This Basic LinkedIn Setting Might Save Your Career

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If you use only one LinkedIn setting, this is the one to learn. Turn ON and OFF your announcements to maximize your job search and to minimize automatic LinkedIn Activity Broadcast spam.

OK, Andy, what IS this so-called On / Off button?

As mentioned in an earlier post, you need to know how to find the settings that control announcements when you update your profile. If you don’t, LinkedIn will automatically send out announcements to your network saying you’ve got a new job, updated your account, and other details – even when you didn’t intend to.

Your ON / OFF switch controls that.

What’s so bad about the announcements?

An announcement can be good and help your job search and networking – but only if it’s accurate. Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s automatic AI ‘bots look over your shoulder and make some bad assumptions when you make changes. Then they send out announcements. You’ve seen them: “Congratulate Sam on his new job!” “Theresa has a new title!” “Bill scratched his elbow on LinkedIn!” (OK, not the last one, but you get the idea.)

When you do send Sam congrats on the new job, sometimes he writes back and says, “Naw, no new job. I was just editing my profile. Rather embarrassing, that”

How can automatic announcements hurt active job hunters?

Donna Sapolin in her post a few days ago, How LinkedIn could hurt your job search, explained how LinkedIn’s automatic posts can actually hurt your job prospects, by making your connections think you’ve landed a new job when you are just starting a job hunt or looking to freelance. In her case, all she did was update her headline and LinkedIn sent out a “Congratulate Donna on her new job” announcement. She makes an excellent point about the need for users to turn off (or at least approve) these announcements.

What if you’re in a stealth job hunt?

At least, Donna was not being shy about looking for a new job. If you are in a stealth job search, the same announcements could help you lose your current job by pointing out that you’re updating your profile, joining groups, following companies, and connecting with new people. If your manager sees and thinks you’re ready to jump ship, he or she may try to help your job search by making the need immediate!

Couldn’t this create gun-shy LinkedIn members?

It does! Several commenters have mentioned that they stopped updating their profile because they don’t want more LinkedIn announcements – at least not now. So, as a result of LinkedIn’s scattershot approach to spammy announcements, LinkedIn is unwittingly making the site less accurate and, thus, less valuable.

The LinkedIn ON / OFF Switch

Learn to find your LinkedIn Broadcast ON / OFF switch and bring your networking and job hunting back to life!

So, Andy, what’s the solution?

The solution for users is what I call your LinkedIn Broadcast On / Off Switch. It’s an easy to find setting you can use to turn off these announcements when you don’t want them.

And where do I find this switch?

First, you have to be viewing LinkedIn from your computer’s browser, not using a phone or tablet app.

On the upper right of your LinkedIn menu bar, click or tap on your avatar. (Your LinkedIn avatar is the tiny version of your photo.)

Find the Setting Page on LinkedInA menu should show up. Select Privacy & Settings.

You’ll need to reenter your password.

You now see your main settings page for LinkedIn. There are many choices here, but don’t panic. I’ll walk you through this.

LinkedIn main settings pageLook down below the top box of the page, roughly two inches below your name on the top. (If you have a free account, you want to look just below the yellow Upgrade button.)

You see a tab called Profile. If it’s not already selected, click or tap on it.

Just below Privacy Controls you’ll see the option, Turn on/off your activity broadcasts. Click or tap it. THIS IS YOUR MAGIC ON/OFF BUTTON FOR LINKEDIN ANNOUNCEMENTS! (YAY!)

LinkedIn ON/OFF SWITCHAn Activity broadcasts window opens. There’s only one option here, so this is easy. For privacy, simply UNCHECK the box for Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies. Then click on the button Save changes.

Now, go to your Profile menu, select Edit profile and make all the changes you want, safe in the knowledge that LinkedIn won’t send out spammy announcements about those changes.

When you want to turn your broadcasts back on (say if you want people to know when you join a group, make recommendations, or when you actually do get a job), go back here and check the box. Then make your changes.

Develop the habit!

As a former music teacher, I recommend you go back and do this process a few times. It’s easy and you develop a spatial and tactile familiarity with this switch that helps you remember how to do it. (And it’s a heckuva lot easier than learning how  to play the bassoon!)

Again, if you learn no other setting on LinkedIn, learn this one! Do it. You’ll thank me later.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to check your setting every time you want to edit your profile. It will give you peace of mind, too. (And peace of mind is not always easy to come by these days.)

Is that it?

Obviously, there are a lot of other LinkedIn settings worth looking at and learning about. If you are in a stealth job search, you need to read my post, LinkedIn Basics: Taking Control of Your Settings, Part 1. (Parts 2 and 3 are still on my To Do list, but they’re coming.)

LinkedIn Finger Tips

Put the Power of LinkedIn at Your Fingertips with Frugal Guidance 2

Credits & Links

Donna Sapolin, How LinkedIn could hurt your job search, “Say congrats” messages may keep you from landing new work, on Marketwatch.com

Title image created with The Pulp-O-Mizer Cover Maker, part of the Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual site.

The Frankenstein Lab photo is from the 1931 movie, Frankenstein, released by Universal Pictures, adapted from the play by Peggy Webling which, in turn, is based on the novel by Mary Shelley. For more photos from this movie, see the excellent selection on the Monster Brains website.

Various screen shots by Andrew Brandt.

“Put the power of LinkedIn at your fingertips” image is from Nightmare Alley, a 1947 film noir classic starring Joan Blondell and Tyrone Power, directed by Edmund Goulding, based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham.

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