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

What is the best way to write your LinkedIn Profile when unemployed?

Believe it or not, you actually have BETTER opportunities to promote yourself on LinkedIn when unemployed. Openly displaying your personal brand and skills is simpler than fretting over the possibility that your boss, Board, or team are reviewing your Profile with suspicion.

Use these tips for a strong executive-level LinkedIn Profile while you’re still a free agent – building a message to tell employers why you’re a high-value leader for their organization, while capitalizing on your ability to freely promote your skills:


1 – How to Write Your LinkedIn Headline When Unemployed.

linkedin headline when unemployedHere’s where you’ll want to ensure your leadership 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 executive job search.

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

Revenue Officer. Consistent #1 Market Share & Customer Acquisition. Ready to Produce Results in Telecom, SaaS, or Retail

IT Director | VP of IT | Open to Infrastructure, Applications, or Networking Leadership in Managed Services


2 – How to Write Your LinkedIn About Section When Unemployed.

Just like your Headline, the About section (formerly 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 About text with a message similar to this example:

I take companies to next-level growth – building IT operations as CIO that cut OPEX up to 30% and delivering apps that generate revenue, heading digital transformation, and cutting ticket resolution time 50% using analytics. Cost, value, and ROI are crucial factors in operationalizing business decisions and improving our productivity.

Note the keywords built into this introduction (IT operations, IaaS, digital transformation, analytics, OPEX, ROI), telling employers this executive is interested in another CIO role.

You can also close your About section a call to action that states:

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

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


3 – How to Write Your LinkedIn Experience Section When Unemployed.

linkedin experienceIf your employment ended only recently, you have several options.

Some users leave the Profile Experience section alone for a few months, especially if they’re receiving severance pay from an executive role.

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, executives add a “current job” entry 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 “IT Leader Open to Project Opportunities” can educate 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 executive job search – you’re likely to gain increased traffic (and job opportunities) as a result.