job search privacy on LinkedIn

The BEST HACKS That Keep Your Job Search Private Everywhere Including LinkedIn

We get calls every day from candidates who have simply ‘had it’ with their current job or boss, but don’t know how to keep their job search private online, on LinkedIn or otherwise.

Announcing your plans to leave before you have a definite job offer in your inbox can be on par to career suicide. Imagine what it would be like if your future employers ever catches wind of it – burning bridges only shows them an unprofessional and emotional attitude. And, what will it look like when you need a reference from your previous job.

If your reason is simply a better opportunity to further your career, then you really have to be smart and go into stealth mode during your job search. Whatever the case, we recommend that you always practice discretion. I have 8 smart hacks to help you make your job search activities private.

Junior and Mid-Level Job Hunters

Keep the Job Search a Secret

If you’ve been at your entry level job for a while, have caught on and feel that you have enough skills and proficiencies, it may be ‘that time’ to search out new jobs with bigger and better opportunities for advancement – a job hop. Use the following power tools to make your job search private.

#1 Ask for Confidentiality   

If you’re interviewing and the current company asks if they can contact your old job, tell them that you prefer confidentiality. This is a pretty standard request so that you don’t jeopardise your position at your current place of work and it should be honoured.

#2 Practice Some Discretional Phrasing

When someone from a prospective company asks you if you’re looking for a job at any point, and you aren’t sure whether or not they may know your employer, you’ll want to give them a ‘soft yes’ in response. You can say, “It’s always good to keep your options open,” without affirming that you are actively looking.

#3 Go Through a Recruiting Professional

A recruiter will retain confidentiality in their search until they have a pretty good match and an actual interview lined up for you.

In an age where everyone is connected, just remember that it may not be completely possible to avoid your employer being contacted about your job search. Remember, you decided to leave your job for a good reason, so don’t let what-ifs stop you from taking the next step in your career. If you need somewhere to start, ask us for professional assistance.

Mid-Level, Senior and Executive Job Hunters

LINKEDIN

We are often asked how professionals who are currently employed can leverage LinkedIn effectively, yet discreetly, without compromising their current job security.

#4 STOP USING THE FEED

Whether you’re already active on LinkedIn with an ALL STAR or EXPERT profile or you’re just getting started, the first thing to do is to change your privacy settings so that your activity is not automatically broadcast to your network in the news feed and so your network cannot see your activity feed on your profile. Here’s how:

  • Once signed in to your account, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click on ‘Settings’ in the dropdown menu.
  • Find ‘Profile’ in the bottom section of this ‘Settings’ page and then ‘Privacy Controls’ to the right.
  • First, click on ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’. Un-check the box that says ‘Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies’. Click the ‘Save changes’ button.
  • Next, click on ‘Select Who Can See Your Activity Feed’. Set this to ‘Only You’. Click the ‘Save changes’ button.

BTW: Don’t stress out! If you are hooked on LinkedIn like so many job hunters, know that this doesn’t hurt your overall visibility on LinkedIn, but it sure helps to make your activity related to job searching “stealth mode” discreet and it helps you to protect you and your current job.

#5 STOP TRUMPETING YOUR JOB SEARCH

Hiding your activity from the news feed doesn’t make all of your LinkedIn activity totally undetectable. While this may seem obvious, be very careful not to openly advertise your job search. Here are some examples to consider:

  • STOP or refrain from posting any LinkedIn status updates that would imply that you are dissatisfied with your current job and/or looking for a new job opportunity. DO post status updates that demonstrate your expertise and interests and that support your personal brand.
  • STOP or refrain from including any language anywhere in your profile implying that you are dissatisfied with your current job and/or looking for a new job opportunity. DO leverage your profile as a selling document for you and your personal brand by including your accomplishments, skills and more.
  • STOP or refrain from posting anything openly related to your job search in LinkedIn Answers or in LinkedIn Groups, especially those related to job search. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate in these places. It just means you should focus your participation and contributions on building your personal brand in your area of expertise and should message people of interest directly and thus, discreetly.
  • STOP showing all of your groups on your profile. When joining LinkedIn groups related to job search or any groups you don’t want people from your current employer to see, go immediately to the group after joining, click on the ‘More’ tab and click on ‘Your Settings’ in the dropdown menu. Under ‘Visibility Settings’ un-check ‘Display the group logo on your profile’.
  • STOP or refrain from asking your current manager or colleagues for LinkedIn recommendations / endorsements. You can ask previous managers and colleagues, but just be careful when they also work for the same employer. You can always say, “I just wanted to ask you for your feedback before too much time had passed since we had worked together.”
  • STOP using or displaying the optional Job Seeker badge on your profile if you choose to pay for a premium LinkedIn account.

#6 Search in Stealth mode

This is the most important ‘Hack’, especially for those of you who are of the view that your only salvation is in LinkedIn.

While you don’t want current co-workers to see your job search activity, you do want potential employers, recruiters and hiring managers to be able to find you, see your profile and consider you for new jobs.  Therefore, you will first want to ensure your public profile is fully visible in LinkedIn and search engine results. Here’s how:

  • Once signed in to your account, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click on ‘Settings’ in the dropdown menu.
  • Find ‘Profile’ in the bottom section of this ‘Settings’ page and then ‘Privacy Controls’ to the right.
  • Under ‘Privacy Controls’, click on ‘Edit your public profile’.
  • Find ‘Customise Your Public Profile’ on the right-hand side.
  • Select ‘Make my public profile visible to everyone’. Check the boxes for all the profile content you want to allow others to search for and see. Your settings will be saved automatically.

Second, because other LinkedIn users can see who has viewed their profile, you need to consider how you show up here depending on whose profiles you are viewing. If you’re viewing your current co-workers’ profiles to see how they look, you might want to make yourself show up anonymous.  However, if you are looking up recruiters or managers at target companies, you may want to make yourself show up with full information to prompt them to look at your profile. Either way, here’s how:

  • Once signed in to your account, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click on ‘Settings’ in the dropdown menu.
  • Find ‘Profile’ in the bottom section of this ‘Settings’ page and then ‘Privacy Controls’ to the right.
  • Under ‘Privacy Controls’, click on ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile’.
  • Select ‘Your name and headline’ to be fully represented or select ‘You will be totally anonymous’. Click the ‘Save changes’ button.

#7 BE REACHABLE

Not being able to easily contact suitable candidates is amongst one of the top frustrations of hiring professionals. In addition to being found and seen by the right career stakeholders, you will want to make it easy for them to reach out to you.

Start by modifying your contact settings to make it easier for people to find you and to see what types of contact you would welcome. Here’s how:

  • Once signed in to your account, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click on ‘Settings’ in the dropdown menu.
  • Click on ‘Email Preferences’ in the bottom section of this ‘Settings’ page and then find ‘Emails’ to the right.
  • Under ‘Emails’, click on ‘Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive’.
  • First, be sure to select ‘Introductions and InMails Only’.
  • Second, be sure to check the boxes of all the different types of messages you are willing to receive, including ‘Career opportunities’.

BTW: Many switched on job hunters and professionals further increase their accessibility by including their email address and/or phone number in their profile. You can do this by either simply including them in your profile summary, or by clicking on ‘Edit Contact Info’ when editing your profile and adding them there.

Second, don’t forget to allow your fellow group members the opportunity to send you direct messages about new opportunities. Go to the group’s page, click on the ‘More’ tab and click on ‘Your Settings’ in the dropdown menu. Under ‘Contact Settings’, check ‘Allow members of this group to send me messages via LinkedIn’.

Lastly, as mentioned above, if you choose to pay for a premium LinkedIn account, you can leverage other features that allow anyone on LinkedIn to send you a message or job opportunity for free, without an introduction or InMail.

#8 STOP JOB SEARCHING AT WORK  

Again, while this may seem obvious, doing or talking about your job search at work can jeopardise your current employment. There are many employers who like to monitor your activities more than you think, including your email, your voicemail and your internet activity. Here are a few more things to consider:

  • STOP or refrain from telling anyone at work—even closer work friends—that you are seeking employment elsewhere. They can be the first ones you tell when you submit your resignation, but until then, you don’t know how far news like this might spread, so keep it to yourself.
  • STOP or refrain from doing anything related to your job search at work. Not even on your lunch break. Period.
  • STOP including your work contact information in your LinkedIn profile. You should make your contact information available to increase your accessibility, but it should be your personal email address and personal phone number to avoid receiving anything at work you don’t want anyone to see or hear.
  • STOP using your work email address as the primary address on your LinkedIn account. If you do, messages and job opportunities sent via LinkedIn will end up in your inbox at work. Choose a personal email address as your primary account email address to avoid mixing work with your job search activity. Oh and please people, if you are still using Hotmail …. Try something a bit fresher. Use Gmail or at least use the new Hotmail name = @Outlook.com instead

There you have it … 8 simple power tools to job search and protect your privacy.

There are many more ways to launch a thorough and successful job search online without compromising your current employment. Ask us how. We are happy to help!  A little extra caution and attention to detail will ensure your career success and always remember to hunt wisely

Uli

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