Why ‘Unemployed’ Shouldn’t Be Your LinkedIn Branding

LinkedIn Profile DevelopmentRecent statistics validate LinkedIn’s reputation as a major recruitment channel on the global stage. Since going public in May 2011, its membership has skyrocketed to over 300 million, with two new users joining every second of every day. Yet despite clear indicators that we should all be on LinkedIn to boost our employment opportunities, there are still some online branding hazards worth sidestepping. In particular, if you’re joining LinkedIn for the primary purpose of finding work, it’s advisable that you steer clear of emphasising your ‘unemployed’ status.

“Don’t promote negativity online and expect people to treat you with positivity in person.” (Germany Kent, US journalist)

Some recruiters overlook LinkedIn’s unemployed

While few recruiters would openly admit this, it’s often been suggested that many professional head-hunters will only consider LinkedIn members currently in the workforce. This may seem a bit harsh, but factoring this potential online bias into your LinkedIn profile, including ways to work around it, is advisable. LinkedIn content strategies that could help downplay your out-of-work predicament include:

  • Listing voluntary work in your employment history (start thinking about volunteering opportunities if you haven’t already)
  • Listing any consulting type work in your employment history (again, start thinking about relevant opportunities if you haven’t already)
  • Listing entrepreneurial interests in your employment history (this could be a blogging routine and/or contributions you make to a NFP board)

Whatever you choose to list as ‘current’ employment status, ensure it highlights your desire to continue to contribute to society and/or the professional realm in some capacity, irrespective of whether it’s a paid and/or ongoing vocation. Although make sure it’s something you can verify as a legitimate professional contribution if questions are asked by a recruiter and/or other interested party.

LinkedIn also favours the employed

In line with the above – particularly having something ‘current’ in your LinkedIn profile’s employment history – LinkedIn algorithms have also been known to skip over or neglect the unemployed. This means LinkedIn’s search engines are less likely to offer you up as a potential candidate when others conduct an online investigation. Such search engine optimisation is therefore as essential as keyword optimisation to procure a LinkedIn profile that engages, sells and activates.

It’s commonly argued that those who treat LinkedIn more like a promotional tool – as well as a professional networker – are more likely to reel in and captivate recruiters and other online spectators. LinkedIn is no doubt a pivotal job-seeking channel at a global level. But it’s more about empowering and accentuating your career strengths, assets and expertise, and far less about announcing to the world you’re eagerly seeking work.


Sarah Cronin Consulting has extensive experience in collaborating with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to LinkedIn profiles, resumes and cover letters, we also design executive biographies, selection criteria, and other career material that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

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