How to look for a new job on LinkedIn – without telling your boss

It may sour relations with them, or even lead to repercussions

If you’re in employment already but are looking for another job, you won’t want your current employers to find out. You don’t want your boss to decide she won’t give you that promotion, after all, because you’re probably going to leave them soon.

Of course, one big part of a job seeker’s arsenal in this technological age is the use of social media. Putting out feelers, letting it be known you are available and promoting your skills and experience can be widely achieved through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So it is wise to become experts in all of these outlets.

Ah… LinkedIn. When wishing to promote yourself on this popular business social media site, you may encounter a few difficulties relating to your current employer’s social media policy. Whereas most social media sites are personal, your Twitter account is your own for example, and your firm has no say in what is posted there, as long as you don’t make a habit of running down your colleagues, LinkedIn, being basically a platform for businesses, may be subject to tighter controls.

The first thing to do is establish whether or not your employer has a social media policy in place, and exactly what it entails. You will probably be able to do this without alerting your boss to the fact you are looking for another job.

Some firms, for example, allow you to list only certain basic information on your profile and not comprehensive details about your achievements. So you may be able to say you helped grow sales, but not by how much. This is in order to stop you revealing confidential information about company policies and projects to the wider public. However, when you are looking for a new position you may want to include such details on your profile so headhunters can find you. So just how can you use LinkedIn without annoying your present company?

There are several things you can do. One is to make sure you’ve completed your profile in full, fleshing out all the sections with relevant information about your skills and experience, even if it’s kept general. Use your older job descriptions to detail similar successes to your latest ones, so you’re using the keywords which recruiters may be searching for.

Use every section of the profile, even the Interests one, to list something which may be of interest to a recruiter. Saying you like reading and walking the dog is not good enough – get creative.

Secondly, you need to become active, using the platform to promote your business interests and skills through liking, sharing and commenting on relevant topics. Stick to professional issues, and make insightful comments on topics of interest. This will make you stand out from the crowd.

Last, but by no means least, use LinkedIn to promote links to your other social media platforms, where you can detail your successes more openly. Again, check your firm’s social media policy to make sure you are not going to antagonise HR. If it’s relevant, you could even write an independent blog on topics of interest to people in your profession.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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