LinkedIn presents a challenge to those who are in between jobs. After all, when your current position is “job seeker,” how are you supposed to present yourself in an environment that’s all about who you are as a professional?
The answer is related to yesterday’s post. Just as the goal for any professional is to position yourself for the work you want to do, job seekers should position themselves as capable of doing the job they want to get. With that in mind, here are a few pointers:
– Do NOT call yourself a job seeker (in your headline or otherwise). Any value you’ll get out of alerting someone to the fact you’re looking for work is outweighed by the risks that come with being seen as unemployed. Instead, continue to refer to yourself as a professional in your industry (remember, your headline doesn’t have to be a job title). Don’t say anything that’s untrue, but don’t scream “unemployed,” either.
– DO contact those in your inner circle directly and privately telling them you’re looking for your next opportunity. This may seem contradictory given the point made above, but it’s more about sharing the right message with the right audience. The reason you don’t want to position yourself as a job seeker on LinkedIn is that it’s not the best story you have to tell to the masses, and it’s especially inadequate as a first impression. Still, you’ll want to make sure those who know you and respect you as a professional keep you in mind when they hear of a job opportunity. Have these conversations privately, and you’ll put your connections to work for you while avoid sending the wrong message publicly.
– DO ramp up your activity level on LinkedIn overall. Status updates relevant to your field of choice, content that showcases your expertise, and participation in relevant industry groups are all great ways to make a positive impression on prospective employers. It’s likely you’ll have a little more free time than you did when you were working, and this activity can be one of the most productive ways to spend that time.
What other tips would you give a job seeker when it comes to using LinkedIn? What approaches have you seen that you find especially effective?