The other day I got a LinkedIn update from Brian M. He got promoted! Brian worked for me at my last job and I know the promotion was one he really wanted. So I sent him a quick email congratulating him on his promotion.
He responded a little while later saying he appreciate my congratulations. The promotion happened months ago and he enjoyed the new job. He was getting a lot of notes congratulating him on the promotion. He didn’t understand how everyone knew.
I probed a bit because I thought this was a teachable moment. Turns out, as I expected, Brian had just updated his LinkedIn profile with his new job title and responsibilities.
In talking to clients and friends it is clear that, like Brian, many people do not realize that when you update your profile, LinkedIn automatically sends the new information out to all your contacts. These are called “activity broadcasts”.
This has advantages and disadvantages.
- It is an easy way to stay in touch and let your friends and colleagues know what is going on in your career.
- Make sure you keep your profile updated so you always present the best possible “you” to the LinkedIn world.
- You might be connected to your boss and colleagues. They will receive notifications that you are making updates to your profile and they might ask questions. This kind of automatic update can be a problem if you are conducting a confidential job search.
Here are some tips to keep your job search confidential while updating your LinkedIn profile and searching for a job:
- Do not say “seeking a new job” or words to that effect in your profile. You can still look for jobs. Make your profile reflect your current role as if you are a competent, talented employee proud of your current role.
- Join LinkedIn Groups directly related to the job you currently hold. Post questions or make responses in those groups related to work you are currently performing. In this way you can say that you are using LinkedIn for work. You can point to all sorts of interesting knowledge you are collecting that make you a stronger performer in your current job. This provides cover for your increased LinkedIn activity.
- When you join LinkedIn Groups related to your job search, like “Exec Jobs – NE Ohio”, be sure you mark them as “confidential” so these groups do not appear in your public profile. In that Group, click on “More”, then “Settings”, then uncheck the box that says “Display the group logo on your profile”. Now your membership in that group will be more confidential!
- You can turn off your activity broadcasts all together, at least while you update your profile. Click on “Settings” under your name on the top right hand side of the profile page. Click “Turn on/off your activities broadcasts. You find this under “Privacy” in the center of the page. Click to uncheck the box, “Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies”. Then click “Save”. Then you can proceed to change your profile. When you want to make your new profile public, then you go in and check the box so people will see your regular activity. By then all your changes will be made.
LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to build relationships and network. Learn to use it to share your talents and experience with others in a way that enhances your career.