Learn to Make LinkedIn Work for You

Questions answered during a recent CareerHQ.org webinar.

ASAE CareerHQ.org recently presented a webinar, "LinkedIn Strategies for Career Development," conducted by executive coach Cheryl Palmer. Below are some questions Palmer answered during the session. To view the entire webinar and find other career resources, visit CareerHQ.org.

How do you build a network of contacts while maintaining confidentially so your current employer does not know you're looking for a new position?

Every time that you get a new a job, every time that you update your profile, every time that you post something to a group, the updates automatically go out into the news feed to all of your contacts. That's why you have to make sure that you're not broadcasting information that you don't want the world to know about. Anything on social media that's not made private is automatically public.

My suggestion would be to change your account settings and make sure that as you make any profile updates, [and] as you connect with people, it is not being broadcast. That is absolutely important.

The other thing is, if you can get away with it, don't connect to your boss or make them a first-level LinkedIn connection. Now I say "if you can get away with it" because I've actually had a couple of bosses ask me to connect to them on LinkedIn. So it may not always be possible. But certainly make sure that your private settings are in fact private.

Do you recommend upgrading from LinkedIn Basic?

For most job seekers, the basic level is sufficient. But I also want to add that if you are very actively looking for a new position right now, you might want to consider going to the job-seeker version if you want to know who looked at your profile.

The main differences between the basic and job-search version is the expanded-view feature and the number of InMails that you can receive, which are similar to emails. You can use InMails on LinkedIn when you want to reach out to people who are not part of your network.

If those two features are not something you want to take advantage of, then you're perfectly fine with just going with the basic version of LinkedIn, as you can still network with people and do pretty much anything else.

Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed., CPRW, is a career coach and the founder of Call to Career. Website: www.calltocareer.com/category/blog; Email: [email protected]