So your job was eliminated, or you were laid off – now what should you put on LinkedIn when you’re unemployed?

What should you disclose about your job search and goals – and how much? What current job should you list on LinkedIn?

How should you deal with or mention your unemployment status, if at all?

It’s best to craft a strategy for your LinkedIn Profile that helps head off questions and draws more traffic. Here’s how to write a strong leadership-level LinkedIn Profile while you’re still a free agent:


1 – What to put in your LinkedIn HEADLINE when you’re unemployed.

Here’s where you’ll want to ensure your leadership value proposition (rather than your employment status) stands out.

linkedin headline when unemployedAfter 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

See A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline for more insight on creating an effective Headline that attracts employers.


2 – What to put in your LinkedIn SUMMARY / ABOUT section when you’re 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.

LinkedIn AboutIn 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.

Remember, you actually have BETTER opportunities to promote yourself on LinkedIn when unemployed! Use the About section to openly display your expertise, without worrying that your CEO, Board, or team are viewing your Profile with suspicion.


3 – What to put in 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.


What you should put on LinkedIn when you’re unemployed, basically, is a reflection of what you offer employers going FORWARD.

It’s not about your unemployment status, but what you uniquely offer the right employer.

So go ahead and be more open, writing your Profile to gain more views from employers – and setting you up to find the right opportunity.