Stop Doing This On LinkedIn Now

Watch out for these missteps that might undermine your presence on the professional networking site.

"At one time, there wasn't much there," she said. "People just saw [LinkedIn] as a profile. But [now] LinkedIn's homepage is a newspaper that has been curated by people within your network."

If your homepage seems to be too much noise and not enough substance -- and that's not an imaginary issue on social media these days -- there's a simple way to cut down on unwanted information. Go to your account's Privacy & Settings page and click "Customize the updates you see on your home page" in the Account section.

6. Stop announcing to your current boss that you're looking for a new job.
As long as we're on the subject of Privacy & Settings, unwitting LinkedIn users might be advertising to their current boss and coworkers that they're looking for a new job. It's become a digital equivalent of the careless co-worker who, in a bygone era, left copies of his resumé in the shared office printer tray. Steve Levy, head of global recruiting at Kaltura, points out that if you're on LinkedIn in the first place, you're probably connected with your current boss and co-workers. If you're making significant changes to your profile, those might show up on their homepages or in their email digests.

"If you're in a job search, don't broadcast to the world that you've updated your profile," Levy said in an interview. That might sound strange, but it's prudent strategy if you still value your current paycheck. Again, there's a quick fix, one that allows you to remain reasonably active on the site without announcing to your boss that you're on the market: Go to Privacy & Settings and click on "Turn on/off your activity broadcasts" in the Profile section. ("Broadcast" is the operative word here.)

It's not foolproof. Some managers might be keen to check the profiles of direct reports they're connected with from time to time, even if they're not getting homepage or email notifications about you. Levy ultimately shrugs his shoulders: "Oh well," he said. "If they ask you why you're looking, you tell them why. Maybe some things are things they can fix. In business, you're supposed to be able to talk to your boss about things. If it's not working out, it's not working out."

7. Stop trying to hide your age.
Ageism in IT is real. So people in the middle or later stages of their career would be forgiven for being a bit skeptical of LinkedIn features such as -- oh, I don't know -- the very prominent photo showcased on every profile. That photo includes a fundamental implication: Appearance matters. (To each his own, but leaving the photo blank is generally considered a basic LinkedIn no-no.) Then there are the things that have always been not-so-subtle indicators of age on the traditional resumé, like graduation and employment dates.

Trying to "massage" or flat-out hide your age on LinkedIn is counterproductive, at best.

"Age discrimination is ugly, and it's out there," Serdula said. Yet any of the "tricks" -- using an old photo or hiding dates, as examples -- quickly fail once you land an interview, and as a general rule Serdula advised against omitting basic information, noting that missing data is often considered a red flag among recruiters and hiring managers.

"Put yourself out there in the most positive way. Own your age --  use it as a benefit. There are companies out there that value your experience. Why would you want to waste your time going after companies that don't value you? Even if you were to get hired, why would you want to support a company like that. I say: Own your age."

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