man thinkingStrelka Institute for Media

LinkedIn Influencer Bruce Kasanoff published this post originally on LinkedIn

Some days, it seems like the world’s biggest employer is Currently Seeking Employment.

That’s because job hunters often use this phrase as their headline, or they create an imaginary job with this title.

Cute, eh? Not really. Using this phrase is one of the best ways to slow your job search.


Here’s why.

It encourages pity

Used in this way, it comes across as a sign of desperation. You are screaming, “I really need a job, fast!”

Employers don’t hire desperate people. They wonder what made you so desperate. Even if you otherwise look like a strong candidate, they worry they are missing something.

Not everyone uses this phrase as a headline; check out the image above, where someone has created a “company” profile for Currently Seeking Employment. They may think this is a cute way of showing that you are engaged in a full-time job search.

It isn’t.

Be proud, even if — deep inside — you are feeling a bit desperate.

It kills context

LinkedIn has over 430 million members, and every time someone searches for potential employees, you are competing with all of them for attention. Your headline offers you a way to stand out. It provides some context for who you are.

Here are two headlines; tell me which is more helpful …

John Doe: currently seeking employment
John Doe: customer experience expert for luxury hotels

The second one is quite specific, providing vital context for the reader. The first one leaves the reader with nothing but the perception that you are willing to take almost … any … job.

Context is everything. You may know that you have eight years of experience building databases for the consumer packaged goods industry, but your next employer does not … unless you get him or her to look past your headline. Why would such an employer invest their precious time in someone who is essentially labelling themselves as Anonymous Former Professional?

It ignores your strengths

Whether you are unemployed, hungry, or tired, none of these best reflect who you are. If you have closed $5 million deals for SaaS offerings, say so. If you have designed 30 e-commerce websites, put this information front and center.

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Don’t lead with your weakness; lead with your strengths.

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.

Here’s my suggestion: Spend half your time looking for a job, and the other half doing something worthwhile. Volunteer for a charity. Learn a new skill. Write articles, or even a book. Make a series of videos.

Whatever you do, make it significant enough that you are proud to talk about it publicly. Then add a paragraph at the end of your LinkedIn Summary that describes this endeavor.

Make it something like this:

While searching for a new CFO role in the health care industry, I’ve been working with Houses for Veterans and have been instrumental in securing three substantial grants that increase the long-term viability of this two-year-old non-profit organization.

It may take time to find a good job, but it only requires a positive and proactive mindset to take yourself out of limbo.


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