Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes and grades resumes instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.
Searching for a new job while you’re still employed can be tricky — and almost two-thirds of employed individuals are open to looking for a new job. While you certainly want to leverage social media as much as possible, you don’t want to jeopardize your current job by making it obvious that you’re looking for a new position.
However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid social media during your job search. In fact, 54% of social media users employed Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter in their hunt for work in the last year, according to a recentinfographic by Jobvite, and one in six found his last job through an online social network.
Here are five ways to show you’re a valuable professional (in order to make employers come to you) without telling everyone you’re on the hunt.
1. Raise Your Personal Visibility (Carefully)
Spruce up your existing networking profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, among other networking sites. Build a strong resume by adding more content and information. Make sure each profile is as complete as possible — including key skills, experience and education — to ensure you show up in search results.
Build your networks on these sites and re-connect with people you’ve known for a while, such as your supervisor from your high school job or your mom’s cousin who works in your field. These people might be your “in” at one of your target companies — so keeping up those connections is important to your job search.
2. Don’t Broadcast Your Job Desires
One easy way to blow your cover is to put “Seeking a position as…” or “Looking for a new job in…” on your profile. This might seem obvious, but some job seekers think their current employer won’t see their profiles, so they share that they are job searching with their whole network. Instead of blatantly telling contacts that you’re on the job hunt, stay visible by logging in and participating on the site on a regular basis. You can show your expertise by sharing relevant content, joining and participating in industry groups and communities, and by keeping in touch with your network connections.
3. Understand Your Company’s Social Media Policy
The way you conduct yourself online has the potential to affect your current employers — and they’re fully aware of what goes on. Many employers now have a social media policy written out for current employees, so take a close look at the policy to ensure you’re not doing anything online that might result in disciplinary action.
For example, Walmart wants its employees only to focus on customer service on social media tools such as Twitter. Here’s part of their social media policy: “Walmart wants to make sure its employees who are ‘official’ Twitter users for Walmart are identified as such, stick to customer replies, and focus on this alone. Walmart’s Twitter users should only talk about Walmart and not engage in unnecessary banter.”
4. Monitor Your Contact and Privacy Settings
On LinkedIn, you can choose several options in your contact settings, including “career opportunities” and “job inquiries.” It may raise a red flag for your current employer if you suddenly check off those options and display that you’re open to opportunities publicly. Many people also assume if you update your LinkedIn profile, you must be looking for a job. To avoid signaling a red flag to coworkers or your boss, update your profile actively even when you’re not looking for a job, or manage your settings and disable broadcasting your updates.
On a similar note, privacy settings on Facebook or Twitter might be important if you’re job searching on the stealth. If you plan on talking about it with friends or family online, you need to make sure that your current employer, clients or co-workers cannot see what you’re saying. (Not sure how to navigate the latest Facebook privacy settings? Check out this privacy guide for more details.)
5. Don’t Job Search at Work
Many employers monitor email, voicemail and web surfing. Bottom line: Don’t bring your job search into your current job. Not only will it be embarrassing if you get caught, but it can also be harmful to your job search if you’re using your work email or phone number. If you quit your current job (or get fired), employers won’t be able to get in touch with you with the contact information you’ve provided. It’s best to use your personal cellphone number and personal email address. You might also consider including these on your social media profiles if you originally signed up with work information.
Social media is an amazing resource for connecting with other people, sharing information, and learning about job opportunities. Although you might need to be a bit more careful if you’re job searching while still employed, the above tips can help you leverage these tools to land your next gig.
What do you think? How else can stealth job seekers show their expertise through social media?