LinkedIn continues to be flooded by the unemployed and executive job seekers. This is not a new phenomenon, as everyone knows that all of the headhunters and recruiters are active on LinkedIn: establishing an intelligent LinkedIn presence with a consistent brand is free and invaluable career insurance that you can never have enough of. I’d like to write today on the new tactics that I see being taken by some aggressive job seekers and comment on their effectiveness (or lack thereof).
Since I am a LinkedIn LION, I get more than my share of LinkedIn invitations. And since many of the unemployed are joining open networking groups like TopLinked and connecting with group members like myself, I receive a lot of invitations from those in transition. So it surprised me a few weeks ago when I received a LinkedIn invitation from someone who’s name was “FIRST LAST – Active Job Seeker.” I had seen “Active Job Seeker” as part of someone’s Profile Headline, and I have already blogged about not broadcasting your unemployment status in your Status Update. But to have it as part of your name is something that really caught my eye.
Well, someone must have written a blog post or spoke about this practice and recommended it to their followers, because since then I have received a steady stream of these invitations with people who add “Active Job Seeker” to their name. And I really wonder why whoever is recommending this practice is doing so. I think it is the wrong strategy for LinkedIn job seekers for the following reasons:
- “Active Job Seeker” is now part of your brand. Your brand should differentiate yourself in the job market, but in a positive and strategic way. Do you want to be perceived as a successful executive with a great track record in specific functions in certain industries? Or do you want people to just think that you are a job seeker? The difference in the way people will perceive your brand is huge and most likely not to your advantage.
- By broadcasting the fact that you are an “Active Job Seeker,” you have now just devalued your brand. Think about it: there is an entire industry of recruiters and headhunters that believe that “Passive Job Seekers” are more valuable than “Active Job Seekers.” You can’t hide the fact that you’re unemployed, but do you need to brand yourself with your current situation?
- It’s socially awkward. Would you walk into a networking meeting with a “For Sale” sign hanging from your neck? I don’t see any difference in actively portraying yourself as an Active Job Seeker as part of your name.
- You are not found on LinkedIn in this fashion. And if you are found it may be for the sole fact that you are unemployed. How do recruiters find you? Not by looking at your name. By doing keyword searches, looking at past companies, your education, your successes. If a recruiter finds you by searching for “Active Job Seeker,” that job may not be something that you’re looking for. Let’s look at a similar situation that I have experienced: If you are a sales executive and post your resume on Monster or Career Builder, many insurance companies and financial planners will contact you regardless of your past industry just because you are in sales and are unemployed. You are not attracting the people that you want to contact you.
- It violates the LinkedIn User Agreement. Although it is not the same as having a telephone number next to your name, adding the term “Active Job Seeker” clearly, “adds to a content field content that is not intended for such field (i.e. submitting a telephone number in the “title” or any other field).”
I am not proposing that you lie if you are unemployed. Simply updating your LinkedIn Profile focusing on your branding is sufficient.
There is no need to brand yourself with the fact that you are in transition.