LinkedIn Privacy Settings and How they Effect Your Job Search

linkedin privacy settingsWhile I’m all about increasing your online visibility during a job search, privacy and security are still concerns. This includes LinkedIn. So it’s important to understand the options you have when it comes to LinkedIn privacy settings.

Who can you block? Who you can allow? What information you can make visible and to whom?

LinkedIn is evolving. Which means great things to its community members.

Often, however, evolution comes at the expense of knowing how to maintain the balance of privacy and visibility. A thorough look at the LinkedIn Help section can tell you much. But we’ve done the work for you.

Here is what you need to know about LinkedIn privacy settings and policies…

Who Can View You?

  • LinkedIn members who are signed in to can view your profile. If your settings allow InMail messages, Premium account holders may be able to see your full profile. You can still block these members, regardless of their status.
  • Third-degree connections and fellow group members with free accounts will only see your first name and last initial. They are also limited to the top section of your profile.
  • What happens if a member searches by your first and last name? Unless you have blocked them, they can see your full profile.
  • Anyone whom you block will have no access to your profile. Your profile will not be visible to them.

What Other Information Can You Control?

  • You CAN control whether your connections see the updates you make to your profile by turning off your broadcasts. This function also controls whether your connections can view the companies you follow and your connections. It also controls activity or postings to your timeline.
  • You CAN control whether people see your name, photo, or headline when you look at their profile.
  • You CAN control whether your first-degree connections see your other connections or make them visible only to you.
  • Your photo CAN be made visible to everyone on LinkedIn, or only your first-degree connections or network.
  • You CAN dictate what kinds of invitations and messages other members can send you, including group invites.
  • You CAN change your profile display name to non-first degree connections. That way, they only see your first name and first letter of your last name. First turn off your public profile. After that, your first-degree connections always see your full name, regardless of your settings.
  • Only first-degree connections can see your email address. (That, and people you have messaged before who have added you to their LinkedIn contacts.)

Blocking Individual Members

  • You CAN block individual members, whether you are connected or not. Do so by selecting the Block or Report option on their profile page. When you do this, they won’t be able to access your profile. And they can’t message you or view you in the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile Section.” Any existing connection, endorsement, or recommendation linked to this person will no longer be available.
  • As of right now, you can only block individuals directly. You can not groups or individuals based on company name or other group-based criteria. (I’ve contacted LinkedIn about making this an available feature, but no progress as of yet.)
  • Blocking is mutual for you and the other person – you will no longer have access to their profile as well.
  • Blocking DOES NOT apply to information that you have made public. This includes content posted in open group discussions, public shares, and comments. Review your Public Profile Settings to determine what information you are currently making public.
  • If you have a mutual connection with the blocked person, that mutual connection may still re-share content from you.
  • You CANNOT block anonymous viewers of your profile.
  • You CANNOT block someone who is the manager of a group of which you are a part of. Leave the group first, and then opt to block the person. If you manage the group and you’d like to block a member, you must first remove them from the group.
  • Cached data from a mobile device or third-party application using LinkedIn’s API allows your information to be viewed.
  • Blocking DOES NOT apply to LinkedIn Pulse.

Beyond LinkedIn Privacy Settings

Outside of LinkedIn Privacy settings, you should also pay attention to the content and tone in your profile. If your goal is to keep a job search quiet, avoid using language that positions you as a job seeker.

Focus instead on creating and leveraging your profile as a tool for promoting your personal brand. Highlight skills and strengths, utilize the right kinds of keywords, and create a compelling summary.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.




DanaAbout the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses. She also offers career transition coaching and business consulting.

Dana has helped hundreds of professionals execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities. Her advice is featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay,, GlassDoor and Follow Dana on Twitter!



This entry was posted in LinkedIn and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.