How to successfully job hunt on LinkedIn without people knowing.


Something like 90% of my c-suite and senior-level executive clients need to keep their job search under wraps. They’re still employed, but looking to move on for various reasons.

They can’t broadcast that they’re actively seeking opportunities . . . on LinkedIn . . . or anywhere online . . . or to too many people.

But, they’ll probably need to add to, or change, the content in their LinkedIn profile to position themselves as good-fit candidates for their target employers. And they’ll need to ramp up their activity on LinkedIn.

Accomplishing this, while staying undercover, doesn’t pose a major challenge, but it does require stealthy strategy, and an understanding of how LinkedIn works.

Be prepared if people become suspicious.

First, it needs to be stressed that, no matter how many safeguards you put in place, some people may notice if you’re making changes to your profile to gear up for job search, and suspect what you’re up to. I advise my clients to have a ready answer, in case people ask. Saying something like this should suffice,

“I haven’t updated my profile in a long time. I wanted to better position the value our company offers, and the value my team and I bring to the table.”

The key here is to be sure that all the content in your profile, and all of your LinkedIn activities, support your employer, and yourself as an employee of that company or organization. Luckily, this strategy will also support, and provide evidence, of the value you offer your target employers.

Something obvious I’ll mention anyway – Don’t post updates (this is different from “updating” your profile content) about what kind of position you’re seeking, or note anywhere on your profile that you’re “seeking . . .” or “looking for . . .”

5 Ways to Keep Your Executive Job Search Undercover On LinkedIn

LinkedIn constantly changes the way the site functions, so the features and steps I describe below to protect your undercover search may not function or be accessed or work in quite the same way, as this post ages. This is how these things work right now, as I’m writing the post.

1. Turn off notifications to your network.

Before you make any changes to your LinkedIn profile or add new content, temporarily change the settings on your profile for notifications to your network. This way your connections won’t be notified that you’ve made a change and become suspicious that you’re job hunting.

To temporarily turn off network notifications:

  • Go to “Privacy & Settings” accessed in the drop-down menu when you hover over your photo avatar in the upper right-hand corner of your profile.
  • Click on “Privacy”.
  • Click on “Sharing profile edits”.
  • Set to “No”, so that your network will NOT be notified of changes you make to your profile.
  • When you’re done making profile changes, go back in and click “Yes” to turn notifications back on.

2. Safely view other LinkedIn profiles without them knowing.

For competitive intelligence and to pick up ideas to improve your own LinkedIn profile, search for and read the profiles of people with jobs similar to yours, and those working at your target companies.

To keep those people from knowing that you’re snooping on them and potentially “out” you, go again to “Privacy and Settings”. Under “Privacy” look for “Profile viewing options” and select “Private mode”. You can turn this back on once you’re done snooping, so that your “profile stats” will be enabled again.

3. Add or change profile content slowly.

Many of my client have very little content in their profiles before they come to me. People coming upon their suddenly fully fleshed out profile, with many new sections populated, may become suspicious. It may make sense to add just a section or two at a time over a week or two.

4. Be careful with LinkedIn Groups

Just like every other executive job seeker, you need to get involved with LinkedIn Groups. But you won’t want your employer and your network to be notified when you join new job-search related Groups. Go again to “Privacy and Settings”. Under “Communications” look for “Groups” and then “Group notifications”. Toggle to “No” for “Would you like to publish an update to your network whenever you join a group?”

When you join LinkedIn Groups that may sabotage your confidential job search, DON’T choose the option to have the Group listed on your profile.

And you need to be very careful about what you post in Group discussions. Don’t let on that you’re job-hunting or testing the waters. Instead, use Groups to demonstrate your subject matter expertise and thought leadership, and to stay top of mind with your target employers.

5. Choose who can see your connections.

When you’re actively job hunting, you’ll need to connect with executive recruiters and other hiring professionals. You won’t want your current employer and co-workers to know you’re connected with them. Go again to “Privacy and Settings”, click on “Privacy” and then “Who can see your connections”, and choose “Only you” in the drop-down.

But this is not a complete fix. You’ll note LinkedIn’s caveat in that section, “People will still be able to see connections who endorse you and connections they share with you. (Don’t want your endorsements visible? Just choose to opt out)”.

More About LinkedIn and Executive Job Search

Are You Executive Job Search-Ready?

Deadly LinkedIn Mistake: Forgetting LinkedIn Groups

Essential Checklist to Optimize LinkedIn For Executive Job Search

4 LinkedIn Ways to Keep Your Personal Brand Top of Mind

How to Write a Dazzling LinkedIn Summary

How to Customize LinkedIn Invitations to Connect



Are You Executive Job Search-Ready?

by Meg Guiseppi on June 13, 2016

7 Questions to Test Your Preparedness for Executive Job Search


I guess no one is really ready for a job-hunt until they’re forced into it, but I’ve found that many new job seekers dive in before understanding how today’s executive job search works . . . causing missteps and possibly prolonging the search process in unproductive, anxiety-ridden ways.

Some people have the luxury of contemplating, learning about and planning a career move while safely employed.

Others are suddenly laid off, or sense a layoff looming. They don’t have an open-ended time frame.

Without knowing better, they rush to quickly update their resumes with generic information, and get it out there on the job boards fast. After a few weeks or months with little good response, they realize that they need to re-think and re-boot in some way. All that time was wasted on futile efforts.

This is why I always advise that it’s best to first take time to learn about today’s executive job search, and plan your strategy. As you’ll see in my post, If All Else Fails in Executive Job Search, Read the Directions, much needs to be done to prepare well for job search.

7 Questions to Test Your Preparedness for Executive Job Search


To see if you’re ready, ask yourself these 7 questions. If you answer “NO” to any of them, you may not be ready:

1. Can you clearly describe what kind of job you’re looking for, in which companies?

Without a succinct “elevator pitch”, naming particular companies or specific kinds of companies you’re targeting, people won’t know how to help you. And you won’t have the driving focus you need to succeed. Start your job search with targeting specific employers and researching what makes you a good fit for their current pressing needs.

If you need help determining which companies are right for you, read my post, 7 Tips to Build Your Executive Job Search Target Companies List.

Once you have your target list, see my post, Best Ways and Places to Research Your Target Employers.

2. Have you Googled “your name” within the past week?

People assessing you, like executive recruiters and hiring professionals, Google the names of all potential candidates, before reaching out to them. Know what they will find about you, so you can assess and clean up your online presence, if need be. Get in the habit of self-Googling regularly.

More in my post, Is Your Online Presence Strong Enough to Compete?

3. Have you embraced personal branding in your job search?

Employers want to know more about you than your hard skills, or areas of expertise. They want to get a feel for your personality, how you work with others, what kind of leader you are, and how you make things happen.

Personal branding helps you differentiate the value you offer over your job search competitors. More in my post, How and Why Personal Branding Works.

4. Have you written a branded resume, LinkedIn profile, and other materials that position you as a good-fit?

These materials – especially your LinkedIn profile – will probably be the first things people who can help you reach your career goals will see about you. Do they clearly convey the unique value you offer, in terms of areas of expertise, driving strengths, passions and personality?

More in my post, How to Build Personal Brand Content for Executive Job Search.

5. Do you know how to network your way into the goldmine of “hidden” jobs?

You may have heard about the hidden executive job market, but do you really know what it is, why it exists, and how to take advantage of it? The perfect job for you may never be posted anywhere! It may only exist in the hidden job market.

More in my post, How Do I Find a Job in the “Hidden” Job Market?

6. Do you know how to best use LinkedIn to advance your search?

LinkedIn is THE place online to connect with people you know, expand your network, demonstrate your subject matter expertise, network and be found by executive recruiters and hiring professionals.

More in my post, Get the Most Out of LinkedIn.

7. Do you know how to get more job interviews, and then brand and ace them?

Job interviews at the companies you’re targeting won’t likely just come to you, without some preparation and work. More in my post, 10 Best Ways to Get More Executive Job Interviews.

Of course, once you land interviews, you’ll need to perform well. Get ready to answer all the tough questions, and know what questions YOU should ask. Psych yourself to perform well and avoid making mistakes. Know how to follow up – even if you’re not hired – to stay top-of-mind.

More in my post, How to Land, Brand and Ace Executive Job Interviews.