What to Put on LinkedIn When You're Unemployed

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When you’re unemployed, updating your LinkedIn Profile gets complicated in a hurry. What should you list for your Professional Headline and Current Position, when you’re between jobs? After all, the whole purpose of updating your Profile is to attract prospective employers. Choose the wrong content, and you could drive hiring managers away instead.

What to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile When You're Unemployed

Above all, it's important to be honest, because it's easy for potential employers to check your background when they are considering you for employment.

Options when you're out of work include stating it in your Profile, or not mentioning it at all.

Krista Canfield, former Senior PR Manager at LinkedIn, has suggestions on what to include in your LinkedIn Profile when you're out of work: "If you're currently unemployed, list your current position as ‘open to opportunities.’"

Should You Update Your LinkedIn Profile – Or Not?

A simple option is to put an end date on your last position and not add a new one. That way your Profile is technically correct and you're not highlighting your status of being unemployed.

You could also consider updating your status field in your Profile so your network knows that you're looking for a job. You can update it with, "John is currently looking for a finance position. Do you know anyone who's hiring?" or "Sarah is interested in freelance opportunities. Let her know if someone in your network needs help writing or editing." It's a quick and easy way to let folks you're connected to know that you could use their help.

Krista also notes that, "One member of ours was unfortunately laid off so he updated his status to show he was currently looking for a new position. He was able to find a new job within seven business days of being laid off because someone in his network knew someone who was hiring."

Here are some more examples of what to include in the Professional Headline and Current Position sections of your LinkedIn Profile when you're unemployed.

Unemployed LinkedIn Professional Headline Examples

  • Actively Seeking Employment
  • Available for Employment
  • Available for New Opportunities
  • Seeking a New Opportunity
  • Unemployed and Looking for Work
  • Operations Logistic Professional Seeking Work
  • Experienced Retail Manager Available for New Opportunity
  • Marketing Professional in Transition
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Currently Exploring Options
  • Recent College Graduate Seeking Entry-Level Programming Position

Listing your current position can be a dilemma, as well. I've seen many Profiles that list "Unemployed" or "Seeking New Position" as the company name. Another option, if you're doing freelance or consulting work is to list your company as self-employed.

Unemployed LinkedIn Current Position Examples

  • Open to Opportunities at Seeking New Position
  • Looking for a job in Human Resources at Unemployed
  • Student at College.edu
  • Recent Graduate at College.edu
  • Consultant at Self-Employed

  • Seeking a Position at Unemployed
  • Unemployed and Looking for a Great Job at Unemployed
  • Freelance Writer at Self-Employed

One thing to keep in mind when saying you're unemployed is that there can, unfortunately, bias in the workplace against unemployed job seekers. Many hiring managers persist in giving preference to candidates who are currently employed, despite the fact that if the recession taught us anything, it’s that even the best workers can lose their jobs.

If this is a concern for you, consider listing your Current Position as “self-employed.” You can also list yourself as looking for work immediately after losing your job, and then switch to “self-employed” if your initial announcement doesn’t draw the kinds of offers you’re looking for.

When You Left Your Job Voluntarily

If you left your position voluntarily, you could clarify that in your position descriptions:

Current Position Description
Actively seeking new opportunities after voluntarily leaving my last stint at HSBC with a long record of success and solid recommendations (see below).

Past Position Description
Left job voluntarily in excellent standing with a track record of success and excellent recommendations (see below).

Options for Not Updating Your Profile

An option to get around listing the fact that you're unemployed is to leave your LinkedIn Profile as is, without updating it.

Even though it's not accurate, and could be an issue for a prospective employer, it doesn't advertise the fact that you're out of work. You could not update your Profile at all – as though you had "forgotten" to update it. 

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