Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Promoting Your Job Search When You're Employed
By ELIZABETH GARONE
Q: How should you go about advertising yourself on LinkedIn when you are already employed? It seems like you wouldn't want to be too overt, since people from your present company are likely to see your posting. Is it OK to note that you are open to job queries?
A: You are right to assume that someone from your company probably will view your profile at some point, so it would be best not to announce that you are actively looking for another job. Luckily, there are ways you can subtly let it be known that you are open to opportunities.
"Your LinkedIn profile is public, which means that everyone has access to it in and out of your company," says Dan Schawbel, author of "Me 2.0" and managing partner at Millennial Branding LLC. "You can, however, be cautious and avoid sending public updates that you want to quit your job or that you hate your manager."
There are ways you can subtly let it be known that you are open to job opportunities.
Unless your company knows that there are extenuating circumstances – such as expected layoffs, you're relocating, or you are seeking opportunities in a different field – you won't want to advertise your availability, says Catherine Ricker, vice president of human resources at Affinity Federal Credit Union in Basking Ridge, N.J. "Colleagues, and possibly your supervisor, are likely to learn of your search, which may send the impression that you are unhappy with your current employer or manager, even if you are not, and cause the employer to question your commitment to the organization," she says.
Instead, use your profile to detail you prior work experience and to emphasize your present job position title, job responsibilities and future career aspirations, suggests Ms. Ricker. "Solicit professional recommendations for posting on your LinkedIn page and direct prospective employers accordingly," she says. She recommends joining groups in your specific field of interest. "Savvy recruiters generally seek out potential candidates through these groups," she says.
When job hunting in "stealth" mode, get comfortable using your account settings, recommends LinkedIn's senior public relations manager, Krista Canfield. For example, many users don't know that they can adjust their settings so that their connections won't be notified each time they update their status or make changes to their profile. "That way, if you suddenly decide to connect to 15 local recruiters, your boss won't notice that these folks have been added to your network via status updates," says Ms. Canfield.
On the flip side, LinkedIn users often forget to indicate that they are interested in career opportunities and that they will accept messages from other members. If you disable these features, you'll be making yourself much harder to contact and could lose out on job opportunities.
Mr. Schawbel recommends approaching your LinkedIn headline as a "positioning statement, detailing what you do and who you do it for." In addition, you'll want to figure out the keywords a recruiter would use to search for people in your desired field and include them as part of your profile. "This way, recruiters will find you, and you'll start getting job queries for positions that you're truly passionate about," says Mr. Schawbel.
"Above everything else, make sure you update and expand your profile," says Ms. Canfield. Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn than those with incomplete profiles, she says.
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