When you're on the job hunt, it may seem like a practical decision to change your LinkedIn headline to "Currently Seeking Employment." That way, when prospective employers come across your profile, they'll see that you're a viable candidate before even clicking on it… right? According to Robert Hellman, a career coach and the president of Hellman Career Consulting, this couldn't be further from the truth.
"Everyone who uses LinkedIn for hiring knows to contact people who don't appear to be actively looking, if these people fit the bill," he writes for Forbes. "In fact, some recruiters will often unfairly give a preference to what they term 'passive' candidates, i.e., those not actively looking. This preference is partly the result of the psychology around playing hard-to-get, and partly because of a bias against those who are unemployed."
This sentiment is echoed by ghostwriter and LinkedIn influencer Bruce Kasanoff, who even went as far as to say that this headline appears desperate and encourages pity. "'Currently Seeking Employment' is like a scarlet letter; it positions you as the victim of misfortune," he wrote in an influencer post in June of 2016.
Instead of grouping yourself with millions of other people looking for the same generic thing, Kasanoff recommends using your LinkedIn headline as a way to stand out. For example, "John Doe: Customer experience expert for luxury hotels" is more impactful than "John Doe: Currently seeking employment." "Don't lead with your weakness; lead with your strengths," he emphasizes. "You are a collection of skills and experiences. You have unique talents. It's up to you to weave them together in an interesting and attractive package."