Many of my clients are hesitant to update their LinkedIn profile because they don't want their current employer to know they are looking for a new position. While this is certainly understandable, it can also be detrimental to their job search in this digital age. So how do we get around it?
Keep LinkedIn up to date all the time. If you use LinkedIn on a regular basis when you are not looking for a new job then nobody will question you when you make changes. A good rule of thumb is to review your profile about once a quarter. But what if you haven't kept up with it?
Check your privacy settings. You don't want LinkedIn to announce every change you make to your profile to your network, yet many professionals do just that. So how do you make sure that doesn't happen? Click on "me" across the top menu bar > choose Settings & Privacy > Choose Privacy > Click on Edit Your Public Profile > then Customize Your Public Profile on the right hand side. You can decide from there at a very detailed level what you will show to non contacts. When you make changes in your profile it will ask you if you want to share profile changes. In most cases, you should select "No".
Stay active on LinkedIn. Again, when you use LinkedIn regularly, periodic changes to your profile won't raise any red flags while massive changes all at one time generally will. Join groups; share articles; if you are a writer, this is a great place to self publish; reach out to old colleagues and ask them how they are doing. LinkedIn is your online network. Make good use of it. One caveat - keep it professional. Religion, politics and family have no place on LinkedIn. Keep those on your personal social media platforms.
So how do you find a job on LinkedIn? Many recruiters will post positions in the news feed so keep an eye out there. LinkedIn also has a great new Jobs app for your phone you can download, and if you are applying on the computer it is even easier. Click on Jobs across the top menu, and start searching. Don't forget to update your settings on the job search page - click "update career interests" and follow the instructions.
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I recently read a Forbes article 5 Things To Do Before Quitting Your Job. Incidentally, Forbes also posted this great quote by Tanya Tarr "If you don't know what truly motivates you, you really don't know what will satisfy you." Generally, by the time I've started working with somebody they have already made the decision to leave their current position. The question we must often tackle is this; where do you want to land? If you can't pinpoint why you want to leave you are likely to find yourself back in the same situation.
The advice in the article referenced above is very similar to the advice I give my job seekers. And that is to figure out why you aren't happy at your current job so you don't repeat the same mistakes. Is it the company culture? The job itself? The industry? The answer is different for everybody.
BREAK IT DOWN
So how do you figure out the right position? Break it down. I suggest starting a "wish list". This list should contain things you would like to see in your next position as well as things you would like to avoid. What tasks do you really enjoy? What tasks do you hope to never do again? What kind of culture makes you happy? How about location? Company size? Travel? Nothing is too silly or too petty to add to this list. Eventually you will see a pattern that will help direct you to the right position in the right organization.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
When you start the search for your next position, step outside of your comfort zone. Traditional job seeking means finding job postings, applying, then waiting to hear back and hoping for the best. The internet has made finding open positions easier, increasing the number of ads we come across each day. Rather than blindly applying for all that seem relevant, spend a few minutes researching the company before applying. Do they appear to be the type of company you want to work for? You won't always find everything you need to know, but it is a good first step.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Focus your time and energy on positions that are a good fit. This applies to the company culture as well as the position itself. It is ok to apply to something if you don't meet 100% of the requested skills (80% is a good rule of thumb), but don't apply for positions you know you wouldn't be happy in.
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
Finally, spend some time networking. Most higher level positions are never posted online. So how do you find out about them? Ask around. Talk to others in your industry. Attend industry events. Research companies that might be a good fit for you and reach out to them.
Take control of your job search and you will find yourself in a better place.