Recruiting can be a dangerous place…judgments can abound.
I’ve written before about past responsibilities I’ve had as a sourcer. During telecom’s peak in 2000, my company proactively searched job boards to retain staff that were testing the waters for new careers. That was a time when a candidate could post a resume and within 24 hours be interviewing or on a plane to a first round face-to-face. The candidate hunt was aggressive.
These days, just creating a LinkedIn profile can get you into trouble as this executive found out.
If you’re going to create a profile on LinkedIn, just for the heck of it, here are some guidelines:
Read the “Settings” section – you can do important things in that section like turning off your activity broadcasts. Why would you do that? Because then everyone you’re connected to will not be aware of who you’ve connected to or updates you’ve made to your profile. Consider yourself in stealth mode.
Don’t say you’re looking for “career opportunities”…. unless you’re an active jobseeker. People, even your trusted workmates, infer what they will. Some recruiters might not contact you if that’s not visible, then others, like me, will still reach out to see if the opportunity I have is something you would consider. Yet, all the while, you’re not jumping up and down with a sign saying “I’m on the market…look at me…look at me!”
Do you want to have a public profile? It’s a consideration. I want you to have one – but that’s me speaking as a sourcer. You don’t have to, and quite honestly I can still view your private profile within LinkedIn. If you do choose to have a public profile – this option is edit-able in “settings” and you can choose how much information you reveal to Joe Sourcer.
Watch your level of detail. A LinkedIn profile screams “I’m on the hunt” when it has the level of detail of a resume. Yes – this flies in the face of what I really want you to do – again – as a sourcer I want you to use every professional keyword you can to describe yourself… but there are alternatives if you’re really just testing the waters. You can embed a link to your resume or link to your blog or an alternate profile site. Something that on the surface looks like a link but with exploration yields more professional information… I’m good with that.
Inputting lots of dates? Be accurate. You never know when someone is going to wonder why your graduation date doesn’t mesh with your resume or you messed up when you were actually laid off.
Tread lightly as you venture on to professional networking sites… look at the full picture and the impact it can have on your career. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there, but you should upload information thoughtfully and not like a bull in a china shop.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.