Leveraging LinkedIn when you are in between jobs is critical to maximizing your network and relationships with HR managers and recruiters during your job search. Fortunately, there are many options for dealing with your employment status on your LinkedIn profile; not all of them require you to announce to your network that you are unemployed. In fact, there are a few practical ways of handling the situation to make it clear you’re looking for work without being obvious that you’re out of work.
What to put for your LinkedIn title when unemployed?
If unemployed and in between jobs, either list your former employer or optimize the headline for the job you want. When you list “Unemployed” or “Seeking New Position” as the company name, you’re showcasing that you’re out of a job, which isn’t necessary.
The great thing is that it is easy to update your LinkedIn account; you can try various options and see how they land with recruiters and hiring managers. If you’re not getting good results, it’s simple to try something different.
What to put for your LinkedIn headline when unemployed?
When unemployed and in between jobs, showcase your strengths related to the job you are pursuing in the headline section of LinkedIn.
At MatchBuilt executive search, we’ve connected with 1000s of professionals and job seekers on LinkedIn over the years. Through that time, we’ve developed a handful of best practices we’d like to share for when you’re in between jobs.
When Unemployed and In Between Jobs, Do the Following on LinkedIn
- Toggle “open to work” on for recruiters
- Optimize your headline
- Use a professional photo
- Update the summary
- Write relevant articles
- Update your projects
- Update your career interests
- Reach out to recruiters
- Be active and contribute
The best way to get started is by buttoning up your headline, photo, and summary section. For this post, we asked career coaches, HR managers, and LinkedIn experts what to do first when you are in between jobs.
10 Linkedin Tips for When You Are In Between Jobs
1. Toggle “Open to Work” on for Recruiters
If you’re in between jobs, you can let recruiters and your network on LinkedIn know you’re open to new job opportunities. If you specify the types of job opportunities that you’re interested in and your preferred location, we’ll help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.
With #OpenToWork, you have control over who can see that you are ready to take on a new opportunity.
You can choose who sees you’re open:
- All LinkedIn Members: This also includes recruiters and people at your current company. It also adds the #OpenToWork photo frame.
- Recruiters only: People using LinkedIn Recruiter only. To protect your privacy, we take steps to prevent LinkedIn Recruiter users who work at your current company and related companies from seeing your shared career interests, but we can’t guarantee complete privacy.
Amanda Miller, a Candidate Experience Manager at Resume and Career Services, reminds us only to toggle it for recruiter use.
Don’t use #opentowork for the public. Absolutely turn it on but set it so only recruiters can see it.
Adrienne Dinkelacker, a co-founder of The Atlas Group, a women-owned tech recruitment agency that focuses on building engineering and product teams, adds:
The best tips for leveraging LinkedIn when in between jobs is to make your profile “Open to Work” so that recruiters that are looking for people like you, can find you.
Once you apply to a job you like, find the company on LinkedIn, and send a message to the recruiter and hiring manager, your message can sound like this
Hi John, I applied for the Sales Manager job at Tesla and am really excited about learning more. My 15 years of experience make me think I’d be a great fit for the team. Feel free to reach me at 555-555-5555 or [email protected] to set up a meeting. Thanks and have a great day!
2. Optimize Your Headline For Career Change
The only thing recruiters initially see in a Linkedin search is your profile picture and headline. By default, Linkedin uses your current job title and employer in your headline; you should not leave it blank.
You have four LinkedIn headline choices when you are between jobs:
- Optimize the headline by loading it with job-specific keywords relevant to your background
- Leave your headline as if you are still with your old company. Even though it’s inaccurate and could be an issue for a prospective employer, it doesn’t advertise that you’re out of work.
- Share your previous roles
- State that you are looking for a job: If you mention that you’re looking for a new job and would like your network’s help, consider stating one of the following LinkedIn headline examples for job seekers.
- Available for Employment
- Available for New Residential Construction Opportunities
- Seeking a New Home Builder Opportunity
- Experienced Division President Available for New Opportunity
- Former Vice President Seeking New Opportunities
- New Home Sales Leader Currently Exploring Options
Don’t change your headline to “looking” or something similar. Headlines should be loaded with keywords and highlight the value you can provide a future employer.
Caitlin Weiser, a Consultant with Red Clover HR, a human resources consulting firm, added these helpful tips.
LinkedIn can be an extremely useful tool to use when in between jobs, but with the increasing number of layoffs, more people than ever are using the platform to try and land their next role. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that you appear in active recruiter searches is a simple way to stand out from others who are open to work.
Avoid leaving your headline vague or full of buzzwords that aren’t industry standard, and opt for specifics instead. Recruiters aren’t typing “marketing unicorn” into their search bar, so be sure to list your title, industry, and areas of expertise when creating your headline.
Your bio and job history should include a comprehensive list of your skills, experience, responsibilities, and software knowledge. When recruiters are sourcing candidates for an open role, they are utilizing job-specific keywords to find candidates that are aligned with the position, and the more of these keywords you have throughout your LinkedIn profile, the more likely you are to come up in their search.
3. Use a Professional Photo
Building on the last point, you shouldn’t leave your profile picture empty. Choose a good-quality, professional photo. If you’re not sure what is appropriate, look at the profiles of people from your target companies
Lydia Abbot, a content marketer at LinkedIn, suggests the following tips for picking the right LinkedIn photo:
Pick a photo that looks like you. Use a high-resolution image
Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame
Be the only person in the picture
Get someone else to take the picture for you
Choose the right expression
Avoid distracting backgrounds
Wear what you’d wear to work
Take the photo in soft, natural light
Use filters wisely
4. Improve the Summary Section
Revisit your LinkedIn summary section to ensure it provides you with a crisp and professional online presence. We’ve read thousands of LinkedIn summaries over the years; some pop and allow for a great introduction. As a LinkedIn member, you may want to double-check your summary section to make sure it provides you with a crisp and professional online presence.
We recommend you use first-person, make it easy to skim, and maximize the first two lines of your summary. The content should be well thought out, concise, and leverage industry keywords.
In addition to your summary, ensure that every part of your profile is complete. Karissa Parris, the Head of Talent Acquisition at Writer’s Block, a career development initiative that aims to help those who may not have the resources necessary to increase their strength as job applicants, suggests the following.
Complete your profile in full! Many candidates don’t realize that when applying on LinkedIn, the site generates a resume based on their profile, which recruiters see on the backend. If your profile is incomplete, you’re likely to be overlooked.
Recruiters are looking for “warm talent,” in other words, candidates who are most likely to respond to InMails. When candidates don’t respond, it impacts our data, so candidates with designated spotlights like “open to work,” have company connections, or have engaged with the brand are more likely to be contacted.
Leverage job descriptions to identify keywords to include on your profile. When recruiters conduct boolean searches, you’re more likely to be pulled into their candidate search!
5. Write Articles
Writing blog posts on Linkedin is a great way to share your industry knowledge and expertise. Keep your articles around 700 words for easy readability, and follow good web-writing habits. If you already have your website, you may want to write your articles there and pin them to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn offers the following tips for writing an attention-grabbing article:
Articles differ from updates because they are longer, in-depth pieces where you can write about challenges you’ve faced, opportunities you’ve seized, or significant trends in your industry. Here are some suggestions to get you started on LinkedIn’s publishing platform:
What concrete advice would you give to someone hoping to enter your field?
What will (or should) your industry look like in 5, 10, or 15 years and how will it get there?
Discuss what the most significant problem your enterprise needs to solve is.
What skill is essential in your job or company, and why?
How has your career, profession, or industry changed since you started?
What else would you do if you started all over again and why?
How did you get your start in your profession?
What advice do you have for career advancement?
What challenges do you see for the future of your work?
Ashley Steinmetz, an award-winning women’s business coach and business podcast host, adds the following:
Start writing LinkedIn articles daily and featuring them on your profile. Write articles on subjects that showcase your zone of genius. Share these articles with your network and also LinkedIn groups specific to the industry you want to work in.
Recruiters and managers in this group will see your articles. Ask for testimonies from past coworkers, bosses, and clients, and move the testimony section of your profile to be the first thing people see.
6. Add the Projects You’ve Worked On
If you’re in the building industry, people will be interested in what kind of projects you’ve previously designed and completed. These accomplishments are much more informative than a list of job titles and employers and can add to your credibility. It can work as a portfolio of sorts.
The key is to emphasize the type of project important to your target employers to demonstrate your value as a prospective employee, whether a specific area of expertise or an industry term common in your field. Add links to these projects in your “Summary” and “Projects” sections and include meaningful attachments and photos. If any of these projects have won awards, you can incorporate the news articles into your profile.
You will want to keep in mind that not only will Projects show potential building industry employers that you’ve undertaken extra efforts in your work, but this area of LinkedIn will also provide more keyword strength for your profile.
7. Reach Out to Professional Recruiters
If you have many Linkedin connections, you’re probably already connected to a recruiter. You can message them about any open positions they may have when you are between building industry jobs. Likewise, be sure to respond appropriately to recruiters when they reach out to you.
8. Update Your Career Interests
Your career interests are only visible to recruiters outside your current employer. You can choose statuses such as “Actively looking,” “casually looking,” and “not looking but open to offers” This lets recruiters know they can contact you.
Additionally, you can specify the job title you’re interested in, the locations, the type of employment (e.g., full-time, part-time, contract), etc.
9. Be Active and Contribute
An excellent way to get exposure on any platform is to be active and share engaging content related to your desired position. Write your posts and leave your thoughts and insights on other people’s posts. You can also consider joining groups related to your interests and industry.
Here are six straightforward ways to be active and communicate with your connections.
- Share Updates
- Publish Posts (Write an article)
- Participate in Groups
- Send Direct Messages to Your Connections
- Endorse Your Connections for Their Skills
- Use the ‘Companies’ Feature
- Use the Jobs Feature to Network
10. Contact Your Network Directly
Get comfortable networking with the connections you already have. If you don’t know the connection, establish some rapport first. Consider discussing various topics related to the job and any projects you have in common, and try to build a genuine relationship rather than directly asking for a job referral.
HelpGuide.org suggests the following if you’re uncomfortable asking for favors, for example, or embarrassed about your employment situation.
Whatever your fears, try to keep the following in mind when you are between building industry jobs:
- It feels good to help others. Most people will gladly assist you if they can.
- People like to give advice and be recognized for their expertise.
- Almost everyone knows what it’s like to be out of work or looking for a job, and most will empathize with your situation.
- Unemployment can be isolating and stressful. Connecting with others gives you much-needed encouragement, fellowship, and moral support.
- Reconnecting with the people in your network should be fun—even if you have a plan. The more it feels like a chore, the more tedious and anxiety-ridden the process will be.
- If you subscribed, remember to cancel your LinkedIn Premium plan once you’ve found a new job.
Research companies that you’re interested in and the people who work for those companies, and reach out to them to see how you can help. When applying for jobs, reach out to the person who posted it (or search for them) and make a personal connection.