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The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

February 4, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

Should you mention unemployment in your LinkedIn tagline?

shutterstock_365042171When you’re unemployed, the desire for a great new job grows with each passing day. And because you want everyone to know you’re available immediately, you update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your unemployed status. But does doing this give you a competitive advantage, or is it counterproductive?

A LinkedIn tagline is the 120-space spot immediately below your name. When recruiters search the LinkedIn database, this is the only part of your profile they see on the results page — making it extremely important. If your tagline simply says “unemployed” or “laid off,” a recruiter may not take the time to look any further, or arguably worse, question why in the world you’re out of a job.

Phrases and terms like these carry a negative connotation, and that’s the last thing you want to convey when you’re trying to make a good first impression. Furthermore, recruiters are not using these phrases when searching for candidates on LinkedIn. The search algorithms, too, take into account the copy in your tagline, so you’re far better off filling this space with positive, impactful keywords that properly capture your expertise.

Feeling stuck? Start by thinking of the words and phrases that best describe your skills, industry and goals for the future. State what you are, what you can do and your goals. If you don’t know which phrases are currently trending, try LinkedIn’s built-in search function to see what other professionals like you are listing. Once you select an industry, you simply go to the edit option by the headline and click “See what other users in your industry are using.”

Once you’ve nailed down some great descriptive keywords, it’s time to decide whether you want your tagline to say that you’re seeking employment. You can find a way to include this information, of course, but you must do so in a way that conveys a positive message.

If you decide to state that you are seeking employment, you can try a few strategies to maximize your message’s potential. For example, start with your keyword phrase and then add that you’re seeking new opportunities and where you’d like to find them. You could also include that you’re looking to gain knowledge in a particular industry. Here are a few examples:

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If these examples don’t fit with what you want to accomplish, there’s no need at all to mention you’re unemployed in the headline — or anywhere in your profile for that matter. After all, if you’ve entered an end date at your last employer, recruiters who take the time to look at your profile closely will understand what your employments status is.

Finally, if you want to note you’re open to employment but you don’t want to add it in the tagline, stating your employment status and future goals further down in your profile is a good alternative. The summary field, for example, is a great place to add a sentence about being open and ready for new opportunities.

Recruiters and hiring managers: How do you feel when candidates use “unemployed” in LinkedIn taglines? Do you agree with these suggestions, or do you have your own to offer?