How to Use LinkedIn for Job Search Without Tipping Off Your Current Employer

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%.

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Vanessa Vogel

Thanks for the information. I am now going to be more active with my linkedIn account that I created but have done very little with. Interesting fact that a majority of the people hired are through referrals. These days you have to know someone to get and I agree, LinkedIn is a great way to do that.

Kathleen Smith

You are quite welcome Vanessa. Referrals have been a part of career search for more than 20 years when you think back to the hey day of the internet hiring frenzies of the 90’s when referral bonuses really got quite high. There are referral bonuses around these days but not as well advertised.

When looking to be referred by someone LinkedIn and GovLoop are both great for that and is another good reason to keep your networking going throughout your career, not just when you are looking for the next opportunity.

In many recent studies on how employers find their talent – referrals and job boards were the top two “sources of hire” for many employers. While social media is the rage in some sectors, you do have to build a multi channel approach to career search and development.

Stephen Peteritas

While there is a small fraction of people who are constantly active on linkedin (I like going throw all the connection suggestions, it’s creepy yet amazingly entertaining for me) My general thought is that if your activity on linkedin spikes, you’re looking for a job. Honestly if I was a manager or HR person I would monitor the activity of employees on linkedin.

Kathleen Smith

Yes Connection suggestions are interesting and why the algorithm picked those people is always fascinating. The other challenge with this is that there are many new tools like Bullhorn that will report people’s activities. When I get my report each week on people’s activity in my network, I am amazed at how many folks are reported as looking for a job when I know they are just being good active networkers. One of the fallacies of making social media tools to ease the job of recruiting is that rather than reporting good information it reports false even damaging information.

As to HR monitoring LinkedIn, I think this should be an engagement activity to make sure all employees are being brand ambassadors of the company rather than “monitoring” their activity.