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How to navigate job searches on LinkedIn when you’re still employed

Tribune Content Agency finance logo Tribune Content Agency finance 11/20/2022 Kathleen Furore, Tribune Content Agency
You can still use LinkedIn as a job search tool when you’ re currently working. © Dreamstime/TNS You can still use LinkedIn as a job search tool when you’ re currently working.

DEAR READERS: LinkedIn is a great resource, especially for networking and finding new career opportunities. How should someone handle their LinkedIn activity if they’re looking for a new job but don’t want anyone from their current company to find out?

Linda Pophal, founder of Strategic Communications, helps clients with both traditional and digital marketing efforts, with a focus on LinkedIn’s role. She says it is not only an excellent way to attract clients and business, but also works well for job seekers.

“Job seekers can think of LinkedIn as a search engine, and their goal should be showing up in searches that recruiters, HR pros and hiring managers use to find talent,” she explains.

The trick is to use it in a way that makes you visible to companies who are hiring and not to your current employer and colleagues. Here are some ways Pophal and other career pros suggest doing that:

Update your profile. Incorporating keywords and phrases recruiters would use to find potential employees is key in this step. “Job seekers should consider the type of job they want, the type of expertise recruiters would be looking for to fill that type of job, and then incorporate key words and phrases related to that job/work into their profile from their headline and throughout as much of the content as they can,” Pophal advises.

a woman smiling for the camera: Kathleen Furore © Provided by Tribune Content Agency Kathleen Furore

When updating your profile, be sure to turn off the “notify network” button, stresses Amanda Miller, candidate experience manager at Resume and Career Services. “If it’s on, everyone in your network will be notified, which is not what you want if you’re connected to employers,” Miller says. “And don’t post that you’re looking for a new job.”

Build connections. “The way LinkedIn works when someone does a search is that their search results will be drawn from their own first- and second-degree connections, and members of Groups they’re in,” Pophal explains. “The more connections you have, the higher your likelihood of showing up in a search. If you have no/few connections, even if your profile is well written from a search standpoint, you will not show up in a search.”

Join the maximum number of Groups LinkedIn allows. According to Pophal, that number currently stands at 100. “Choose Groups that have large numbers of members and are relevant to the industry/profession you want to land a job in,” she says, noting that recruiters also are likely to be members of those Groups.

“When joining Groups that may be job search related, select the setting that will not show the Group's logo on your profile page. Only show Group logos that will reflect positively on you from a career standpoint, conveying that you are on top of issues in your field.”

Use LinkedIn’s Cold Connect and InMail features. “Those features let you message recruiters without being a connection,” says Johannes Larsson, an entrepreneur who advises other entrepreneurs on best business practices.

So, how do you cold-connect with someone on LinkedIn?

“Navigate to their profile, click ‘connect’ and add a note,” a blog post from Better Up explains.

InMail messaging is a slightly different story.

According to LinkedIn, InMail messages is a premium feature that allows you to directly message another LinkedIn member you’re not connected to. “If you have a Basic (free) account, then you can only directly message LinkedIn members that you’re connected to. You must upgrade to a Premium account to use InMail messages. You can’t message a member if they’ve chosen not to receive InMail messages in their message preferences settings.”

Don’t turn on #OpenToWork publicly. “By all means, use this amazing tool, but limit it so only recruiters can see it,” Miller stresses.

“With #OpenToWork you have control of who is able to see that you are ready to take on a new opportunity,” information from LinkedIn explains. According to LinkedIn, the choices are: all LinkedIn members or recruiters only.

(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at kfurore@yahoo.com.)

©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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