Should You Announce You’re Looking for a Job on Your LinkedIn Profile?

Often, executives present me with the following question:

“Should I join LI Jobs or post in my profile that I am looking for another opportunity?”

Let’s talk about overexposure for a minute and dispel a few myths. I will begin back in my recruiting days… Companies used to pay me handsomely to bring those three “perfect” candidates that matched exactly what it was they were having such a hard time finding (often no easy task). Unfortunately, if he or she was currently in a job search or between companies, that candidate lost some cache – even if the candidate was a perfect fit. Because search fees are substantial, there was a lot of pressure on me to bring my client company candidates they perceived they could not find on their own; and I think that is the key – client companies didn’t want to pay me a fee to “find” someone who was already “available.” They frowned on that.

That is why recruiters are not looking for people who are looking for jobs.

Now this is just a hunch, but I believe my theory should be given serious merit by job seekers who are thinking of posting their availability on their LinkedIn profile.

I will add, yes, it is probably not likely, but it is possible that you might lose out on a position because you did not post that you were “available.” In the end you must make your choices based on your own unique circumstances. I think as a whole though, executives need to look at the problem of branding and overexposure. What, after all, are we trying to create with our “branding” message?

One of your goals should be to communicate a story line that demonstrates your unique value. This can be done by communicating your “specialty” strengths and attributes, your leadership skills and your quantifiable results, or what happens when you do what you do. Tie it all up in a short message that says, “this is the promise of the experience you are going to have by knowing/working with/hiring me.” In this message we want to create cache, allure and intrigue. In my 17 years’ experience as both a recruiter and resume writer/job search coach, I haven’t seen anyone accomplish this by screaming from the rooftops that they were in the job market. I know some might disagree with me, but please consider that my perspective is based on real world experience working closely with well over 1000 executives to date.

What do you want to convey in your job search? Leadership. Confidence. Control. A professional attitude. You are not desperate. You are not “eagerly seeking your next opportunity.” The more people think they may not be able to have you, the more they will want you – it’s just human nature. This special place is not reserved for the select few – everyone that cares about optimizing their career should strive to market themselves in a compelling way. This is marketing 101. And in a job search, one of the best investments you can make in your career is learning how to create a marketing plan for yourself and how to market yourself. No ad says “BUY ME! BUY MY PRODUCT!” No, the ads are geared to make us WANT the product. Of course, we’re not products; I’m just making a marketing observation.

So even if you find marketing distasteful (or worse, disingenuous), if you can’t communicate why someone should hire you, then how are you ever going to have a chance to help them? Your dream job at your dream salary isn’t distasteful is it? Exactly. Learn how to market yourself or pay someone to show you. Your ROI will be tremendous. 

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.