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I don't currently have a LinkedIn account, but am considering creating one as a way to feel out if it's time to move on to a new company. Since this would be a new account I imagine that if my employer can see that I've done so they'll rightly assume I may be looking at other jobs.

I'm not familiar with how LinkedIn works, but I imagine there are advantages to linking up to other people's profiles. I think the disadvantages are severe enough, however, that it's worth not doing so in this case. I also assume there are non-job-hunting reasons to make a LinkedIn account, but even if those are valid it will still create the suspicion that I'm looking, which I want to entirely avoid.

Given the above, how do I go about creating a LinkedIn profile in a way that no one at my current job will know?

I found this question about preventing HR from seeing a profile update, but I think the creation of a new account sends a different signal than simply updating a preexisting profile.

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    I think it would be beneficial for you to find out how exactly LinkedIn works.
    – PM 77-1
    Nov 12 '21 at 23:04
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    @PM77-1 Do you have recommendations here? I've looked over some beginners guides but they failed to indicate whether or not an employer would see if I made a profile. Generally I'm fine with "learning by doing", but as my question states I think there's risk doing that in this case. Importantly several of the guides I've read compare LinkedIn to facebook, but I don't use the latter so comparisons are lost on me.
    – mkdir
    Nov 13 '21 at 13:20
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    Really depending on your company, but mine actually encouraged people to create linkedin accounts. Increases the visibility of the company to others and is good for hiring.
    – jwsc
    Nov 26 '21 at 12:01
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    Any company this worried about potential leavers, has many, many, potential leavers to be worried about!
    – Steve
    Nov 27 '21 at 7:42
  • Ever since I read PhD accidentally proves LinkedIn is a Scam I have become convinced that LinkedIn is a scam and will never use it.
    – Michael J.
    Dec 5 '21 at 4:11
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Don't overthink this. Plenty of people get LinkedIn accounts for reasons other than job hunting.

Also HR departments have far more to do than go round checking to see if someone in their organization has created a LinkedIn account. And even if they happen to see it they won't assume you are looking for a job. (If they are the sort of people who think that then they will also consider anything you do a sign that you are looking for a job - showing up half an hour late, receiving a phone call, looking at your manager funny, or suggesting that the company do something different.)

So just create the account and don't make a thing of it.

If you want to allay suspicion just make your first post on LinkedIn about how much you are enjoying your job at ABC company and how you can't wait to tell everyone how great it is through your new LinkedIn account. Invite your colleages saying "I've just created a Linkedin account so I can connect with you."

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Almost EVERYONE has a LinkedIn profile. Your boss has one, your co-worker have one, your CEO probably has one, heck even Bill Gates has one. https://www.linkedin.com/in/williamhgates/

Look up what your peers and your managers are doing on LinkedIn and and take your hints from there. It's not only perfectly normal, it's actually expected to have a LinkedIn profile.

How do I created a LinkedIn account without my employer knowing?

You can't or at least it's not worth the bother. There is absolutely no problem with them knowing about it since I'm guessing that 95%+ of their employees have a LinkedIn profile too.

they'll rightly assume I may be looking at other jobs

Unless you set your status to "actively looking" that would be a stretch assumption.

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  • +1. Deleting my answer because you said what I meant better than I did. Nov 13 '21 at 14:56
  • Is the "actively looking" publicly visible?!
    – OmarL
    Nov 15 '21 at 15:31
  • @OmarL it being visible is sort of the point. It is meant to indicate to recruiters that you are looking. So you want it to be visible to the public. I believe you can set it so that it doesent show to people who are with your current employer.
    – TineO
    Nov 19 '21 at 14:59
  • @OmarL You can restrict it to make your 'looking' status visible only to recruiters, which is really the way to go.
    – A.S
    Nov 26 '21 at 15:38
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    @OmarL: there is no need to set your status to "actively looking" . Recruiters and hiring managers typically this anyway.
    – Hilmar
    Nov 27 '21 at 17:59
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Just do it. Your assumption

"I imagine that if my employer can see that I've done so they'll rightly assume I may be looking at other jobs"

is incorrect, fortunately.

By that logic any employees of your company that have LinkedIn accounts are under suspicion, regardless of when they opened accounts.

Does it matter if one had an account before they got hired by your company, or started one while working at your company? Of course not.

Moreover, once you create an account, use it to connect with some of your colleagues on LI. Profiles that have no connections look odd on LI.

A few good practices / do's:

  • Do review the privacy/security settings for your new account carefully, and set the options in a way that you feel comfortable with insofar as the visibility of your name, photo, etc.

  • Do set your preferences in terms of availability for jobs. If you are in fact looking, then set to 'actively looking' and make sure it is visible only to recruiters. LinkedIn allows you to control that.

  • Do use a professional photo as your profile headshot. A lot of people ignore this best practice, but it actually goes a long way to creating a professional profile and shows that you care about how you come across. Keep it formal and clean: suit or shirt and tie, good lighting, smile.

  • Once your account is setup and looking nice and professional, do request some recommendations from past bosses (who are on LinkedIn and think well of you). This can be done via a LinkedIn request option. A positive recommendation never hurts, and might help to set you apart in your future job search.

Some don't's:

  • Do not overstate your skills or brand yourself as someone you are not. Sometimes I see statements or skills on profiles of colleagues that do not reflect reality, and I just laugh. It does not bode well for credibility and is a losing strategy in the long term.

  • Do not make your job search availability status visible to the whole world, if you worry it might attract potentially unwanted attention from your colleagues/employer (which it might).

  • If you prefer to 'fly under the radar' and not advertise your LinkedIn activity too widely, make sure to set the options related to that appropriately. One important property is whether to notify your network about your status/profile updates (which you probably don't).

  • Keep in mind that your activity, such as posting or liking/commenting on others' posts, may be visible to your network. So maybe go easy on that, at least initially.

Good luck!

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    Depending on industry, a different type photo may be typical. Many of my contacts are in engineering/construction, so hardhat/jobsite photos are common. Also: Sign up with your personal email address, not your work email in case recruiters contact you through LinkedIn.
    – Theodore
    Dec 3 '21 at 18:17
  • @Theodore good point re: professional nuance. And email too, that goes without saying...keep communication related to job search private. Another option is creating a separate dedicated email address just for job search communication, and only using it for that purpose. Helps with staying organized, considering that there can be a ton of communication related to a single vacancy.
    – A.S
    Dec 3 '21 at 19:10
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Don't bother to hide it. Say you wanted access to LinkedIn Learning if asked.

LinkedIn isn't just a way for professionals to find employment. It also offers other services, such as LinkedIn Learning, which allows you to enroll in educational courses on things such as specific technologies and frameworks. Naturally, accessing such courses requires you to have a LinkedIn account.

So, if you don't already have a LinkedIn account for whatever reason, you can simply create one, and if anyone at your organization asks you about it, you can just say that you heard about LinkedIn Learning and you wanted to take a look at the courses they had available and whether or not they had anything relevant to you.

You wouldn't even be lying! It's entirely possible that if you take a look at it, you might well find out that they do have courses that are relevant enough to you for you to pay the fee to actually access the course material - or, at least, to ask your employer about paying the fee for you, for work-related training.

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  • I recommend LinkedIn Learning, and course completions go onto your profile. Dec 1 '21 at 1:20
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Sooner or later, the employer will see you at LinkedIn. In the end, LinkedIn himself will offer him your profile in the recommendations. The question is different. Why do you need a LinkedIn profile? And then you have to decide what to say. In the answers, they correctly noted that this social network is not limited to finding a job. Perhaps you are looking for some kind of refresher courses. Perhaps you have become addicted to social networks and register in all available ones. You decide. After all, does your contract prohibit having your own LinkedIn profile? It happens that the boss, suspecting that an employee is looking for a job, can offer you more favorable working conditions to keep you in the position.

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