Did you know that 93% of companies use LinkedIn to recruit new employees? You heard that right. Every day recruiters spend countless hours scouring profiles on the site in search of great candidates to hire.
Needless to say, whether you’re an active candidate (“I can’t stand another minute of my job”) or a passive candidate (“I’d leave, but the role would have to be amazing”), you want a presence on the platform.
But how do you start preparing for your next move without letting your co-workers know? If your boss finds out you’re looking for a new job, you risk damaging your relationship, consequently, missing out on key projects, or worst-case scenario: losing your job. While many companies wouldn’t react so harshly to the information that one of its employees was job searching, you’d be wise to keep your intentions under wraps, if only for the sake of avoiding any awkwardness with your team.
Here are four concrete steps you can take to get your profile recruiter ready without letting anyone at your company know what you’re up to.
Step 1: Shut Off Profile-Edit Notifications
Let’s say you’ve finally decided you’re done with your current job and it’s time to start looking for a new position. You furiously make dozens of edits to your profile, which your existing connections (including your boss and other colleagues) then see all over their own news’ feeds. You’ve basically just advertised that you’re open to new opportunities. You might as well have tweeted that you’re looking to make a career move.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this problem. Before making any changes to your page, go to Settings & Privacy, then scroll to the “How others see your LinkedIn activity” section and make sure that you’ve switched off the button under “Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from profile.”
My recommendation is to always keep profile-edit notifications off. Unless you’ve recently changed jobs and want people in your network to be notified, there’s really no good reason to have it on.
Step 2: Create an All-Star Profile
With your notifications shut off, it’s time to start working on your profile. Having a complete or “All-Star”-rated one is important because professionals who have this rating are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
The following seven elements are key to getting this rating:
- Industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (with a description)
- Two past positions
- Skills (minimum of three)
- Profile photo
- At least 50 connections
Filling in these fields is only the first step, but it’s a good one because only 51% of members have a completed profile. Once you cut out roughly half the competition, you can separate yourself from the pack by following these 10 steps to scoring that coveted rating.
Step 3: Understand How Recruiters Use LinkedIn
As you update your profile, you should understand how recruiters use the platform to find potential candidates. It begins with a Boolean search (essentially a Google-like search that combines keywords with operators such as “and,” “not,” and “or” to produce relevant results). So, to be found by the right people, make sure the keywords they’re searching for are included in your profile. Here’s how to do it:
- Review three or four job postings you’d consider applying for in the near future.
- Identify the keywords that are consistent through each job posting.
- Sprinkle those keywords throughout your profile. Consider including them in your headline, summary, experience, education, and skills.
Of course, make sure that the keywords you’re including actually match your skills and abilities!
In addition to searching by keywords, recruiters are looking for evidence that you’re a top performer. You can signal this by getting recommendations for your experience and sharing key accomplishments from your current and past jobs. And whenever possible, quantify your work. Sharing the cost savings of your project, the number of people you managed, or the amount of sales you drove will show recruiters your direct impact.
Step 4: Share Your Career Interests with Recruiters
Have you ever wanted to let certain companies know you’re looking for a job without broadcasting your status to your entire professional network? Well, now you can. LinkedIn recently rolled out a feature that lets you privately tell recruiters you’re seeking a new opportunity. Here’s how it works:
- On the homepage, click “Jobs” in the navigation bar at the top.
- Select “Career interests” from the top banner that appears.
- From there, you can highlight what you’re looking for in your next job, including:
- Job titles
- Job types
- Finally, toggle right to turn on the button next to “Let recruiters know you’re open.”
Once you’ve opted in, recruiters will be able to see your career interests for 180 days. And when the time expires, if you’re still looking for a new job and trying to connect with hiring managers, you can opt back in.
But what about privacy you ask? Good news—only recruiters who use LinkedIn's Recruiter product can access this data; the professional platform will take steps to hide your info from everyone at your company (though it doesn’t guarantee complete privacy).
Whether you’re anxiously looking for your next job or passively keeping a pulse on potential opportunities, you’d be wise to avoid tipping off your current employer. Take action today by following the four steps I’ve outlined, and you’ll not only keep your situation with your boss and co-workers comfortable, but you’ll also catch the eye of recruiters looking to fill positions that are a match for you.