You’ve been told this is your last month in your job. What to do to improve your Linkedin profile and your chance at a next job without seeming desperate?
Negotiating your exit
Depending on the job you have and the reason for your dismissal, you may have some leeway in negotiating your exit. This means that you can barter for some small benefits which don’t cost the company much but will help you position yourself better when it comes to finding your next job. What you can ask for varies greatly depending on whether you were made redundant, the company files for bankruptcy, or you were dismissed for personal reasons.
This includes allowing your current position to remain on your profile until there is a replacement for you, if applicable, or until a set date. It’s true that no one can force you to change your position, but some companies do (rightfully) scan their network to report people who claim to be employed by them but are not.
Easy things to negotiate for are that the company remains silent on your dismissal and the reasons for it. This wouldn’t help in the case of a bankruptcy, obviously, but in most cases it means that you will be able to appear employed to prospective employers which improves your bargaining position with them. If a recruiter or hiring manager knows you are not currently employed, they have a much stronger position to negotiate terms from.
By appearing employed, but having your recruitment status as “casually looking” or “actively applying” you are much more likely to draw recruiters to your profile. When you go for interviews or even as far down the process as the negotiation table your employment status will offer benefits, as the more you impress your hiring manager, the more they will want to recruit you away from your current employer, which means offering benefits and opportunities greater than what might be expected in your job as it stands today.
Grow your inner entrepreneur
One thing you will see from time to time is that people who have been let go set up a consultancy company right off the bat, usually named after themselves. While this is a valid move from an entrepreneurial point of view, it does broadcast very clearly that you have been laid off and it was not your choice. To some recruiters, this might be a warning signal. You think you’re a big deal enough to share your experience, yet your previous company didn’t think to keep you. The next logical step would be to check up on the reasons for which you might have been let go, but if there are many candidates, they might not bother and move on to the next. An old adage is that “those who can will do, and those who can’t will teach”, so their instincts might lead them to believe that you are unable to do the job.
Ideally, if you believe you are in danger of becoming redundant or let go, you already set up the growth into a (consultancy) company already. You might set it up as a project on Linkedin, explain what you do and maybe even already have a side-gig or two to add there. Your current job might have a mention of this secondary gig and how it improved your current job. Then, once the time comes that you are out of a job, it seems natural for your second option to grow into your primary money-maker.
But even if you haven’t, there are ways to set up a business and not seem desperate in doing so. First off, make it about them. Look through your feed and any discussions in your groups for a plausible “trigger” for you to start your business, and then refer back to it. “Inspired by so-and-so’s post on the difficulties of finding leads I have started a consultancy business in lead generation” takes away recruiters’ need to interpret your situation and puts you back in control.
A self-named business is a safe business. It doesn’t connect you to any specific market, offers no clue to the product or service you leverage, requires no research and hardly a business plan. It shows that you are offering your skills, previously in service to a company, on the open market. If you don’t want to clue people in that you’ve been fired you can do better for yourself, and it would improve your actual business opportunities as well.
Using your network
Your network being aware of you being unemployed can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, there might be people with whom you’ve had a good enough rapport and social capital that they will try to help you find your next challenge. Perhaps they know of a connection where your particular skill set is sorely needed, and they will set you up for an interview.
On the other hand, if your network is not that involved you might find yourself adrift in a doldrum, doing a lot of work without seeing appreciable results. That doesn’t mean Linkedin won’t work for you, but you will have to change how you approach things. In the time you aren’t formally out of a job, spend time updating and upgrading your profile. Get involved with the groups most related to your profession to get a heads-up on relevant events. This way, you can attend, make face-to-face connections and have the opportunity to profile yourself as an expert in your field.
Social networking requires investment, and if you’ve waiting until now to invest, it means you are not getting anything back in the foreseeable future. So start investing in your network as soon as possible!
Your network is not a passive resource, it’s reactive to what you are doing. What you share reflects on you. Insightful posts and articles are a body of evidence of your skill. Comments and user interactions value your personality. Make use of it, and show off more about you than just status updates and company advertisements.
Show the face of a leader, a thinker, an entrepreneur. Get involved in other people and their business. When you hear problems, offer solutions and advice. When you hear about victories and engagements, congratulate and share in the glory. The more real as a person you are, the more likely people will want to help you if you find yourself out of a job. And the more they are convinced of your skills and abilities, the more likely they are to recommend them to the people that might offer you your next position.
Linkedin profile language for international jobs
Linkedin allows you to set up your profile in different languages. But you can use this for more than just translating your profile on a 1:1 basis. Rather, it allows you to tailor your job search to whatever specific country you may be interested in to work.
Take into account the local culture when adjusting your language-specific profile. Dutch people like to get down to business, so keep it short and to the point, throw in a bit of a personal touch. For a British profile, maybe add a slight touch of dark self depreciating humor. The French might prefer a more personal profile, and focus on hiring the person rather than the professional, so capitalize on this. Get to know of each country you’d like to work in what their (business) culture is like, and tailor your Linkedin profile to match.
Another benefit of using separate profiles per country is that you can research what kind of industries are desperately hiring, or what kind of positions are up for grabs for entrepreneurial expats. You can check this by filtering the Linkedin jobs by location, and seeing if there’s a substantial difference with your current location’s job offerings. Maybe a particular software package you master might not make people happy where you live, but another country might offer a high paycheck for someone who does. Or, you might find that the kind of internship you’d need to further your career into a new path might be more common in another country.
Tailor your profile to those offerings, including new skills, keywords and career plans that would attract recruiters from those countries and those sectors. In many cases, all you’d have to do is check if you can match them, and copy them to your profile one-on-one!
Linkedin is a powerful networking tool, social media profile and job searching tool. It’s greatest uses lie in furthering your professional identity and navigating a path through your career by engaging potential employers. But even if you find yourself in an unemployed status, you can still tailor your profile to suit your needs and improve your chances of picking up where you left off – or even improve on your previous position.