Many professionals overlook LinkedIn as a career development and business networking tool, only using the site when they need a job. This presents a challenge when you ultimately do need a network for your job search. Rather than being able to tap a very well-established network, you have to ramp up quickly.
Networking is a key trait of successful professionals. But many think that networking is only for sales people. Networking is crucial to any professional’s personal and career growth. We’re not talking about comparing the number of your “Connections,” but true networking where you have established connections and a relationship with other people.
Does Your Employer Know You’re Looking for a Job
As with the story about the gentleman who left his job after a disagreement over uploading his resume to LinkedIn, many job seekers are concerned that creating or updating their LinkedIn profile -- or any social media profile -- may get them in hot water.
But having an active LinkedIn profile is going to allow you to develop a network that moves with you throughout your career, not just for the times you are looking for your next job.
In Kelly Dingee’s article about using LinkedIn but not tipping off your boss to your job search,
So You Want to Use LinkedIn, she recommends:
1) Turn off your Activity Broadcasts
2) Don’t say you are open for connection for “Career Opportunities”
3) Don’t be too detail oriented
4) Don’t have a public profile
Activity Broadcasts share two things: any changes you make to your LinkedIn profile or who you connect with on LinkedIn. You can share your Activity Broadcasts with just your network, your connections (meaning your 2nd and 3rd degree connections) or everyone. For tips and where to look for your LinkedIn settings, check out this presentation on the ClearedJobs.Net Slideshare channel.
Stay Passive in Your Job Search But Active in Your Networking
If you stay up-to-date on the trends in your industry and like to share information with your network, continue to do so.
And if you update your resume or profile information every several weeks or months with new accomplishments you may want to keep your Activity Broadcasts turned on. It both keeps your information up-to-date and doesn’t raise a red flag that you are starting a job search if it’s a regular activity.
In addition to networking being a benefit to your career development and growth, it can also support recruitment of new employees for your current employer. Employee referral programs are critically important in the security cleared world as a source of new hires.
According to the Career Xroads Sources of Hire study, referrals are in the top three sources of hire for many employers. For cleared facilities employers, the percentage of employees sourced through referrals typically ranges even higher -- between 40-60%.