This year, first-time unemployment claims rose again.
Some newly-unemployed individuals previously held middle and senior leadership positions; many had never faced unemployment before.
Or perhaps you’re one of the many who joined The Great Resignation, recognizing that your values or work-life balance were no longer aligned with your job.
So, you resigned to find a position that better matched your values.
Regardless of how you came to be unemployed, it’s still a difficult situation in which to find yourself.
It’s important to retain a positive outlook and make a plan for securing a new position. For instance, unemployed professionals need to use LinkedIn to find relevant roles and connect with employers, like in any other job search.
According to Arnie Fertig, founder of JobHunterCoach, 95 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates for open positions. Unemployed professionals can also use LinkedIn to search for recruiters in their fields.
However, if you aren’t currently in a job, you might wonder how to fill out your LinkedIn title and headline. The title comes into play when you’re asked to list your current position. Your headline is the section of your profile right beneath your name where you describe who you are and what you do – in 220 characters or less.
Luckily, there are many strategies that unemployed professionals can use to make their LinkedIn title and headline an impactful part of their job search strategy. Here are a few ideas.
Conceive the LinkedIn headline correctly.
You might be tempted to use this section of LinkedIn to offer a brief overview of your resume. But that’s what the rest of LinkedIn is for – the headline shouldn’t be used this way.
Instead, your headline should be like an elevator pitch or an overview of your skills and expertise. It also encourages whoever is on your page to read more.
Include your most recent title or the bulk of your experience as part of your headline.
Just because you no longer hold a position doesn’t mean that you can’t include the type of work you were doing. You won’t list the company you used to work for (unless you decide not to update your LinkedIn – a scenario we’ll describe later); list the job title. For instance:
- Marketing Coordinator
- Web Designer
- Head of Sales
- Account Executive
If you don’t want to list a job title, you could also describe where most of your experience came from. Like, for instance:
- Product and Project Management
- Marketing and Content Expert
- Experienced Retail Manager
Choose the right keywords in your LinkedIn title and headline.
When describing your experience, think about how recruiters will be searching for candidates with the backgrounds for the positions they want to fill. What words will they use? How can they identify you?
The first step is determining what your audience wants. What are other professionals in your field writing in this section? How do they describe their role and their experience in the headline?
Making a list of how they talk about themselves is an excellent first step for starting to write your version.
Decide if you want to talk about your unemployment status.
Another thing you want to research when getting started is seeing how open others in your field have been about their unemployed status. If so, you might consider writing a LinkedIn title that speaks to your openness to a new job.
A few ways you might do this in your headline look like this:
- Senior-Level Manager in Transition
- Available for New Opportunities
- Mid-Level Professional Available for a New Opportunity
- Seeking a New Position
- Open to New Opportunities
- Former VP Seeking New Opportunities in Sales
Deciding what to include in the “Current Position” section of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn asks job seekers to list their current positions when filling out their profiles. You have two options here.
The first is to leave this section blank or list it as “self-employed.” This helps you prevent the bias you might face if you say directly that you’re unemployed. If you decide not to update your LinkedIn profile after resigning or being let go, you might face problems later, especially if your resume and LinkedIn profile don’t match.
Alternatively, you can be open about the fact that you’re seeking a new position by telling recruiters that you are looking for a new opportunity.
Here are a few examples of what you might say:
- Open to New Opportunities
- Self-Employed Seeking a New Position
- Seeking a New Position at Unemployed
- Seeking a Management Job at Unemployed
Using LinkedIn to Your Advantage When You’re Unemployed
It isn’t easy to be unemployed. You may have to grapple with feelings of embarrassment or shame while still needing to “sell” yourself to land your next position.
Still, LinkedIn is a necessary tool for job hunting, regardless of your circumstances. So, your first step is writing your headline, making sure to identify your field of experience, and using keywords relevant to the recruiters you’re appealing to.
Next, decide whether or not you want to frontload your LinkedIn profile with your unemployment status – or keep it as is. This will help you decide how to make your “Current Position” the most useful to you.
The bottom line for your LinkedIn title and headline when unemployed is this: do your research. With just a bit of digging, you can find examples, recruiter expectations, and keywords common in your field.