Are you newly unemployed and trying to figure out what to put in as your “current job” in your LinkedIn profile? When in between jobs can be a real brain bender, especially as LinkedIn is urging most users to populate their profiles as much as possible. The truth is that not having your current position populated can be a competitive disadvantage. So what is a gal or guy to do?
Basically you have three options.
First: Leave that section blank but know that in choosing to omit a current position, your ranking will drop slightly in SEO and LinkedIn search results, lowering your findability among competing candidates (based on the keywords you’ve added). This means that if employers conduct a search for your job title, (i.e.: IT Manager), with your skillset, (Cisco networks), you might be found on the second or third page of results instead of the first.
Give it a try:
However, this is not a deal-breaker or career killing move as I believe that often recruiters and employers do multiple searches on LinkedIn given the fact that many people have barely populated profiles.
Second: If you are on pay continuance or have received a severance package from your previous employer and are therefore still being ‘paid” by the company, you can leave the company’s name in your current title but it can be awkward to explain at an interview that you are not actually, physically still working there.
Third: I believe that the best option is to add a current position that is a short description of what you do and in alignment with the job that you are seeking. Here are some tips:
Important: Regardless of what you decide to put into your current position, it is essential that your headline, (the line below your name) is adjusted effectively. This field is second in importance only to your name and needs to be maximized in content as it is crucial to your LinkedIn SEO ranking and promotion.
Note that by default, LinkedIn will populate your headline with your current job title so once you add your current position, you will need to manually change your headline.
That said, avoid using “unemployed”, “in transition”, “looking for opportunities”, etc.…, as these do not offer any information as to why you should be hired and have a negative connotation. Instead, use this line to point out your value to employers by adding a strong job title and specific skills - Utilizing as many of the 120 characters as possible.
For example “Senior Sales Representative | Excellent Customer Care | Expand Market Share | Exceed Sales Targets & Generate Profit” OR a senior manager may have “Senior Operations Manager | Lean Sig Sigma | Team Management | Production Supervision | Plant Engineering Skills"
When all is said and done, the best policy is to be honest and not worry about being overly innovative or creative. A clear and targeted message that describes your title and skills is the best strategy to boost your findability and showcase your value to recruiters and employers.
Wishing you a successful week!