Every day I see job seekers with LinkedIn headlines or even resume summaries that start out like this:
In between jobs…
In fact, almost 1 million LinkedIn members are using these headlines to try and land their next gig right now.
But this approach is a huge mistake for two very important reasons:
1. It hurts your chances
Research shows that the best LinkedIn headlines (those resulting in 45% more messages from recruiters) include a standard job title.
If you put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes, it makes total sense.
Let’s say a recruiter is searching for Project Manager candidates on LinkedIn. Candidates with “Project Manager” written in their headline appear highest in search results, followed by those who include the keywords further down on their profile.
Where do you think candidates with “Seeking opportunities” as their headline appear on that list?
I think you know the answer...
You can secretly check a box on your LinkedIn profile (here’s how) to tell recruiters that you’re open to new opportunities, which can improve your search result performance.
But what employers and recruiters want to know most of all is the simplest answer to their most important question: “Why should I hire you?”
They want to know, as quickly as possible, why they should -- or should not -- consider you as the perfect candidate.
So why would you lead your profile (or any job search communication for that matter) with anything other than your best answer to this question?
2. It hurts your soul
Repeat after me: “I am more than my employment status.”
I don’t care whether or not you currently hold the job title. What matters to me (and more importantly what matters to hiring managers) is whether you have the necessary skills and passion to succeed on the job.
If you’ve worked as a Project Manager in the past, you are a project manager!
If you’ve managed projects, taken a project management methodologies course online, and have the skills you need to be a strong project manager, you are a project manager!
Even if you’re not currently employed as a Project Manager, it’s still honest and appropriate to use it as your headline if it’s what you know and love and want to do.
Candidates typically use headlines like “seeking opportunities” because they’re insecure about a gap on their resume and they’re trying to explain it away. But there’s no reason for you to spend your first encounter with a prospective employer handling objections.
Rather than lead with your insecurity, lead with your greatness -- what you’ve accomplished, what you’re capable of, and how you want to dedicate your precious time.
That’s why they’ll want to hire you.