LinkedIn provides very useful information for members. It shows the activity related to each LinkedIn Profile.
With luck, some of that activity is viewed by recruiters or others looking for good potential job candidates. In this article, Part 1 of 2, we'll explore what LinkedIn provides for free to users. In Part 2, we look at what they provide to the upgraded LinkedIn account users.
Scroll down the sidebar of your LinkedIn Home Page, and you'll eventually notice the blurb that asks "Who's Viewed Your Profile?"
If you click on it, you'll see a page entitled Profile Stats Pro designed to show you other users that have looked at your information.
To get the most out of Profile Stats, change LinkedIn Profile Settings (accessible by hovering the mouse near your name at the top to access and click on Settings) to allow others to see your identifying information when you review their profiles.
Click on "Select what others see when you've viewed their profile" and choose Your Name and Headline (recommended) to enable this feature.
This will make your activity visible, and you gain the benefit of being able to see who is surfing for you by doing so.
Paid or fee-based upgrades in a LinkedIn Profile will also offer you analytics in the form of Top Search Keywords, but the Free version, which we'll cover here, shows only the users themselves.
Here are ways to categorize the users who view your Profile (no matter what your paid level of LinkedIn), along with their possible intent:
If you're finding these users among your Profile Stats, then congratulate yourself for providing sufficient information for a strong digital identity.
Your Profile may be drawing in recruiters or HR reps if they find something in it that they need, such as a particular skill or past job experience.
However, you'll undoubtedly notice that some of the users who view your Profile are listed as "Anonymous LinkedIn User," which means that they've protected their name, headline, occupation, and industry from view (using one of the Settings described above).
It's much more likely that recruiters and HR professionals would fall into this category, which allows them to check you out without revealing their identity.
Colleagues at your current place of employment will often check out a colleague's LinkedIn Profile to see if anything has changed, which can lead them to assume that you're job hunting.
Public Relations Managers or Human Resource personnel often browse LinkedIn Profiles to control the type of information that is broadcast online about the company—as well as to ascertain your intent in looking for another job.
Still others may want to copy your Profile content, especially if they hold a similar position. Many people are confused about LinkedIn Profile writing, and look to others' information as a template for their own data.
If you've made a job change in the past several years, your former co-workers might be checking to see where you've landed.
This can be part of a plan to reach out to you as an inside contact at your employer, where you could be asked to refer them for a new job.
Of course, many former colleagues will simply browse your Profile out of curiosity, especially to compare your record of promotion or career ascent to their own path.
Others who work in your field could be taking the advice of career professionals who advise them to find a company insider for networking. Therefore, one of these contacts might reach out to you as a means of getting their foot in the door.
In addition, colleagues at prospective employers will often check you out before the interview, which enables them to gain a glimpse of your background and areas of competency.
Job hunters who aren't sure of their own career moves might also check you out as a model for their own career strategy. As an example, career changers can perform an Advanced People Search to identify past professionals in the same field – which gives them an idea of how to transfer their specific skills to other industries.
LinkedIn's Profile Stats Pro can give you a valuable glimpse of activity within your industry and field, both pertaining to your career and to your potential as a valuable networking contact.
Job-Hunt's LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Connect with Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert, on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/laurasmithproulx.