LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals in your field, find work opportunities, and build your credentials. However, privacy settings can be confusing and difficult to manage. Here’s how to fix it.
LinkedIn privacy: Overview
Unlike other social networks, privacy on LinkedIn is not only about managing who can see your posts and profiles, but also about managing who can see what you do on the site. Because LinkedIn is about forming professional connections, making other users see some of your activity is turned on by default.
For example, changes in the status of your work, new connections, and even whether you see someone’s profile are information that can be accessed by others. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your LinkedIn privacy settings, especially if you use it to find work.
When you open the privacy settings on LinkedIn by going to Me> Settings and Privacy> Privacy in the upper right corner, I will see the following section:
- How other people see your network profile and information: This allows you to control what information appears on your profile, and who is allowed to see it.
- How others see your LinkedIn activity: This allows you to change the visibility of activities in your location, such as your online status and changes to your profile.
- How LinkedIn uses your data: This allows you to manage how LinkedIn uses and shares your data with others.
- Job search preferences: This allows you to manage your job search on LinkedIn, especially visibility of your job search status to employers.
- Block and hide: This allows you to change who can see your posts and block certain people completely from your network.
The two main parts involved in configuring your profile’s visibility are “How Others See Your Network Profile and Information” and “Blocking and Hiding.”
In “How Others See …,” you can adjust who can see your profile, connections, interests, last name, and organization. The most basic setting here is “Edit Your Public Profile,” which limits the amount of information seen by people who are not logged into LinkedIn.
Clicking this will take you to a separate “Public Profile Settings” page. You can see a preview of what your profile looks like for people who find your profile through search engines or external links. On the right, you can activate which part of the page is public. You can also choose to hide your profile picture from anyone who is not on your network.
Under “Blocking and Hiding,” you will be able to see who you have blocked from the site. The account that you have blocked will not be able to see your profile. Under this section, you can also choose the type of account that you can follow on the site. When someone follows you, they will be able to publish your updates and posts.
The next thing that can be configured is the visibility of your activities on the site, which is in the “How Others See Your LinkedIn Activity” section.
Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn allows users to see who is visiting their profile. You can change this with “Profile Display Options,” which can make you anonymous when searching other people’s accounts. However, switching to private also prevents you from seeing who is visiting your page, unless you upgrade to LinkedIn Premium.
By default, LinkedIn informs your network if you have a new job or when you have a work day. You can disable this by going to “Share Job Changes …” and switching the switch to “No.”
You can also change who can see when you are active on the site, which is usually denoted by a green circle next to your name. Under “Manage Active Status,” you can choose whether anyone, no one, or only your connection can see when you are online.
LinkedIn collects a lot of data about you, especially if you are actively looking for work. Depending on how you interact with the service, you may have provided salary data, demographic information, and your contact name to the site.
In the “How LinkedIn Uses Your Data” section, you can get a copy of all data that has been collected with you by going to “Get Copies of Your Data.” You can adjust what is included in the dump, or you can choose just to get everything including media files. Depending on how large the database is, it can take up to 24 hours to get the download link.
There is also a list of activities related to your data under “Manage Your Data And Activities.” This includes synchronizing your contacts, sharing your profile with other companies, or linking your account with other applications.
Privacy Looking for Work
LinkedIn job hunting is a two-way street. One of the ways you get a job at this site is to look at opportunities available in your field, field and level of expertise, which can be found in the “Jobs” section on the main page. Another way is to let work come to you. Recruiters often use LinkedIn to find talented people who are open to new job opportunities.
The most basic way to configure this is to change your current availability status. If you enable the setting “Let Recruiters Know You Are Open to Opportunities” to Yes, you will appear in searches made by recruiters if you meet their job criteria. However, while they are taking steps to prevent your current employer from seeing the status of your job search, LinkedIn does not make explicit guarantees.
If you are paranoid about what your current employer has found and don’t want to take the risk, you might want to consider ignoring this option. You can still apply for a job and show interest.
You can also manage the following settings under this section:
- Share your profile when you click Apply: When you apply for a job, you may be directed to an off-site recruitment page. When this option is turned on, your LinkedIn profile will be shared with recruiters even though you are being directed.
- Application settings: When you apply for a job that uses the built-in application features of LinkedIn, you can choose whether or not to save that information for future job applications.
- Signal interest to the company where you made the job notification: This changes whether you appear available to the company where you have set job alerts. You can set job alerts for employers on their company profile page.