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LinkedIn privacy control settings

Have you ever wondered why some of your connections blow up the activity feed on your LinkedIn home page? You know what I’m referring to: You see Jack Smith started following 20 companies, updated six sections on his profile and gave four recommendations all within two hours. Does it make you feel the same as when someone EMAILS YOU IN ALL CAPS!?!?! It’s loud, obnoxious and surely not necessary.

It’s likely that Jack doesn’t realize what’s happening when he makes all these adjustments. Two people join LinkedIn every second and most people don’t understand every subtlety, but there are a few very important LinkedIn privacy control settings that everyone should know about.

The most important LinkedIn privacy control settings

Let me share with you five key adjustments you need to make and understand on your LinkedIn settings. You can change these as many times as you like, but understanding what they do is important to managing your LinkedIn presence. Access these controls at the top right corner of your LinkedIn page, where you can hover over your name and select “Settings” in the drop down menu > Profile > Privacy Controls.

  1. Turn on/off your activity broadcasts: This refers specifically to the scenario mentioned above with Jack and his over-sharing. By unchecking the box in this setting, you are eliminating the posts that would go to your network’s activity feed. Any changes you make to your profile, recommendations you write and companies you follow will not be shared in your activity feed or with those who are connected with you. This box is particularly important to uncheck if you’re looking for a job and don’t want your current employer to see that you are actively updating your profile. Personally, I always leave this unchecked because I am constantly tweaking my profile and following new companies. Note: an updated photo and new groups will always go out to your network.
  2. Select who can see your activity feed: This setting is specific to content (articles, videos) you share on LinkedIn with your network. While most of the time I say that everyone’s strategy is different on LinkedIn, this is the place where we should all be consistent: change this setting to “Everyone.” The more information we find valuable that we want to share with our network, the more often we will be top-of-mind with our connections. We live in a world of give and take. LinkedIn is exempt from this in that the more you give on LinkedIn (i.e. sharing articles with your network, commenting on your connection’s posts, etc.) the more you receive. (Note: if you turn off your activity broadcasts as mentioned in #1, people still see the content you share if you set activity feed to ‘everyone’.)
  3. Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile: Remember that give-to-get bit I just mentioned? Here is another setting where the more you share, the more you can see in return. Since I’m sure you have a professional picture, a rockin’ headline full of keywords that describe you and your location (you do, right?), please select the top and recommended choice in this setting so that people can see who you are when you view them on LinkedIn. Keep in mind that if you select either of the other two options, when you want to see who has checked out your profile…what you see will match the setting you chose.
  4. Select who can see your connections: The default on this LinkedIn setting it that your first-degree connections can see all of your connections. Giving your connections the opportunity to peek into your network presents the true value of LinkedIn: connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. Keeping this setting as-is allows your connections to request introductions to people they may want to meet through you. All this being said, there are some industries that should keep their connections private only to themselves (i.e. financial planners, bankers) and companies and teams that are particularly competitive.
  5. Change your profile photo & visibility: One of the single most important elements to your profile is your professional photo. Without one, you are losing opportunities to connect with new people and losing credibility on LinkedIn. This is another setting where it is critical to select “Everyone.”

 While there are dozens of settings on LinkedIn to tinker with, these five key LinkedIn privacy control settings are important to manage on an ongoing basis.

Have you found other good ways to manage your LinkedIn privacy control settings and presence? Leave a comment or get in touch. We’d love to hear about it.

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