One of the biggest challenges job seekers face when using LinkedIn is how to position their profile to attract recruiters and hiring managers without letting everybody in their network know that they are actively job searching.
The last thing a gainfully employed professional wants to do is send a clear signal to their company that they are aggressively pursuing new opportunities. This opens the door to all kinds of problems – getting get passed up for promotions, special assignments, or bonuses or even being treated differently if a manager thinks you already have one foot out the door.
Several years ago, updating or revamping your profile was a strong indicator to your employer that something fishy was going on. Today, I don’t believe that’s the case as LinkedIn is viewed as much more than a simple job searching tool. People recognize that now LinkedIn is a platform that’s used to create real, meaningful connections for a wide range of reasons - not just for those looking for a job. So don’t be afraid to get your profile looking spiffy, but be smart about how you do so and be sure to abide by the following five tips.
1. Adjust your privacy settings. The most important setting you need to know about is the on/ off button “for activity broadcasts ”. This is how you can make updates to your profile but not draw attention to your changes, and it’s actually very simple if you know where to go. Hover over the tiny picture of yourself in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Click on the Privacy & Settings option in the drop-down menu. Then, in the Privacy Controls column, click on Turn on/off your activity broadcasts and uncheck the box that notifies your connections to changes in your profile.
2. Browse confidentially. When you look at others’ Profiles, LinkedIn announces this activity to other users through the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” display. To keep other users from seeing your name and headline when you’ve viewed their page, go to the same Privacy Controls area where you adjusted your settings (above) and click on Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile. Note: to be completely anonymous, you will need to pay for LinkedIn’s premium service.
3. Don’t openly advertise your job search. This sounds obvious, but if you’re an active user, you’ll need to show some restraint to avoid tipping off your employer. Don’t post status updates that reference dissatisfaction in your current role or your desire to find something new. Instead, post updates that will demonstrate your expertise and interests that support your personal brand.
4. Start an active outreach campaign. Don’t sit back and wait for recruiters to find and call you. Recruiters are always looking for great talent, so do some research using LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search function and join a handful of Groups that recruiters in your field actively use. Once you’ve identified some recruiters that you’d like to engage, send them an invitation to connect that is personalized and tells them why you want to connect.
5. Write an engaging Summary, but keep it focused on the value that you deliver in your current position. You want a recruiter to be able to find you, and once they do, they need to understand your personal brand and the impact you are making in your existing role. Since you will hopefully be driving recruiters to your profile through your outreach campaign, they will already know you are open to new opportunities and will understand why your profile doesn't mention openly mention anything about your intentions.
Outside of face-to-face networking with influencers in your field, LinkedIn is the most powerful platform to research and discover new opportunities, connect with decision-makers, and showcase your personal brand.
You should be ramping up your LinkedIn usage and visibility leading up to and during your job search, not scaling back in fear of being exposed to your current company. Be smart and take the proper precautions and let the power of 300+ million users work to your advantage.
As the Founder at LinkedBright, Thomas Wolff works with ambitious professionals at all levels to help them define, create, and amplify their professional brand online. His profile writing, optimization, and coaching services have helped thousands of people increase engagement with their target audience and start building a loyal tribe of followers. To learn more, visit www.linkedbright.com.
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