By Liam Horan, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers (Ballinrobe)
Q: I’m skulking in here with this question. Despite what I say below, my initials aren’t even DG. But you’d never know who might be watching. My question is: how do I start using LinkedIn to get a new job – without my current boss finding out? She’s all over LinkedIn like a rash and she will surely spot me if I start making any sudden moves. I badly need to get out of here and into a rival company because this place is cracking me up. I have a LinkedIn account but I haven’t really kept it up to date. (DG, not, email).
A: I come across this very issue on a reasonably regular basis.
The problem is the ‘sudden move’ you describe. From the perspective of your boss, here’s an employee with a virtually dormant LinkedIn account, and, ta-da, here’s the same person with a buzzing LinkedIn account. If she’s as tuned in to LinkedIn as you say, she may well have suspicions.
LinkedIn have a guide to ‘privately looking for a job’ that you can access here: https://goo.gl/dn4c7C. Read it carefully to see if you can navigate a safe path for yourself – the problem I anticipate for you is that your boss is almost certainly one of your connections.
You can turn off activity feeds so that no-one sees them – but then what’s the point? You want a recruiter for a rival company to spot you – therefore you need to be out there waving your flag.
While no updates are sent out to your network when you for a job on LinkedIn, or through their job-search mobile app, I think you would be better thinking about LinkedIn as a long-term, rather than short-term, solution. Commit to doing one update or change per week for the next four weeks. Keep it small and relatively insignificant: anything dramatic will be noticed by your boss, I’m certain.
Then over a period of time, you can gradually increase your level of activity until your profile is fully formed and relevant to your particular sector.
To explore other options now, you could contact recruitment companies to see if anything is stirring in your field. Are any of your rivals advertising? My feeling is that LinkedIn is not your answer right now but it would be a good idea to start investing some time in it now so that one day, not too far away, it may attract interest from recruiters.
LinkedIn has a series of helpful tips and tools for job-seekers, including a series of job-searching webinars (https://goo.gl/R8Pziz) that range from the LinkedIn basics to the more advanced end of this ever-growing platform.
Speaking of LinkedIn, I have been tracking an interesting discussion on there among career coaches: ‘In ten words or less, what advice do you have for the recent grads entering the workforce?’
Here are some of the replies (yes, one or two do stray over the ten-word limit, before you start counting):
“If there is a mentoring programme, get on it and use it”;
“Follow your interests and don’t fear failure; it teaches”;
“Develop clarity about your goals and work to achieve them”;
“Think new world of work. Arrange skills for next project”;
“Spell check. Show up. Dress the part. Strengthen soft skills”;
…and, in the interests of balance, “be leery of advice you get, if under ten words.”