Monday, September 23, 2013

The Stealth Job Search: How to Job Hunt Privately on LinkedIn

Lindsey Pollak

One of the benefits of being a LinkedIn member is the opportunity to create a public professional presence. Your profile is a great place to highlight your marketable skills and is your vehicle for getting found by recruiters and hiring managers all over the world.

But, what if you need your job search to stay confidential, perhaps because you are currently employed? Never fear! I’ve got you covered, and rest assured there are still many ways to attract attention, tap your network and connect with recruiters on LinkedIn while maintaining your privacy. Here’s how.

1. Hide your activity updates
Activity Updates
One way to become more findable by recruiters is to add keywords and phrases to your LinkedIn profile that are relevant to the jobs you seek. However, frequent or abundant changes to your profile may indicate to others that you are considering making a move. To minimize the likelihood that your connections will notice your profile improvements, head over to your Privacy & Settings area, which you can find by clicking on your headshot in the top right corner of LinkedIn, and click on the “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts” link. Uncheck the box that pops up here so your connections will no longer receive updates about changes to your profile or other actions you take on LinkedIn, such as posting in a Group discussion.

While you are keeping your activity private, you can still have visibility to recruiters and networking contacts. One way to attract positive attention while keeping your job search private is to regularly update your status. Post interesting articles related to your industry if you are job hunting in your current field or, if you are are a career changer, post articles and updates about general topics such as leadership, communication or technology trends.

2. Remain private while viewing others’ profiles
Remain Private
Whether your job hunt is public or private, I recommend exploring the LinkedIn profiles of people you admire professionally. Looking at those individuals’ profiles can give you a sense of what experiences, skills and groups could be most valuable to your own career. If you find someone you particularly admire — ideally someone with no connection to your current employer — you might even reach out to that person through an InMail to express your admiration and ask if that person might be willing to share some career advice with you.

However, if you are viewing the profiles of people who know your employer, and you are concerned they will discover you’ve viewed their profiles often and connect back with your boss about it, you have options. In the same Privacy & Settings area, click on the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” link. Here you can change the way you appear in others’ “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” area so that you will remain anonymous. Note: Unless you are a Job Seeker Premium subscriber, when you switch to an anonymous status you will no longer be able to track “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” and Profile Stats for yourself, so carefully consider this option and switch out of it as soon as your research is done.

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