More than half a billion people are members of LinkedIn, the professional networking site, and the chances are good that you’re one of them.
LinkedIn has been liked to “Facebook for work,” and in a sense, there is great truth to that statement. Users are able to include their resumes, work experience, skills, talents, education, and relevant licenses or certifications in their chosen field. Creating a LinkedIn profile is a fantastic way to stay up to date with former and current coworkers, key contacts in your industry, to archive and publicize your skill set, join industry interest groups to remain abreast of trends, and to find both freelance and regular employment. It’s the Internet’s number one professional networking tool, and just about everyone who is actively working in any field keeps their LinkedIn profile current.
In fact, a 2014 Jobvite survey reported that 94% of recruiters surveyed who are on social media used LinkedIn to vet potential candidates. This number only continues to grow each year.
What’s more, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner recently stated that there were more than 6.5 million jobs listed on the site, making Linkedin an essential tool for job hunting and professional networking.
The problem is that when you’re looking for a job, you’re likely making a lot of changes to your LinkedIn profile in a short period of time, notifying all of your contacts every time you make a change.
Over-Notifying Your Contacts
Many LinkedIn users don’t realize that most of their key profile changes are broadcast to all of their connections. At best, this is annoying – if you’re in the midst of a major LinkedIn revamp, but editing in bits and chunks, then your connections are constantly getting notifications and, while visibility is generally good when it comes to networking, there can be too much of a good thing. Nobody wants to read about the seventeen successive one-word changes you made to your work history, or watch as you unsuccessfully audition a variety of user pictures.
At worst, however, this could be problematic. Let’s say you’re not satisfied with your current position and you want to discreetly reach out to some recruiters or contacts and see what your options are. First thing on the agenda is to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and in squeaky-clean condition for your job hunt. In particular, you’ll want to update your work history. If you are connected on LinkedIn with your boss and all of your coworkers, they will recdeive notifications of these updates, and as soon as they see you start fiddling with your work history, their immediate assumption is going to be that you are planning a move. Even if you’re just updating your information to stay current, it’s best to keep these changes low key and not annoy your contacts.
What Notifications Go Out
Your connections will receive notifications for nearly anything of note that you change on your profile, including changes to your job title, education, and profile picture. However, your connects will also be notified if you follow a company on LinkedIn or when you make recommendations. Thankfully, all of this sharing can be turned on and off with one simple change to your settings.
It’s important to note that the following directions will not prevent connections from seeing your endorsements or your connections with other people. If you’d like to keep those things private, you’ll need to do so separately.
Update Your Profile Without Notifying Connections
The following simple steps ensure that you aren’t spamming all of your contacts as you update your LinkedIn information.
1. Click on your Me photo icon in the upper right side of your LinkedIn profile, between Messaging and Work
2. Select Settings & Privacy under Account
3. Click the Privacy tab.
4. Scroll down to the How others see your LinkedIn Activity section
5. Click on Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from profile then toggle the Yes/No button to No
Now you can make all the changes you need in order to hunt for that perfect job without having to worry about who is watching! Note that after you have everything up to date, you may want to turn LinkedIn Profile edit sharing back on.
But what if you really don’t mind broadcasting that you’re looking for a new gig? As we mentioned earlier, some notifications are perfectly fine- it’s that ping after ping of updates that gets old, quickly.
One way to let people know that you are on the prowl for ideal employment is to turn off notifications until you are 99% done updating your profile and ready to start the job search. Then turn profile updates on again. Make a final significant change or two that announces to your contacts not only that you have changed your LinkedIn profile, but in effect lets them know you are looking for a job. Your contacts and then prospective employers will then get to visit not a profile that’s a “work in progress” but a polished new profile that’s likely to help you land a new job.
For a LinkedIn primer, check out What is LinkedIn?
How has using LinkedIn helped you in your career? Comment below and share some success- or horror- stories to help other readers gain insight on what this network can do towards your dreams and goals!