By Neil Patrick
The number one trap that inexperienced Linkedin users seem to get caught out by is its activity broadcast settings. In a misguided attempt to help members promote themselves, everytime you make a change to your profile, give an endorsement or follow someone, Linkedin will send an automated message to all your contacts telling them that you’ve done it.
Now I think automatic notifications are pretty annoying. But this particular one is potentially catastrophic for jobseekers.
Just think about it. If you have just lost your job, you cannot show you are still employed in your old job (at least not if you don’t want to risk being caught out by your next employer or a recruiter who checks you out).
In this situation, many people engage in volunteering, contract work or consultancy whilst they are job-hunting. It keeps you sharp, earns you some money and expands your network. It also keeps the dreaded word “Unemployed” off your profile.
All good so far.
But here's where the trap surfaces.
Most people rightly update their Linkedin profile to reflect this change. And since getting hired is now a priority, it’s natural and sensible to make sure your profile is as good as you can make it. So you might update your LinkedIn profile to say something like your current position is “Owner of XYZ Consulting”. Update and expand details of your skills and experience. Reach out to people in your network and make new connections. Or whatever.
However, the moment you make a change to your job title and/or employer, the LinkedIn auto messaging kicks in and sends a message to everyone of your contacts telling them you’ve got a new job! Erm...
At a stroke you’ve broadcast to everyone in you network PLUS potential employers searching for someone with your skills that you are now off the market. But the reality is you’re just starting your job search. And that’s a disaster.
It’s often made worse by the fact that it’s fairly normal to make changes gradually over a few days or weeks as we attempt to revise and update our profile to make it more suitable for our current aspirations. And every time we do, out goes another notification to our contacts.
The problem is that the default setting for Linkedin profile broadcast setting is ‘ON’. Fortunately it’s simple enough to turn it OFF. It’s just that unless you know your way around Linkedin's settings, it’s not very obvious how to do this.
So here’s a simple step by step to do this:
1. Go to your account settings by clicking on your image in the top bar and click on "Manage" against the Privacy and Settings option:
2. Within the Privacy Controls menu, select "Turn on/off your activity broadcasts"
3. Untick the broadcast box when it opens and then click the "Save changes" button:
That’s it. You can now happily make changes to your profile without LinkedIn telling everyone about it every time you do this.
You can revise, enhance, expand, update and polish your profile as much as you wish without annoying your contacts with notifications about it.
There is an important footnote to be aware of however. Turning activity updates off will NOT stop Linkedin sending activity updates when you do these things:
1) Add or change your profile photo.
2) Connect with other LinkedIn members. However, you can effectively turn this notification off when you make a new connection by hiding your connection list.
3) Share content.
4) Follow a company.
5) Upgrade your account to premium. (However this doesn't apply to Job Seeker subscriptions).
6) Follow an Influencer, Channel, or Publisher.
7) “Like” shared content.
8) Engage in group activity. However, you do have the option to turn this off within your Group settings; if you don’t, your activity will be posted. This is optional depending on your personal privacy settings.
9) Reach an anniversary in your career eg. When you have spent 3 years at XYZ Corp..
Nb Because I am fairly active on Linkedin, I keep my Linkedin notifications permanently OFF. I don’t want to fill my busy contacts' messages boxes with automatic notifications every time I update my profile – they've got better things to do than read automatic notifications from me I reckon…
What do you think? Is it time we petitioned Linkedin to change the default setting to Off?