The Stealth Job Hunt and LinkedIn


Are you an executive on the job hunt, in stealth mode? 

After you have a dynamite executive resume prepared, the next step is of course to get visible out there so you can be easily found by the recruiters and companies that can connect you with the next opportunity. This presents a dilemma: How to be visible to those you want to see you, while keeping your search invisible to others, such as your present employer and co-workers.

The trick is to be findable, without LOOKING like you are looking. Discretion is key, because high stakes are typically involved for the currently employed candidate.

How can you promote yourself discreetly? By getting your target audience to see you through the proper lens, through a profile that emphasizes your brand, while giving the company you work for the limelight and credit. It is especially important that your profile be SEO (Search Engine Optimized)–rich in keywords and phrases on which a recruiter or hiring executive would likely conduct a Boolean search.

A key point to remember is that your LinkedIn profile is NOT an executive resume, and you really do not want to copy and paste your resume content into the summary and background sections.

Why is this so?

Firstly, competitive or sensitive information that may appear in the executive resume needs to be scrubbed from such a highly public document as your LinkedIn profile. Not only could this compromise confidential information and lead to trouble with your present employer, but it might reasonably lead a prospective employer to wonder just how discreet you would be with THEIR company information were you to be hired.

Secondly, your profile needs to be tailored specifically for the professional social media setting, which requires a more personal approach than the resume.

What happens if your current employer sees your new or updated profile and questions it? (The automatic assumption when a profile is updated seems to be that the individual is on the job market.)

The answer is that “LinkedIn is a place to do business, and I maintain a profile and network there to advance company interests–to help land deals and/or make new connections.”

Some things to remember:

* Much as I would love to be connected, it is probably best to postpone that until your job search is completed. Your employer or colleague might reasonably question why you have just connected with an executive resume writer.

* Set “who can see your connections” to “Only You.”

* Turn off activity broadcasts.

* DO NOT display the job search suitcase (LinkedIn’s setting for identifying “active” job seekers).

* If you participate in group discussions, speak to your primary audience (colleagues, industry leaders, clients, etc.). Your secondary audience (recruiters, potential employers) will be smart enough to translate and connect the dots to the potential value you present as that desirable “passive” candidate.