Can someone provide advice on how our clients should portray their experience on LinkedIn once they have left their most recent employer?
Should they create a “new” job that states that they are in transition? Should they just change the date of their most recent employer from present to the current year and do nothing else? Should they volunteer and treat this activity as a job to fill the gap?
I have seen all of the above.
For those that are currently unemployed, I have seen:
- People say they are currently looking, open to opportunities, in transition, etc. A current search on “current” title for unemployed is 31,712 results.
- People say they are a consultant… for example, my new title after I get laid off would be “Consultant” at Alba Enterprises, Alba Incorporated, etc. This is very common. I won’t tell you how many current titles have consultant in them (okay, it is 1.44M) because which of those are unemployed and desperately seeking work and which of those are real consultants making mega bucks? Hard to tell.
- People change the date, as Nathan asks, and not have a current title. An alternative to this is that I’ve seen people NOT make any changes at all, so even though they are unemployed or have left a job, it still looks like they are at that job.
- People volunteer and put that as their current title. The hardest part of that is how do you find a volunteer opportunity that is long-term enough that you can post it as a title? Volunteering once at the humane shelter is probably not good enough to merit a new title on LinkedIn.
In my mind there are two questions: What is moral and not deceitful, and what is most helpful for the right people (most people think recruiters, but it could be non-recruiters, too) to find you?
Personally, I would put that I am a consultant at my own company… If someone wants to hire me to consult, I’m all over that. But just because I’m a consultant doesn’t mean I am out hustling 8 – 10 hours a day looking for gigs.
I am, though, EXPERT in something. And that is the brand messaging and value proposition I want to share.
Sure, you can know that I’m open to opportunities. I’m always open to opportunities.
We all know that employers want the hidden job seeker market… that is, the person who is not looking for a job. They call that the “passive candidate.” It is the holy grail of finding talent.
How can you be a part of the hidden job seeker market? By focusing more on your talents and passions and abilities and less on your current employment status. If you are a “consultant,” you are more likely to be considered a passive candidate by employers and recruiters.
Caveat: a lot of people, especially in certain places (silicon valley), see right through “consultant” and think it is synonymous to “unemployed.”
If I were a resume writer I would give my client a few options, like Nathan has listed above, and then let them choose the one they are most comfortable with. None of them are deceitful, but they all give a slightly different message, and the job seeker has to be comfortable with what they are communicating.