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How to Be Discreet on LinkedIn for Your Job Search

Your LinkedIn profile is prime real estate that will help you get noticed by Recruiters. It could also make or break your job application. But, keep in mind that there’s a right and a wrong way to use this social media platform, especially if you’re in the job search or seeking new opportunities. When you’re looking to switch organizations or positions, it’s so important that you stay discreet so that the transition is as smooth as possible. To do this, you’re probably going to need to keep your current employer out of the loop. Here are three tips that will help you cater your profile to the job search process.

1.     Turn off your activity broadcasts.

When you enter the job search, you’ll likely need to update your experience, skills, and ask for recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. If your activity broadcasts are on, LinkedIn will send continuous updates about changes made to your profile to your connections. Also, when you add a new connection, all of your past connections will be able to see this update. This means that if you connect to a Recruiter, your employer will take note. If you know that you are going to be actively networking and connecting with new contacts, be discreet and turn off your activity broadcast. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Hover your mouse over your picture in the top right hand corner of the ‘Home’ Screen
  2. Click: ‘Privacy & Settings’
  3. Under ‘Privacy Controls’, Click: ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’
  4. Ensure that the box is unchecked
  5. Click: ‘Save changes’

Besides turning off any of your profile updates, this also turns off recommendations you give, companies you follow and new connections you added. However, if you update your photo, this update will be shown and cannot be turned off. Personally, I recommend keeping this turned off at all times.

2.     Select who can see your activity feed.

Your activity feed displays action you’ve performed on LinkedIn. You can choose who gets to see it:

  • Everyone (Public) – this means even if someone is not connected to you can see your updates
  • Your Network – your connections plus members in your Groups
  • Your Connections – only your first first degree connections. If your post gets shared or liked, their connections will see it
  • Only You

Here’s how to do make the change:

  1. Hover your mouse over your picture in the top right hand corner of the ‘Home’ Screen
  2. Click: ‘Privacy & Settings’
  3. Under ‘Privacy Controls’, Click: ‘Select who can see your activity feed’
  4. Select ‘Everyone’ or ‘Your Network’ or ‘Your Connections’ or ‘Only you’ from the drop-down menu
  5. Click ‘Save changes’

Note: By selecting only you, people will not see links you shared, groups you joined, profile updated, companies you followed, new connections you added.

3.     Select who can see your connections.

Everyone should do this, regardless of whether they are in the job search or not. By default, anyone who connects with you is able to see your entire network. You should want to protect your network and be discreet in case your employer notices that you are connecting with multiple people from a target organization. To do this:

  1. Hover your mouse over your picture in the top right hand corner of the ‘Home’ Screen
  2. Click: ‘Privacy & Settings’
  3. Under ‘Privacy Controls’, Click: ‘Select who can see your connections’
  4. Select ‘Only you’ from the drop-down menu
  5. Click ‘Save changes’

4. Select what others can see when you view their profile.

If you’re doing research on other professionals to get a better sense of their career paths, backgrounds, and how they got to where they are, you may want to be discreet. Every time you visit someone’s profile while you are on standard LinkedIn settings, that person will be able to see who you are and have access to your profile. If you want to make yourself anonymous, here’s how:

  1. Hover your mouse over your picture in the top right hand corner of the ‘Home’ Screen
  2. Click: ‘Privacy & Settings’
  3. Under ‘Privacy Controls’ click ‘Select what others can see when you’ve viewed their profile’
  4. Select ‘You will be totally anonymous’
  5. Click ‘Save changes’

Keep in mind that when you disable this function,  you’ll no longer be able to see the names of who viewed your profile. It’s a trade-off, but you can always choose to be discreet while you’re searching and then revert back to standard settings afterwards.

What are your preferred LinkedIn settings? Tell us about the ways that you have customized your privacy settings in the comment section.

Diana YK Chan

Career Coach & Job Search Advisor ???? I help you navigate change & stand out to get hired | Career Clarity | Personal Branding | Resume | LinkedIn | Networking | Interviews | ex-Recruiter

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Greg

    Although I have turned off my LinkedIn activity broadcasts, set my activity feed and connections so only I can view them, people in my network continue to receive notices (on their LinkedIn home page) eery time I make a new connection. Is this a new “feature” or an error in LinkedIn? How can I disable this?

    1. Diana

      To turn off that feature, you need to go to “Select Who Can See Your Activity Feed” and choose “Only You”. People will still see your status update/ posts you share though.

    2. Jonathan

      Greg, if you don’t want your network to be notified when you connect with someone, then you have to hide your connections. If you decide to show your connections, your network will always be notified whenever you connect with someone new.

      Turning off your activity feed will prevent others from seeing updates you make on your profile or when you decide to a follow a new company. But turning off your activity feed won’t stop your network from being notified when you connect someone new. For that, you have to hide your connections and your network will never be notified again when you connect with someone.

      Keep in mind that some people don’t like to be connected with people who hide their contacts because in their opinion it takes away the “give and take” purpose that LinkedIn represents. So if you decide to hide your connections, you can expect a good 1% of your existing contacts to disconnect from you once they found out you’ve hidden your connections.

  2. Jonathan

    Great artice. However there’s a small a mistake in it. Turning off your activity feed has nothing to do with the notice that goes out to your network when you connect with somone new. Instead, that notice has to do with if you chose to show or hide your connections. If you choose to show your connections, a notice will go to your network when you connect with someone new and likewise if you choose to hide your connections, your network won’t be notified when you connect with someone regardless whether you decided to turn on or to turn off your activity feed,

    1. Diana

      Thanks Jonathan! I checked with LinkedIn Support and they suggested to turn BOTH activity broadcast and the connections option off in order to work.

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