LinkedIn for Stealth Job Seekers
How to update your LinkedIn profile without looking like you’re launching a job search is somewhat tricky. Most often colleagues, bosses and other connections react to a profile update as, “Oh, did you see Mary’s new LinkedIn profile? She must be looking for a new job.”
Well, when you take the precautionary steps to limit or suppress announcements to changes, and frame your experience as a dedicated and loyal employee, it becomes much easier to take a proactive approach to your career. Today we’re going to discuss just how to do this.
Settings to be a Stealth Job Seeker on LinkedIn
LinkedIn recently gave their settings area a facelift so things are easier to find. I would suggest taking some time to familiarize yourself with all the settings so you know exactly what is being broadcast and how to get the most out of the platform.
The most important setting before making any changes to your profile is "Sharing Profile Edits." You want to make sure this is switched to "No." You can also do this right from your edit profile screen by clicking "No" in the "Notify Your Network?" box (found on the right-hand sidebar).
Next you want to change "Who Can See Your Connections" to only you. This is so people aren’t notified of when you’re making new connections, especially helpful if you are connecting with a potential employer.
The last setting to change is "Profile View Options." You probably want this to be in "Private Mode" or "Private Profile" characteristics, so when you’re researching potential employers on LinkedIn and viewing profiles, no one knows who you are. Beware of this setting, though, if you have the free version of LinkedIn. Being anonymous will erase your viewer history, and you also won’t be able to see who viewed you.
When you’re in stealth job seeking mode, you will have two audiences for your LinkedIn profile — your primary and secondary.
Primary audience members are made up of:
Secondary audience members include:
- Industry leaders
- Past, present and future managers
- Staff or team members
- Board or committee members
Your goal is to write to the primary audience. The secondary audience will be able to read between the lines and interpret what is important to them. So for example, if you are a(n):
- Product Marketer? Talk to the user base and investors will understand.
- Account Manager at an agency? Talk to client needs and recruiters will get it.
- CMO or VP of Marketing? Talk to the target market, add in tidbits on your great workforce, and board members will translate it.
Now that you know the audience you're writing for, you can create content that attracts them and doesn’t look like you are actively pursuing other opportunities.
Let’s talk about your headline first. Even though you may be the marketing manager at Accenture, that doesn’t have to be the only thing in your headline. Instead you can use a keyword-loaded headline, like:
Marketing Manager › Digital Marketing | Lead Generation | Social Media | Content Marketing | Marketing Automation
Or like this:
Marketing Manager at Accenture | Social Media & Demand Generation Marketing Manager | Social Audience Developer
The other option is to write a value statement, and that would look something like this:
Marketing Manager who understands how to mesh clients’ needs with technology to drive growth and transform operations
These headlines speak either to your area of expertise, which is relevant to your current and future employer, or your value, which is relevant to your current clients and future employers.
Your summary section is one of the most important fields in your profile, and it is where the LinkedIn algorithm searches for keywords. So make use of the 2000 characters available to tell your story. For stealth job seekers, you need to frame your story in terms of your current position. Here are a couple of examples of profiles that show value or start off with an interesting story.
Like these examples, you want to tell a story that resonates with your primary audience, and your secondary audience will be able to connect the dots. In the product manager executive summary, the person tells the story of their organization and how they align with that. In the sales and marketing manager example, the author conjures up an image of the product and adds in keywords for her target customer that double as keywords for industries they have experience working with.
The other trick to crafting a summary that doesn’t make you look like an obvious job seeker is to incorporate marketing messaging from your current employer. The summary below demonstrates that for a fictitious marketing agency whose message was about how they move people. Not literally move them, but get people to take action.
In case you’re still feeling stuck on how to position yourself without looking like you’re ready to jump ship, here are some sentence starters to spark your creativity.
Opening paragraph ideas:
- As head of global marketing at ___________, my team and I ____________.
- Many of the world’s ___________ rely on __________ for ______________.
- Since 20xx, _________________.
Internal paragraph ideas:
- With a career centering on direct response marketing ...
- My time at ___________ ...
- Known for __________ ...
Closing paragraph ideas:
- Outside the office ...
- In my spare time, I enjoy ...
- Interested in joining a team that ________ ...
- I always like to hear from _________ ...
For your final closing paragraph of your summary, I always recommend having a call to action. Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool, and your goal is to drive interest in your company. Then if someone does ask why you’ve recently updated your profile (they may happen to notice despite not alerting your connections) you can always fall back on, you were testing out another lead generation tactic.
Buzzwords to Avoid
For the past few years, LinkedIn has published a list of the most often used words in people’s profiles. Their latest list even broke down the words by profession, including marketing.
Now I won’t go as far as to say you should never ever use these words, but if you do, proceed with caution. Make sure you are not just telling how strategic you are, but actually showing how strategic you are. Did you implement a marketing strategy that turned around an underperforming product? Did you lead a strategy that drove significant revenue?
Experience and Other Important Sections
Always remember that LinkedIn is a marketing tool, and not just your online resume. Your experience section should complement your resume, not repeat it. Use the first person and tell why you were hired and show your accomplishments.
As a stealth job seeker, really any job seeker, you do want to be careful about what specific numbers or information you’re allowed to reveal publicly. Leverage the experience section by adding links to relevant videos or PDFs of your work. This helps make your profile more visual too.
Other sections, like projects, publications and volunteering, can be filled out to enhance your profile and call attention to larger team projects. Make sure everything you’re putting in these sections is relevant to your primary audience and you’re not just adding information because you can.
Finally ,one last section I like to call attention to is the Additional Info section. It includes the "Interests," "Personal Details" and "Advice for Contacting" fields. Here is your opportunity to add more keywords and show your human side in the Interests field. I advise clients to write both personal and professional interests. As a marketer, you definitely need to take advantage of the "Advice for Contacting" section. It’s yet another place to put a call to action and promote the benefits of your current employer.
LinkedIn is not just a platform for finding a job. It’s a platform for finding new customers and clients, and as it matures, I believe the stigma of you’ve just updated your profile so you must be job searching will subside. Until then, happy stealth job seeking!
The toughest marketing challenge of all is marketing you, and the purpose of this blog is to help marketing superstars, like you, conquer that challenge and excel in your career.
Passionate about direct marketing and helping people find jobs, Michelle Robin has translated her extensive B-to-B marketing background into a career focused on her true love: creating powerful career marketing documents that lead to interviews at her clients’ target organizations. As Chief Career Brand Officer at Brand Your Career, she works with executive-level sales and marketing professionals across the U.S., and helps them discover their personal brand and fast track their job search.
An award-winning and dual-certified resume writer (NCRW and PARW), Michelle’s work has been published in the book, Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed...Get Hired.
Need help discovering your personal brand? Download Michelle’s free Personal Branding Workbook. Just launching your job search? Get 26 action-packed tips to accelerate your marketing job search. You can also connect with Michelle on Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.