Your LinkedIn Profile *STATUS BAR* – Tips for Job Seekers

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Last week I wrote about the best way to use your LinkedIn status bar (Your LinkedIn Profile *STATUS BAR* – What do you want them to Know?). This week’s question is: What if you’re looking for a job?  What’s the best way to handle your status updates?

If you are a job seeker and want recruiters to find you on LinkedIn, you might fall into one of two categories:

1. You are currently employed. (In this situation, you might not want your employer to know that you’re looking for a job.)

2. You are currently unemployed. (In this situation, you do not want to sound desperate as you let the world know you are out of work and looking.)

Before I talk about the status bar, a word on your Headline: Hopefully you’ve taken my advice about your headline (Your LinkedIn Profile *HEADLINE* – What Would Draw You In?) and have that marketing tool in great shape. Perhaps you’ve mentioned in your headline that you are a job seeker or open to new opportunities.

For purposes of this article, let’s assume the headline is all set. Now, moving on to the status bar:

What if you are currently employed?

Never fear! Use your LinkedIn profile to make yourself stand out. Luckily for you, recruiters do not just browse the profiles of the unemployed. They have a time-honored tradition of finding not-completely-happily-employed people and enticing them to move elsewhere!

The good news for you? Your task is simple. Just write a great profile. Keep your status bar updated with interesting business news that will catch potential clients’ attention or let your boss know you’re doing a great job where you are. You will by default catch recruiters’ attention as they search through LinkedIn!

The boss never has to know.

What if you are currently unemployed?

Keep your language positive and engaging. Important note: You do NOT have to say anything in your status bar about looking for work! If you just attended a conference, or if you are studying the latest trends in your field, tell us that! Example:

… is ravenously reading up on Health Care reform debate and stimulus package issues.

This job seeker shows anyone who’s looking that she is keeping up to date on current issues in her field. She makes herself marketable that way.

If you do choose to write that you are looking for a position, here are some things that DON’T work:

…is enjoying acting in her first theatrical production! [Why would you have this update posted for 12 days (at least)?  What about your job search?]
…is looking for a job in IT. [boring and too broad]
…Any help would be appreciated. [desperate?]
…1 month ago [update please?]
…3 months ago [really. Update. Please?]

Some better updates:

… is seeking full time employment as an HR Manager in the Boston area. [If your headline is strong, this update will be a nice complement and will present itself as an opportunity for recruiters!]

…is actively networking and researching opportunities with established and growing architecture practices [This one shows you are doing your part to create a great position for yourself, without looking like you need help or are desperate for work.]

Let’s take a look at one that tries hard but doesn’t quite do the trick:

Accountant looking for next great opportunity!

There’s some desperation coming through here. “Great opportunity” is a catch phrase that might not land the way you want it to land, especially with an exclamation point at the end. Use your headline to state what sets you apart from every other accountant. In your status bar, state what kind of position you are looking for, what sized firm you are targeting, or something about what activities related to your field you are doing day to day.

There is a fine line between enthusiasm and desperation. Get someone with a professional eye to check which side of the line you are on.

Timing is Everything!

No matter what your update, make sure it is no more than 2 days old! How would you react if you were a recruiter and someone’s status update were a month old? Or even 2 weeks old? How would you know whether their status were still current?

If you’re not going to update your profile every few days, you’ll be better off not using the status bar at all. Put what you’re doing in your Summary statement so it stays the same and doesn’t look like you’ve neglected it.

Summary:

Keep it specific. Keep it positive. Keep it current.

And get professional assistance with your profile. It makes a difference.
Are you getting the results that you want from your LinkedIn profile?

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