Try LinkedIn’s new Open Candidates feature. This allows you to privately signal to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities without publishing anything on your profile. Read more about it here in this LinkedIn Blog Post.

Employers are searching LinkedIn daily for qualified candidates. There is a balance to struck between communicating that you are actively looking, but not overemphasizing and taking away from your value proposition.

BONUS TIP: If you are unemployed, I would highly recommend keeping your last job as "present" rather than putting the end date. If you don't have a present job, your profile ranking will plummet in search results and it's less likely that your profile will get viewed. On your resume however, I would recommend putting the end date.
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