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Should I put wording like "seeking a new opportunity" on LinkedIn etc profile, if already employed and not actively looking to leave but unsure about my future to see what's out there and invite approaches?

I know bosses/HR probably look up their people on LinkedIn etc, so, how would this be perceived?

Edited to add: from the perspective of a boss (which I'm not). Would you go straight to the "seek to terminate" as in one of the answers, or take it as something to handle with the employee in terms of retention? Especially if they are one of the "good ones"?

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You should not put "seeking a new opportunity" until and unless you are really looking for change. It will have 2 disadvantages :

  1. When your current company HR/BOSS notice that , they will start to find your replacement and will loss trust/faith from you. As this is something like you are telling them indirectly that you don't want to stay in current company.

  2. Other companies will contact you as they assume that you are looking for change, And you will get call then you will tell you are not looking for change for now. It will create unprofessional/bad impression of yours for those companies. And then you will be in problem when in future you will be looking for change actually.

In Short : Update profile with "seeking a new opportunity"only when you really looking for change.

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Short answer: You don't have to state anything different as your very profile is an advertisement.

Think of it this way. If you have a profile on professional sites, it's there for one reason and one reason only: to showcase to others who don't work with you what you have done. This is in fact a passive advertisement of what you can do and for whom. I know mine carries a significant similarity to my CV.

So while you may not openly state you're looking for a job, if a recruiter sees your profile and it is of interest, then they will contact you.

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I know bosses/HR probably look up their people on LinkedIn etc, so, how would this be perceived?

Short answer, it will be perceived as you are looking for a new job if possible. If I was your manager and saw that I would start looking for your replacement, and analysing the cheapest way to terminate you.

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I don't have any wording on my LinkedIn profile that suggests that I'm looking for opportunities, passively or actively. Also, my Stack Overflow Careers profile is set to passive, but the only options are to set it to actively seeking (which I'm not) or block all messages (which I don't). Very rarely do recruiters contact me on Stack Overflow Careers (probably because it's clear I'm passively looking). However, I get at least a handful of messages from recruiters every month on LinkedIn and a few more by email (which may have been obtained from LinkedIn, since it's there.

Personally, I don't see a reason to put that you are passively looking for a job. If you have a public profile on a careers site and actively maintain it, you want it to be seen by others, which includes recruiters. Unless you are blocking messages, you are implicitly open to being contacted. If you aren't actively looking for a job, I don't think that there's any reason to mention it on your profile - just keep it up-to-date, which is a reasonable activity for anyone wishing to maintain their public image.

Even if you are actively looking for a job, I don't see a reason why you would need to mention that on your profile on a careers site. If you are actively looking, chances are you are searching for jobs and applying to them, perhaps on the career site's platform. In this case, you will be responding to job postings or replying to messages that interest you. That will indicate that you are actively looking for a job.

In short, I would simply recommend maintaining your profile on career sites (including making sure that it contains the appropriate keywords to be found in searches), set it to public, and make sure that you aren't blocking messages / read and reply to messages in a timely fashion. If recruiters find your profile interesting, you will be contacted. If you transition to actively seeking a job, your online profile(s) are all up-to-date and you can simply begin applying to positions and you can also consider recontacting recruiters who previously messaged you.

  • I like the wording of "passively" searching and have somehow missed this in my work life so far! – user43744 Dec 21 '15 at 18:25
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Back in 2000, the consulting firm I worked for called me up because they found my resume on Monster. They wanted to know if there was a problem, was I looking to go elsewhere, or what. I gave them three reasons. First, I'd had my resume on Monster ever since I first learned about Monster, and in fact I think that's how they found me. Second, I sometimes get Emails or calls from friends who are looking for work. Third, this is a consulting gig, on a contract with a life expectancy, and I've been on contracts before that ended suddenly so I need to remain as mobile as possible, even though I'm not looking to leave the contract I'm working.

Even if you're happy in your current gig, with no intention of ever leaving, let me direct you to speak with any number of people I've worked with in the past who are no longer working for the company they'd been with for years or even decades. The future is a theoretical concept with no basis in reality vis-à-vis employment.

As for how to respond to your employer if they find your profile on LinkedIn, I would use the Friends and Family argument. You know people who may be looking for work and if a recruiter contacts you then you'd like to be able to connect that person with the recruiter.

Another angle you could use is that LinkedIn, in your experience, is a good determinate of the market. If recruiters are contacting you from time to time, then you know that you have a marketable skill and are of value to your current employer. If that were to end, then you might have to reassess your current skillset to determine if there is something you need to do in order to remain of value to your current employer.

Finally, and I would NOT share this with management, LinkedIn may provide you with an opportunity that you might otherwise never have found. No matter how contented you are in your current position, there are opportunities out there that you would not pass up, if they were to come your way. As such, don't shortchange yourself.

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