LinkedIn Profile Unemployed

How To Write A LinkedIn Profile When You’re Unemployed


Are you wondering how to write a LinkedIn profile when you’re unemployed?

This may sound odd, but if you’re unemployed, you actually have BETTER opportunities to promote yourself on LinkedIn than other users.

Openly displaying your personal brand and skills is simpler than fretting over the possibility that your boss is reviewing your Profile changes with suspicion.

Still, marketing yourself on LinkedIn when you’re openly seeking a new job can be daunting. What should you disclose about your job search and goals – and how much?

Use these tips for a strong LinkedIn profile – one that tells employers why you’re an asset to their organization, while capitalizing on your ability to freely promote your skills:

1. Your Headline

Here’s where you’ll want to ensure your value proposition (rather than your employment status) stands out. After all, your Headline is prime real estate—displayed in nearly every interaction you’ll have on the site AND the #1 most heavily weighted field in LinkedIn’s indexing scheme.

However, your employment status is NOT the brand message to send to employers. Instead, you’ll want to display a clear promise of value, while alluding to (but not directly stating) your job search.

These examples show how you can make your message clear to employers, without the negative connotation of “unemployed” in your Headline:

Senior Sales Rep, Top Producer. Consistent 124%+ of Quotas. Ready to Produce Results in  Manufacturing, SaaS, or Electronics

IT Director | VP of IT | Seeking New Infrastructure, Applications, or Networking Leadership Role in Managed Services Setting

2. Your Summary

Just like your Headline, the Summary can be used to deliver a direct message to employers—referring to your value proposition first and foremost.

In addition to a list of your career high points, consider starting your Summary with a message similar to this example:

Why consider adding me to your Operations or Supply Chain teams as an Analyst? I offer a strong, verifiable record of efficiencies that took XYZ Manufacturing’s shop floor and warehouse to a 32% drop in cycle time.

Note the keywords built into this introduction, telling employers this applicant is interested in an Operations Analyst or Supply Chain Analyst role.

You can also close your Summary with a call to action that states:

I’m eager to discuss requirements for a Business Development leader who can open multiyear sales opportunities at the CIO or CTO level, using a sales background in cloud services, hosting, managed services, and software.

In this example, Business Development, sales, CIO, CTO, and other industry-specific terms are all used as keywords to attract attention from the right employer.

3. Your Experience

If your employment ended only recently, you have several options. Some users leave the Profile as is for a few months, especially if they’re technically still “employed” by receiving severance pay. You may need to check with your former employer before doing this.

Another option is to simply give your former job an End Date on your LinkedIn Profile. While doing so will drop your Profile’s searchability (slightly), this is also the most straightforward way to show your current status.

In some cases, job seekers add a “current job” to give recruiters an idea of the title they’re seeking, while making it clear they’re currently unemployed. Should you decide to do so, a simple “COO in Transition” or “Sales Rep Open to Territory Responsibility” can serve to educate your Profile readers on your status.

The bottom line? Being unemployed is actually a GOOD reason to tend to your LinkedIn Profile with renewed enthusiasm.

If you use keywords and brand messaging appropriately – leveraging your ability to be more open in your search – you’re likely to gain increased traffic (and job opportunities) as a result.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Laura Smith-Proulx

Multi-credentialed executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is the #1 U.S. TORI resume award record-holder and a published global expert on executive branding and LinkedIn strategies.


    • We’re happy to hear that Aditi! If there’s anything I can do to help you get even more out of our site, just let me know.

  1. Hi Laura very good article on a clear open question people in transition all have nowadays, Thanks a lot for that
    Quick question on the search impact, you mentioned that closing former job date will drop slightly search results.
    Few tests I performed showed a real material search difference, any metrics you have for comparison ? or ideas about how to improve search results in this case ?
    Keep your good posts coming, thanks for sharing – Georges

  2. I am glad to see I am not alone in my career search and change.
    Would you kindly send any information to utilize LinkedIn for the job search?
    thank you,

  3. Dana Leavy-Detrick

    Good tips. I would also add that it’s a good idea to include your contact information on your LinkedIn profile, as it’s not a default setting, and you need to manually allow it. Many times I see candidate profiles with no way of contacting them, and not every recruiter or hiring manager is going to have an upgraded account that allows them to contact you through InMail. And even with InMail, your outreach is limited.

  4. If you are interested in a excellent online course on how to use LinkedIn effectivily, I suggest you go to the internationally respected experts on this subject. Their online course not only deliver 6 one-hour webinars but also an excellent ebook, several checklists and 6 month support. Plesae check it out:

  5. Do wonder about the value of Linkedin when a number of factors exist simultaneously (i) you’ve been unemployed for more than a few months (ii)you’re seeking to change career (iii) very few of your contacts and former colleagues are on Linkedin (some professions use Linkedin less than others) so you have few people you know to connect with and look as though you know 2 people.

    Can’t help but think being on Linkedin in these circumstances isn’t helpful. Seems to be less useful for people who are not in marketing or IT.

    • Any chance you could provide a solution to this Laura? Everyone says Linkedin is the answer but no one addresses this issue.

    • Tom,

      Many people have the same concern about using LinkedIn. They’ve been unemployed for awhile, they want a career change and they don’t have a lot of contacts on LinkedIn from previous employment experiences. But these are the same reasons LinkedIn is a great resource. Many job seekers have gaps in employment, however, if your profile is thorough and represents your strengths it makes you stand out to recruiters. Secondly, a profile can be written so it highlights your transferable skills and re-brands you toward your desired career objective. Lastly, you can make new contacts on LinkedIn via LinkedIn group memberships, and you can invite previous colleagues and bosses or clients to join LinkedIn. The bottom line is this – every career counselor and recruiter knows that LinkedIn is essential to job search these days. The point is to do your best to create a complete profile, either by reviewing tutorials (try YouTube), looking at profiles of those who have similar occupations or work history and using them as examples, or having a career professional help you write yours. Good luck!

    • LinkedIn really rewards connecting with people you may not really know, and a lot of people have no qualms, especially if you tell them why. Finding the school any second degree connection went to and using the alumni portal (, I have connected with a lot of people. If they accept your request, then you also have access to that many more people as second connections, and you never know when one may be someone who could be just the person you want to contact.

  6. I do not understand why linkedin won’t let you admit to being unemployed. I suspect some of the people who are giving a faux/job hunting position are doing so because Linkedin NAGS about your current position ALL THE TIME if it’s empty. It seems to me that allowing, and in fact encouraging unemployed people’s announcement of such would build market value.

  7. Thanks for this helpful article! I am currently unemployed and was just discussing whether or not I should just shut down my LinkedIN account with a few of my friends.

    I guess my only question would be what to do if I am in the middle of switching career paths. I quit my job nearly a year ago, but I have been working on changing career directions. As of now, I still have no clear alternate path, though I know the core skills I’d like to use in the future. I am more open to new possibilities than a specific job title.

    Is there a way of working this more open and flexible direction into Linkedin without coming off as unemployed AND confused?

  8. Great advice Laura. I particularly am pleased to see that, unlike some self-proclaimed “LinkedIn Experts”, you do not direct people to create a “fake” current position – like “consultant” – to make it appear that someone is not unemployed.

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