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Smartly and Carefully Increase Your Visibility to Recruiters Using LinkedIn "Shared Career Interests"

By Susan P. Joyce

LinkedIn Shared Career Interests

Seen above is a LinkedIn member's "Your Dashboard." Click on "Me" and "View Profile" to see your Dashboard near the top of your Profile. Each Profile has a dashboard, visible only to that member. This is one of the ways to see how visible you are in LinkedIn and also, circled above, to access "Shared Career Interests." (More details about that process below.)

In October, 2016, LinkedIn announced "Open Candidate," a new tool for job seekers and recruiters. Within a few months of the launch, it was renamed "Shared Career Interests."

If you decide to using this tool, LinkedIn will share the following information with recruiters who use their LinkedIn Recruiter service:

  • Flag you as open to hearing about new opportunities.
  • Job titles or roles you're interested in (asked in the sign-up form, described below).
  • If you're open to full-time or contracted opportunities (asked in the sign-up form, described below).
  • Date you flagged yourself as open to new opportunities.

Since not every recruiter or employer can afford to use LinkedIn Recruiter, your interest in new opportunities may not be visible to your target employers.

Details on how to join most effectively are below. But you might want to consider these cautions, next, before you sign up.


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Cautions for Employed Job Seekers

Apparently, 90 percent of eligible memberes opted to join this program. But, I encourage caution, particularly if you are employed, be very careful about signing up for this visibility.

On the sign-up page, below, where you can select "On" to choose to participate in this program, they make the following statement:

"We take steps to not show your current company that you’re open, but can’t guarantee complete privacy."

They cannot make this guarantee because many recruiters are not employees of the company they are recruiting for. They are independent recruiters who may be working on contract with several employers. LinkedIn will probably not be able to protect you from these recruiters because their connection to your employer will likely be invisible to LinkedIn.

If you are employed now, consider these two issues before you click the "On" button to activate Shared Career Interests:

  1. Be sure you have clearly identified your current employer in your LinkedIn Profile.

    LinkedIn will attempt (but, as indicated, not guarantee) to block your current employer from knowing you have become an Open Candidate (for the reason, see # 2, below). Probably the safest way to do this is to find your employer's LinkedIn Company Profile, and use the exact company name from that profile as your employer's name for your current job. Hopefully, you will see your employer's logo appear in the right side of your Profile near your current job title.
  2. If discovered, your current employer may consider you a "flight risk."

    A "flight risk" is someone who is considering leaving, so potentially no longer a loyal employee focused on their jobs. Worse, if you are working on something important or sensitive, you may be seen as someone who could be untrustworthy.

So, consider your other options before joining a LinkedIn Shared Career Interests. LinkedIn provides more information on this page: Learn more.

Negative "Active Candidate" Label Assigned?

By joining this program, you may be viewed by recruiters or employers as an "active candidate." In the recent past, being an active candidate is not usually good.

For the last few decades, employers have been less interested in hiring an "active candidate" (someone actually looking for a new job) than in hiring a "passive candidate" (someone who is, presumably, happily employed and not looking for a new job). Crazy, but real nonetheless.

Notice also that one of the bits of information which is made available to recruiters (above) is the date you "flagged" yourself as open to new opportunities. So, LinkedIn is telling them how long you have been an "active candidate." Not clear that they will record when you joined and how long you participated if you subsequently drop out with or without a change in job or employer.

Time may change this negative view, or LinkedIn's credibility and business acumen may overcome it for LinkedIn Active Candidates.

How to Activate LinkedIn Shared Career Interests

The sign-up process is pretty clear. Start by clicking on "Career interests" in your Profile's "Dashboard" at the top of this page and near the top of your Profile (when you are in Me >> View Profile mode).

Then, follow these2 steps to effectively activate Shared Career Interests:

1. Join by clicking the button beside the word "Off" (in the image below). It will change to "On" and you will be added to the program.

Note the privacy warning visible below the text in the red square above.

2. Scroll down this page, and you will see that additonal information is collected to help recruiters know what you want next. Be sure to complete all of these fields.

  • The "Note to Recruiters" gives you the opportunity (in 300 characters or less) to do some personal marketing and provide information not visible in your Profile, like what you want to do next and any other personal information that might be relevant. Be careful what you share, though.
  • "What job titles are you considering?" Target job title is important to recruiters, so choose this job title carefully, preferably picking the job titles that your target employoers use for the job you want next.

    When you start typing in a job title, LinkedIn will probably offer you options to choose from. For example, begin by typing "marketing" in the "+ Add title" field, and you will likely see "Marketing Manager," "Marketing Director," "Marketing Coordinator," "Marketing Assistant," and so on appear. Choose the most appropriate for you. You may add additional job titles, but it's smart to choose titles that are related so you look focused and consistent with your profile. These are veryimportant keywords for you!
  • "What locations would you work in?" Click on the "+Add location" button, start to fill in the blank, and LinkedIn will suggest choices for you. I added 20 locations and it looked like I could add more, but I think the smartest approach is to choose a few.

    When you start to type in the name of a large city, LinkedIn may offer you a "Greater [whatever] Area" option, which could offer the greatest flexibility and widest opportunities.
  • "What types of jobs are you open to?" The options are Full-time, Contract, Part-time, Internship, Remote, and Freelance.
  • "What industries do you prefer" Click on the "+Add industry" button and type in the industry you want. As usual, LinkedIn will offer you options. There doesn't appear to be a limit on the number you can choose, but I would limit my options to 3 at most.
  • "What size company would you like to work for?" You choose minimum and maximum numbers from the options LinkedIn makes available.

LinkedIn has specific options for you to select when you are adding job titles, locations, and industries. Typing in another term is labeled "Invalid input" apparently not accepted or shared with employers.

To learn how LinkedIn describes the Shared Career Interests process to employers, read this page -- 2 New Ways to Discover Candidates Who Are Open to Hearing From You on LinkedIn. It is very interesting!

Bottom Line

This is the opportunity for more visibility with employers. It does offer some risks, but the risk may be offset by the added visibility.

More about LinkedIn for Job Search:


About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.


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