Linkedin is a great networking tool that grew as a way for business individuals to connect. Individuals is the key word there. These connections were used to develop relationships for new business opportunities and, more often, to gain leads on new jobs.
While it has grown some to be a more robust networking and professional resource for information, access to questions and ideas, and to promote new business ideas, it is still the biggest resource for connecting with new job opportunities.
Your boss knows that.
You may not be connected directly to your boss, but chances are, you are connected through some layers. That’s the nature of the extended network, through groups, second level contacts, companies you follow, and more.
You’ve heard enough on the news and in briefings about how companies check out social media activity of potential hires, but they also watch their employees. And any good company would know to watch their employees behavior on Linkedin, to see if they are looking for other jobs. Companies need to prepare for any upcoming openings, and also can judge employee sentiment through this activity.
Some also stalk. Even if you’re not directly connected.
Your Activity, Your Connections
Your activity is by default, viewable to your network. That includes people you are not directly connected to. That means the following is viewable:
- Who you connect with.
- What you update on your profile.
- When you answer a question.
- When you post to a group.
- When you follow a company.
- When you follow an industry.
- When you get or give a recommendation.
All of this is readily viewable, and picking the time of day to “hide” your activity, say, while the boss or other “spies” are not in the office, doesn’t work.
- News feeds are always available and can be scrolled throughout the day.
- News feeds can be sorted by your current company.
So basically that means your boss, company HR person, or company “spy” can go on at any time, select their updates to show only those in the company you work for, and voila. Your activity connecting to a competitor HR department is plainly visible.
So what to do?
To protect what others can see you will need to change your profile settings. When you are logged into Linkedin drop down the menu under your name and select settings. The default selection will be profile and you’ll see Privacy Controls
- Click on Turn on/off yiur activity broadcasts. Make sure that’s off.
- Select who can see your activity feed. Select only you.
- Select who can see your connections. Select only you.
- Select Show/Hide “Viewers of this profile …” and select hide.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Regardless of your settings, you have to consider the settings of those you connect with. Their activity, specifically as it relates to your activity (connecting, commenting in groups, or answering questions) may be visible to THEIR connections, which of course may include some of yours.
For instance: you connect with a recruiter and your activity will not appear to those you work with, but the recruiter’s might, if they’re connected!
Those are the key ones, but while there you might want to poke around and see what other options are there, and take a few moments to decide what you want public, and how you want to receive updates.
One other tip – do NOT use your current work email as one of your contact emails if you are seeking a new job! In fact, remove any work emails you have associated with your profile in these circumstances.
If you are openly seeking another position, then by all means you will probably want your activity visible. But a strong recommendation is to keep your activity turned off until while you are building and/or overhauling your profile. This will allow you to make updates and see how they appear, without every update broadcasting all over the news feeds of others.