Social media has changed the job search process for job seekers and recruiters. LinkedIn makes up one of the top growing professional social networking sites. According to a 2012 article from CNET, a greater number of recruiters are tapping into LinkedIn to find candidates for job openings. For job seekers, if you're not on LinkedIn, there may be opportunities missed. Yes, there may be some unease with putting your information online for the public to view; however, there are features on LinkedIn and methods to positioning your information where you do not necessarily need to state your employer or other information you are uncomfortable with sharing.
If you're not looking to make public who your employer is, one way around it on LinkedIn is to simply state "Company Confidential" in the field requesting your current employer. Most recruiters can look past it in the initial candidate search process. Simply ensure the rest of your profile and the details of your experience present sufficient information for a recruiter to get a sense of your abilities and past experiences.
When you don't state your employer on LinkedIn, recruiters can still get a sense of the type of experience you have with generalized titles in its place, such as "Top Accounting Firm" or "Biotech Start-up Company." It's also helpful when you have a defining headline on LinkedIn, such as "Marketing Strategist with over 10 years of experience working with top pharmaceutical companies," according to a "U.S. News & World Report" article on polishing your LinkedIn profile. The headline appears under your name.
For individuals with many years of experience or temporary assignments, it’s possible to group experience into one item on LinkedIn in place of listing each employer you've worked with. This is particularly useful and common for contract workers. For instance, if you are a freelance writer working with multiple employers at any given time, it may make more sense to simply state "Freelance Writing" for the "Employer" section on LinkedIn. Additional information regarding the type of writing you do can be listed under that in "Description."
Leave It Blank
You always have control over what information to put online. While many experts advise having a complete profile on LinkedIn, you can still create a LinkedIn profile even if you choose to leave the "Employer" field blank. There are also other privacy settings to LinkedIn that can help you curtail what's publicized. For instance, under your "Profile Settings," you can un-check the profile features that you don't want displayed publicly, according to a 2010 article from "CIO" on LinkedIn privacy settings. You can choose to not publicly display on your profile your "Headline," "Current Positions," the details with your current positions, "Skills" and/or "Interests."
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