Do you know how to control who sees your email address, who can send you messages, how to change what kind of notifications you receive, or how to block spammers on LinkedIn?
Would it be helpful to know that you are unknowingly sending people to your competitors’ profiles and discover how you can stop doing that with one LinkedIn setting?
You can find these and numerous other helpful features within LinkedIn’s Settings & Privacy area.
In this post I am going to share the complete breakdown of all the LinkedIn Privacy & Settings features that are available to you, so you can confidently navigate it like a pro.
Navigate LinkedIn Settings & Privacy Like A Pro
To access your LinkedIn Settings & Privacy area, hover over your image, located in the top right corner of the page and click on Settings & Privacy.
This will open the Settings & Privacy page on LinkedIn.
At the top of the page you will see your profile image and headline as well as the date you joined LinkedIn and how many connections you have. If you have a paid LinkedIn account, this will also be listed, below your number of connections.
Just below this you will see the main navigation, which offers four options – Account, Privacy, Ads and Communications.
Account Section in Settings & Privacy
The Account area is broken down into five sections – Login and security, Site preferences, Subscriptions and payments, Partners and services and Account management.
Login and security
The first section under Login and security deals with Email addresses associated with your account. You will have at least one email address here, which will be your primary email address. In this area you can add a new email address, change the primary email addresses associated with your account or remove an email address from the account.
Under Phone numbers you can add a phone number to your account, just in case you have trouble signing in, to prove you are a real person (if activity looks suspicious) and to enable two-step verification. People who know your phone number can also use it to find you on LinkedIn.
This area is also where you can edit your Password. Additionally, you can see the date of the last time you changed your password.
You can keep track of where you have logged in from (and NOT logged out of) from the Where you’re signed in section. See where you are currently logged in from as well as any other active sessions.
Each session includes the following information:
- Approximate location
- IP address
- IP address owner
Other active sessions include this information as well as the last date that session was active.
Manage all of your current active sessions (where and from what devices you are logged into LinkedIn) and sign out of any of them.
It is a good idea to log out of all active sessions regularly.
NOTE: Logout and contact LinkedIn if there are any current or active sessions that you think are not from you.
To logout of a session, click sign out and then enter your password.
Add an extra layer of security to your profile with Two-step verification.
You will need to add a phone number to activate this feature. Once this is set up, every time you log in, LinkedIn will text you a pin code, which you must enter to finish the login process.
The second section under the Account section lets you set a number of general site preferences.
You can quickly and easily change your primary Language.
In Autoplay videos, you can choose if you want videos in your newsfeed to auto-play.
Decide if you want to see the profile photo of other members on LinkedIn. You can change the setting to:
- No one
- Your connections
- Your network
- All LinkedIn members
I would recommend leaving this on All LinkedIn members, as the image can help you decide if they look like a real person or spam account.
Edit your preferences for your newsfeed on the Home page by clicking Feed preferences. This takes you to a separate page where you can follow or unfollow different influencers, companies and LinkedIn members as well as see those who are following you.
Clicking on Name, location, and industry will open the Edit intro box on your profile page, where you can edit your name, how your name is displayed, your headline, location, industry and badges.
Subscriptions and payments
Under the Manage Premium account setting, you can either subscribe to (purchase) a Premium LinkedIn subscription or manage your existing subscription if you are already a Premium member. In this are you can also see recent purchases under View purchase history.
Partners and services
In this section you can control how LinkedIn is connected or shares data with other platforms.
You can now access your LinkedIn network from within Microsoft apps and services and additionally, use data from your Microsoft account to improve your LinkedIn experience. For example, you can see LinkedIn insights, profiles of LinkedIn members or invite others to connect within applications like Outlook. Learn more about how LinkedIn and Microsoft are connected.
View and remove any third-party platforms you have authorized data sharing with, under Permitted Services.
Manage your Twitter activity and info on your LinkedIn account under Twitter settings. You can add additional Twitter accounts here as well as set which account is your Primary.
In this section you can merge duplicate accounts you own as well as close your LinkedIn account.
LinkedIn’s Privacy Section
The Privacy area is broken down into five sections – How others see your profile and network information, How others see your LinkedIn activity, How LinkedIn uses your data, Job seeking preferences and Blocking and hiding.
How others see your profile and network information
Under Edit your public profile, you can change how your profile appears to the general public (people not in your network) and search engines.
Here you can customize your vanity URL as well as select which parts of your profile you would like the public and search engines to be able to see. Generally, I would recommend that you make most of the sections in your profile visible to everyone. Remember that you want your prospects, clients and potential partners to be able to find you.
Under Who can see your email address, you can choose who on LinkedIn can see your email address in the Contact info section of your profile. You can set it to:
- Only you
- 1st-degree connections
- 1st and 2nd-degree connections
- Everyone on LinkedIn
The option you choose will largely depend on your industry and position.
For most people, I would recommend setting this to your 1st-degree connections, as you want to make it easy for prospects and potential partners to be able to reach out for you. If you are only connecting with quality connections, you won’t need to worry about potential spammers getting your email address.
Depending on your strategy and needs, you can further open this up to 1st and 2nd degree connections or Everyone on LinkedIn, if this makes more sense for you. If you are a well-known Influencer or CEO at a Fortune 500 Company, on the other hand, you may not want to share your email address and so can set this to Only you.
LinkedIn allows you to choose who can see your list of connections, with the Who can see your connections setting. If you are working to build your network and generate leads from LinkedIn, I would set this to Your connections.
The Viewers of this profile also viewed setting is one of the few settings I actually recommend that you turn off.
When this feature is on, people who are viewing your profile will see a list of LinkedIn members that other people have also looked at, when looking for someone like you (aka your competitors). Having this on your profile can lead people off your profile page and on to your competitor’s profiles.
Regardless of what you are using LinkedIn for, you should always set the Who can see your last name setting to your full name. This is a social business network, so it not only makes you look more professional to have your full name listed but it also makes it easier for prospects to find you.
Depending on your purpose and who your work for, it can be a good idea to set Representing your organization and interests setting on LinkedIn to Yes. When this is on, it may show your name or profile picture with content about your employer when you take certain actions.
The Profile visibility off LinkedIn setting allows you to show or hide your profile to those using permitted third-party services and other partners.
If you are currently job hunting, you might want to allow Microsoft Word’s Resume Assistant to grab the experience sections from your LinkedIn profile in the Microsoft Word section.
How others see your LinkedIn activity
Change what others will see, when you view their profile, with the Profile Viewing Options. As you will often be viewing the profiles of prospects or potential partners, I would recommend leaving this set as Your name and headline.
Like many other social media platforms, you can now have an active status set, so others know when you are logged in and using the platform. With the Manage active status setting you can choose to appear active to:
- Your connections only
- All LinkedIn members
- No one
The right setting for you will be a mix of personal choice, your use of the platform and who you are (CEO vs. sales rep).
There are times when you will want your Sharing profile edits setting turned on and times when you don’t. For example, you would want it turned off when you are looking for a new job (unless you aren’t concerned if your existing employer knows) or if you are doing a lot of changes over multiple sessions. A time when you might want to turn this setting on is after you get a new job and would like to share it with your connections.
LinkedIn will notify your network when you are mentioned in an article or the news, depending on your Notifying connections when you’re in the news setting. I would leave this set as Yes, as you are not likely to be mentioned in other people’s blog posts unless you are an expert on your topic – and this is a great way to increase your authority with your network.
You can also choose to notify your network when other LinkedIn members mention you in a post or comment. Again, this can be a great way to build your authority.
How LinkedIn uses your data
Under the Manage your data and activity section, you can review and manage different types of data that you have provided and actions you have recently taken.
To manage one of your recent actions, click the down arrow to the right of the action and follow the directions provided.
In the Download your data section, you can download and save archives of your account data including:
- Imported Contacts
In the next two sections, Manage who can discover your profile from your email address and Manage who can discover your profile from your phone number, you can control who can find your profile using your email address and phone number. You can choose from:
- 2nd-degree connections
I would recommend you set this to Everybody, for both settings, especially if you are using LinkedIn for lead generation. If they already have your email address or phone number, then they are likely someone you already know or someone who is very interested in connecting with you.
The next two settings deal with managing or syncing your contacts and calendar with your phone or Google account. You can click on Sync contacts or Sync calendar to take you to the Manage Contacts and Calendar Sync page.
If you have submitted salary data to LinkedIn, you can see and delete this information from the Salary data on LinkedIn section.
If you have recently changed jobs or locations, you may want to delete your history using the Advanced Search in the Search history section. I would NOT recommend that you do this if you are using LinkedIn for lead generation purposes and haven’t experienced a recent change as only you can see your search history. LinkedIn simply uses this information to provide you with better search results each time you search, based on your previous searches.
Control whether you allow LinkedIn to share some of your data to their trusted third-party partners for research in the Social, economic and workplace research section. Simply set this to no, if you wish to opt out of this.
Job seeking preferences
Appear in recruiter searches matching your career interests by setting the Let Recruiters know you’re open to opportunities section to yes.
You can increase your chances of being viewed by job posters, by sharing your full profile with them after you click apply, by setting the Sharing your profile when you click apply setting to Yes.
Manage or delete any job applicant accounts you have (these are created after you apply for a job on LinkedIn) that are currently stored, in the Stored job applicant accounts section.
Choose whether you would like to save any job application answers you have entered into job applications under the Saving job application answers section.
Blocking and hiding
You can set who can follow you and see your public updates in the Followers section. This can be set to:
- Everyone on LinkedIn
- Your connections
I would recommend setting this to Everyone on LinkedIn as you want prospects and potential partners who you are not already connected to, to be able to see and engage with your status updates. Remember, this is a social network for business.
Turning this setting on is also especially important if you are an influencer or have a large network, as you can only have a maximum of 30,000 1st-degree connections. This allows LinkedIn members to follow and engage with you and your content, even if you do not want to connect with them.
You can see a list of LinkedIn members you have blocked in the Blocking section. Simply click Unblock to the right of their name and image, if you wish to unblock them.
You can also see a list of the people you have unfollowed in the newsfeed in the Unfollowed section. If you would like to refollow someone, simply click Remove, to the right of their name and image.
Ads (LinkedIn’s Advertising Section)
The Ads area is broken down into three sections – General advertising preferences, Data collected on LinkedIn and Third party data.
General advertising preferences
You can make the ads you see on LinkedIn more relevant to you, by turning on the Insights on websites you visited setting. This setting only controls if more relevant ads are delivered to you while using LinkedIn but will not actually decrease the number of ads you see.
If you want to increase the relevance of ads about LinkedIn shown to you when you are NOT on LinkedIn, you can turn on the Ads beyond LinkedIn setting. Again, turning this off will not decrease the number of ads you see about LinkedIn, just their personalization.
You can further personalize ads and promoted jobs you see with the Profile data for ad personalization setting. This adds your profile photo and or profile info to the ad to personalize the content. Keep in mind that only you will see ads that include your photo.
Data collected on LinkedIn
You can further improve the personalization of ads you see on LinkedIn under the Data collected on LinkedIn sections, which include:
- Interest categories
- Companies you follow
- Job information
Third party data
Additionally, you can have more personalized ads served to you on LinkedIn, when you edit the Interactions with businesses and Ad-related actions settings. These settings personalize the ads you see based on the permissions you have given businesses or actions you have taken on previous ads.
Communications from LinkedIn
The Communications area is broken down into four sections – Channels, Preferences, Groups and LinkedIn messages.
Clicking on the Notifications on LinkedIn setting takes you to a page where you can manage what kind of notifications you receive on the notifications page.
LinkedIn allows you to control (in great detail) what kinds of emails you get from LinkedIn and how often you get them in the Email frequency settings. This area is broken down into:
- Invitations and messages
- Jobs and opportunities
- Activity in your network
- Activity that involves you
- News and articles
- Updates from your groups
- Offers and tips from LinkedIn
Invitations and messages
While all of the emails you receive under the Invitations and messages section are important (invites to connect, accepted invites, messages from connections, etc.) and I would advise you to have them turned on, you may want to change how often you receive these. You can choose from:
- Individual Notifications
Jobs and opportunities
In the Jobs and opportunities area, there are a number of different email types relating to jobs that you can choose to turn on or off.
Activity in your network
Decide how often you want to receive emails about your connections such as when they are in the news or get a new job. I would recommend leaving these all on if you are using LinkedIn for lead generation, as these are notifications of important trigger events for your prospects, although you may wish to change the frequency that you receive them.
Activity that involves you
I would definitely recommend leaving on all emails that involve you, but again this is particularly important if you are working to generate more business using LinkedIn.
You do not want to miss out on the opportunity to reply to or engage with people who have in some way reached out or engaged with you or your content. If it feels like you are getting too many emails or are not being notified soon enough, you can modify the frequency you receive each type of email.
News and articles
Choose whether or not you would like to receive emails that relate to news and articles that you follow.
Updates from your groups
Manage what emails you get from each of the different LinkedIn Groups you belong to in the Updates from your groups section.
Offers and tips from LinkedIn
LinkedIn will occasionally send you emails with tips, lessons and recommended courses from the LinkedIn Learning Center, if you choose to receive them.
Control who can send you invites to connect in the Who can send you invitations section. You can choose from:
- Everyone on LinkedIn (recommended)
- Only people who know your email address or appear in your “Imported Contacts” list
- Only people who appear in your “Imported Contacts” list
I would recommend you leave this set to Everyone on LinkedIn. If there is someone you do not want to connect with, you can simply ignore their invite or block that person altogether.
While you can choose to turn off InMail and Open Profile messages in the Messages from members and partners section, I would recommend you leave these on. Turning these off will inhibit your ability to use LinkedIn as a lead generation platform.
On the other hand, you can also choose to turn off Sponsored InMails in this section.
If you are trying to build relationships with your connections and generate more business on LinkedIn, I would recommend leaving your read receipts on, in the Read receipts and typing indicators section – but only IF you generally respond quickly after reading a messages.
You can choose whether or not you would like to see the handy reply suggestions from LinkedIn within their message center, in the Messaging reply suggestions section.
You can control whether or not you would like to receive LinkedIn Group invites in the Groups area.
Choose whether or not you would like to receive invites to participate in research on LinkedIn, in the LinkedIn messages area.
Summary: LinkedIn Settings & Privacy Features
I hope this breakdown of LinkedIn’s Settings & Privacy area has enabled you to confidently turn on and off the various privacy and communications settings that work best for you.
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a social network and the point is to BE social.
Aggressively clamping down on your privacy and communications setting will not benefit your ability to find or be found by new leads and prospects, which is ultimately the point of using LinkedIn for many professionals.
What do you think of the LinkedIn settings and privacy features? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you found this article helpful, please share it so your network can also stay up to date on using LinkedIn. They will thank you. 😉