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How to Understand Your LinkedIn Settings & Privacy

by Career Management, LinkedIn Profile

In this article you will learn How to Understand Your LinkedIn Settings & Privacy.

If you are new to LinkedIn or planning to be more active on LinkedIn, I encourage you to take the time to review your LinkedIn settings and privacy preferences.  The Settings & Privacy page can be accessed here while logged into your LinkedIn account. It allows you to manage your LinkedIn account settings and update your privacy and security settings, and set your preferences for how frequently you’re contacted by and through LinkedIn.

Key Privacy & Settings To Review

The Settings & Privacy page is organised into five tabs to help you easily view and modify your account information, privacy preferences, ads settings, and communication notifications.

Here are the key areas I recommend you review as you make your way through your LinkedIn Profile’s Privacy and Settings.

Email addresses: I recommend you provide two email addresses and make your work/business address your primary address. If you are an employee and leave your current role, you must be able to access your LinkedIn account via an alternative address.

Two-step verification: Turn this on to give you an extra layer of protection when logging in from new devices. This will send you an SMS code when you first login from a new device.

Edit your public profile: You can control the elements of your profile that can be viewed by anyone on the internet. You do not have to be logged into LinkedIn to view this.  I do recommend you make most of these visible as it enables you to better showcase your professional skills and control the information available about you online.  You can show your profile picture, headline, summary, experience, education, skills, projects and more. There is a tick box option in this section that allows you to choose what people see. Remember – this can be different to what your LinkedIn connections will see and is a personal choice that will depend on your goals for LinkedIn and your online presence.

Email & Mobile visibility: This feature provides an extra layer of protection and enables you to accept invitations to connect from people you do not know on LinkedIn (which I recommend in my LinkedIn networking guide). It means your connections can not access your email address and subscribe you to their email newsletter without your permission. Yes – there are some uneducated business owners and marketers out there who still do this! You’re forgiven if you are a start up and did not know this one. In this Infusionsoft article Katrina Orendain explains what you can do instead to encourage sign-ups to your email newsletter.

Who can see your connections:  While some networking strategists will tell you it’s good to allow your connections to see everyone you’re connected to on LinkedIn, I prefer to just share my mutual connections with my LinkedIn connections. This means I choose the ‘only you’ option in this setting.  Please note – members will still be able to see connections who endorse you, unless you turn the skills endorsement feature off.

Representing your organisation and interests: I’ve recently changed this setting to ‘No’ as it allows LinkedIn to show my name and/or picture with content about my employers, such as in job posting details and on company pages and insights, and with content related to my publicly expressed interests. I do not like that choosing ‘Yes’ can mean when I like a service or follow a company, or comment or share its posts, I am giving LinkedIn permission to include my name and photo with their sponsored content when shown to my connections

Profile viewing options: There are 3 types of profile viewing options and I recommend you only ever use the 1st or the 3rd option. The 1st option is suitable if you wish to be completely visible, let others know you are looking at them and be able to see who’s viewed your profile (which is limited for free accounts). The 3rd option (Private Mode) enables you to view other people’s profiles without them knowing your identity and allows you to be completely anonymous. I do not recommend the 2nd/middle option as people may be able to work out who you are.

Understanding Account Preferences

This section allows you to manage the basic information associated with your profile and syncing options that LinkedIn will tell you is designed to use information you have to make networking easier (including your calendar and contacts). Beware of syncing.  I do not let LinkedIn do this and recommend you think carefully before allowing LinkedIn to access your contacts and calendar.

In this section you can also keep track of your subscriptions and payments, which is more relevant for paid premium membership. This is also where you can set up your Partners & Preferences, such as connecting your Microsoft and Twitter accounts. If you are active on LinkedIn, it’s handy to connect your Twitter account.  When you post live on LinkedIn you can also choose to post this update on Twitter if your account is added here. Be logged into your Twitter account if you want to easily activate this.

This is also where you can access Account Management tools that allow you to control your LinkedIn account by taking actions such as merging a duplicate account, temporarily deactivating your account or closing your account.

Understanding the Sign In & Security Section

This section houses the settings to help you keep your account secure, including your email addresses, phone number, changing your password, where you’re signed in, devices that remember your password and two-step verification.  I recommend you add a primary and secondary email address in case you leave your current employment and can not access your work email.  My email and mobile phone number is listed on my LinkedIn account, so that only LinkedIn can contact me, and to enable two step verification. In the visibility section of my LinkedIn profile privacy and settings, I do not allow other members to see my email or number. I recommend this if you are concerned about new connections adding you to email newsletters without your consent (it happens!) or using your mobile number to contact you with unsolicited messages.  For extra security I also recommend you enable two step verification.

Understanding the Visibility Section

This section allows you to control who can see your profile, network, and LinkedIn activity.  This is where you can choose your profile and story viewing options, edit your public profile, choose who can see and download your email address, choose if your connections can see your connections list, decide who can see your last name, profile discovery using your mobile, the option to block other LinkedIn members from viewing your profile and lots more!

Read more here about How to View LinkedIn Profiles anonymously.

In this section you can also control a number of features that make sure your network only sees the activity you choose to show.  Specific options I have activated in this section include profile and story viewing options, email and mobile privacy, mentions (news and posts), and the option to make follow primary.  If enabled, “Follow” will be the primary action when members view your profile. If you have creator mode turned on for your profile, turning this off will also turn creator mode off (and vice-versa).

Listen to this podcast episode about Creator Mode.

Understanding the Communications Section

This section provides controls to make sure you only get notified about what’s important to you. My preference is to keep LinkedIn away from my email and I do not allow any LinkedIn emails to come to my inbox. I highly recommend you take the time to reduce the number of emails LinkedIn send you as a way to improve your LinkedIn user experience.

Understanding the Data Privacy Section

This section is where you can manage how your data is used and download it anytime, your job seeking preferences and where you can control how associated accounts can use your data. It is in this section that you can export your LinkedIn connections.

Understanding the Advertising Data Section of Your Settings & Privacy

This section is where you can choose how your data is used to show you more relevant ads. Can you turn ads off? No, unfortunately.  In this section  you can choose what type of data you would like LinkedIn to use to show you more relevant ads. Be careful! I would not provide LinkedIn (or any online platform) with too much information about your that’s not relevant to your goals for LinkedIn.

Karen Hollenbach

Karen Hollenbach

As the Founding Director of Think Bespoke I help individuals and organisations unlock their potential with LinkedIn. Sign up to my E-insights for LinkedIn tips.

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