On Facebook my colleague and well-respected career expert Susan Whitcomb asked if there was a way to block people from seeing updates in LinkedIn. The typical scenerio is that someone starts a job search, and wants to NOT broadcast that to their network. They might update their resume, post an “update” on the homepage, participate in groups, etc…. how do you block individuals from seeing what you are doing?
The short answer is, YOU CANNOT.
This question about privacy reminds me of my IT security professor back in the 90′s who said that if you want or expect any privacy, UNPLUG your computer from the internet. Period.
You really shouldn’t have any assumption or expectation of privacy online, ever.
In LinkedIn, there aren’t any foolproof ways to shut people out of what you are doing. In fact, you can’t even do that in Facebook.
Let me give you an example. Facebook has more refined personal privacy options than LinkedIn does, partially because of what Facebook is for and what LinkedIn is for. Anyway, even with the very tight privacy settings in Facebook, it’s possible to *think* you are ranting privately, and you kind of are. But what if one of your “friends” shares your rant with someone you mutually know, who you have blocked?
The rant isn’t so private anymore, is it?
What if they take a screenshot of your rant and post it on a blog?
Not private at all, huh?
You can have all the locks in place, but as long as humans are involved, there is potential for social engineering, which means that your update you thought was private is now shared in the lunchroom and boardrooms of your current company.
Are there security options in LinkedIn to block? Kind of.
Should you trust them? Only if… well, actually, NO. NEVER.
But what if you aren’t connected with anyone at your company?
Um… let me explain how LinkedIn works: it doesn’t matter!
They can go to LinkedIn and still see some (most) of your stuff. They can also do a search on Google and find some (most) of your stuff. LinkedIn, by it’s nature, is a place to find and be found, to be visible, to share your brand, experience, etc. It’s not a place to hide stuff. That’s what a diary is for (you know, the book you write stuff in, and it’s not connected to the Internet!?).
Like I said, there are some technical privacy tools in place, kind of … BUT none of those matter as long as ANYONE in your network might share what you posted with their contacts… who just might be your boss you are trying to hide from.
Last week I was out of the office all week. Two weeks earlier I was out for an entire week. I was at camps with my kids and really didn’t have access to anything online.
I dutifully set up my “out of office” messages in my two main email systems, knowing that anyone who sent me an email would have known that I would take a few days to get back to them. Unfortunately, I got a number of messages through LinkedIn’s messaging system… and those people didn’t get any message to let them know I was unavailable.
They just got radio silence. Sounds an awful lot like being ignored. Or that I don’t care to respond.
LinkedIn is cool, for sure. But it’s not the only tool you should use. Use email, or the phone, but don’t solely message people through LinkedIn.
If you don’t know someone’s email address, GET IT. If you have it, USE IT.
The other reason I suggest you don’t use LinkedIn for primary or important messaging (if you aren’t doing important messaging, don’t send the message!) is because messages from LinkedIn don’t get in front of me very often. A while back Google (Gmail) decided they needed to sift my email into three groups (they could have just named tabs 2 and 3 SPAM, right?):
Guess where I spend most of my time?
The “Primary” box.
Guess where your LinkedIn message goes?
NOT the “Primary” box.
Don’t use Gmail, so that’s not an issue? I suggest you check out your spam or junk folder, and see how many LinkedIn messages are in there. That should be proof enough that you shouldn’t depend on LinkedIn for sending messages.
Want to get on my radar? EMAIL ME directly.
Sending me a message through LinkedIn is a gamble.
This question comes up all the time when I do presentations on LinkedIn. There are a few different options, depending on the message you want to give (“I need your help…!” OR “I have expertise in this, and oh yeah, I might be open to looking at other opportunities” and everything in-between).
Recently I was talking to Nick Jenkins, a senior operations manager based out of Austin, Texas. Nick has deep experience with the telecom industry but, as we were talking, he was explaining his passion to move to a few other industries (still within technology), including mobile stuff, cloud computing, etc. Nick likes being in the leading edge tech space, which is what he navigated over the last 15 years in telecom.
As we were talking I had a thought: Your LinkedIn profile tells me you are actively looking, but nothing in your profile tells me you are not married to the telecom industry. In fact, everything there indicates you kind of want to stay there. What if you let me know you are open to non-telecom stuff?
I shared this idea with Nick and here’s what he changed to clarify his position (being available for new opportunities, and what he is open to). I think this is the best way to communicate this stuff.
First, the Professional Headline. Nick’s main message here is “I’m a professional! Here are my passions and what I bring to the table!” Instead of focusing on “I’m looking for new work,” which is NOT his brand, he focuses on what he wants you to think of when you think about him.
Next, the Current Title. He makes it very clear that he is actively looking.
Now, when I got on the phone with him, this was all that he had done. I listened to what he was looking for, and open to, and then I compared that with his profile… and therein was the problem: Without having a conversation with him to know he was looking for a career even outside of telecom (or inside of telecom, but not limited to telecom), you probably wouldn’t know that he was open to it. I suggested that he use the job experience are and tell people more about what he is looking for. His summary is the typical “here are my strengths,”… but nowhere did he say “I’m open to non-telecom opportunities.”
The takeaway for me was that I assumed, based on his profile, something that was wrong. After talking with him I understood more, and I encouraged him to share that on his Profile (to remove bad assumptions).
I challenge you to state what you do or want to do, and then read through your profile and see if they are aligned.
This is from July 2010, on my LinkedIn blog. It is a really short post about that uber-important branding statement next to your picture on your LinkedIn Profile.
The post took a life of it’s own when people started asking for feedback on their headlines. Fortunately, Peter Osborne jumped in to respond to people… I finally had to close the comments before it became a full-time job!
Here’s the post - click hereto read the excellent comments:
I came across Håkan’s LinkedIn Profile and I LOVE something he is doing with the formatting. What he is doing gets around something that bugs a lot of people…. they want real bullet-point formatting!
Alas, for the last many years, and even today, LinkedIn doesn’t allow hardly any formatting in the long description areas. But check out what Hakan has done:
In #1… how did he get that bullet? In #2, how did he make the lines below the bullet indent, the way that bullets are supposed to?
Very, very simple. I blogged about it on my LinkedIn blog here. Scroll down on my profile and you’ll see a bunch of bullet icons you can copy, and then paste to your own Profile.
Okay, so we got that, right? How do you make the line below indent to the correct place?
You simple put enough spaces in. Really. You “hard code” spaces in. With your space bar.
If I mouse over and select the space from the left of the page to where the line starts, I can see there are individual spaces there. There are 5 spaces before a bullet point and 8 spaces before each line under a bullet.
It’s that simple… but the results really stand out, and are easier to read.
This entire profile also works because Håkan uses the underscore (_______) to make visual line separators throughout his profile, which makes it easier to read.
He’s put a lot of effort into his profile, from content to formatting, and it clearly shows. Great job Håkan! Click on the image below to see his entire profile:
Lisa Rangel is a career coach who I’ve met, had conversations with, exchanged emails, and trained in my webinars. I trust her. One week from today she is hosting this free webinar titled How to Double, And Even Triple Your Job Leads Using LinkedIn. You have nothing to lose, and hopefully will pick up some great ideas. Here’s her list of things she says you can learn:
Why the profile you currently have is costing you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, and what you need to do to fix it.
4 little known and often misunderstood ways to find leads and opportunity using LinkedIn.
9 proven techniques for making your LinkedIn profile attract the exact type of job you want.
7 actions you must take if you want to be found by your target audience/hiring manager.
How to create your own custom target list of the exact people you want to hire you.
The one feature of LinkedIn everyone should use to manage their career, but hardly anyone knows about.
Well, I finally did it – I finished the recordings for the fourth edition of LinkedIn for Job Seekers. This edition will be streaming only, which will cut the cost down on producing DVDs as well as make it easier for me to do updates.
The most apparent change in this series is the layout change. The third edition is, I think, almost two years old, and there have been a lot of changes to LinkedIn’s layout. The most notable would be the header/menu, which has significantly been pared down (some of the favorite things are missing ), and the huge, massive overhaul to the LinkedIn Profile.
Functionally, the biggest change would be the absence of LinkedIn Answers, which for many years had been my #1 favorite feature. Most of the functionality that you found in Answers can be done in Groups, but not as easily, and perhaps not as effectively. We go into that.
There were other functional changes… most of which had to do with stuff either disappearing completely or moving from a free to a premium feature. I have a free account and focus on helping you get more value from the free account.
In this video series, which is appropriate for job seekers as well as business owners (who probably feel like job seekers every morning!), I want you to learn out to OPTIMIZE.
Optimize your chance to be found when someone is searching for you – this has to do with your Profile, and somewhat what Groups you (a) are in and (b) participate in.
Optimize how you share your brand – what message are you sharing, where, how often, etc.
Optimize your Profile, and the messaging you give there. I was finally inspired to update my Profile (which is a fluid, changing project) and made some really important enhancements.
Optimize your results – we’re on LinkedIn for a reason, right? Make sure you understand that reason and work towards that reason, instead of just being there because everyone else is. I’m not about herd mentality… I want you to purposefully seek, and get, value.
The cost of this training is $50. You have access to it as long as you wish. I ask that you do not share access with others, and you don’t show it in “public settings,” like at a university. However, if you want to show a video or two at a job club, feel free to do that.
Finally, did you know we’ve been working hard on enhancing JibberJobber and making it more value-add to you? Not only have we added new functionality, and cleaned up some stuff, we dropped the price of the optional premium level by 40%… to $60. If you are interested in the awesome premium features (including the oh-so-useful Email2Log feature), you can get both the 12 month upgrade and the LinkedIn video series for only $99.
Let me know if you have any questions, and if you want me to add any other trainings into the LinkedIn series.