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2. LinkedIn Account and Privacy Settings (Based on member discussions, research, and experimentation.)

Steps: 1. LinkedIn tips and traps  2. Check account settings  3. Optimize profile  4. Optimize positions  5. Use networking features  6. Get the emails you want  

Trap: Before making changes, be sure to turn off the share with network feature -- unless you want your current managers and co-workers to find out that you are on the move.

Your account. The objective is that you receive job leads and requests to connect -- but have reasonable privacy.

- A paid LinkedIn membership is of little value over a free membership -- unless you are seeking sales leads or promoting a business. To try to sell you a paid membership, LinkedIn's system will say "You appeared in 4 searches this week" or "2 people viewed your profile" -- even for the most uninformative profile.

- Google yourself -- with your name in quotation marks -- to be sure you don't have a forgotten LinkedIn account. If you have a common name, run searches that include an employer name. Repeat with each employer you have ever had. Repeat if you have worked under another name. If you find a duplicate account, you can get it deleted or merged. An inactive account will stay on the system -- causing confusion and making you look suspicious or careless.

- Setting up a free LinkedIn account is easy -- and requires only name, email address, and password. Start at the LinkedIn homepage. Skip the requests for additional personal information. Once your account is open,  follow our steps to refine your account settings, profile, positions, networking, and notifications.

- LinkedIn sends job leads, requests to connect, and notifications to your primary address. (Your email address is hidden -- messages via LinkedIn use randomized LinkedIn addresses.) For most people, this should be a personal email address. That ensures that you maintain control of your account through changes in employment, provides privacy, and avoids important emails being inadvertently discarded by a company firewall. Change LinkedIn email address      

- Do not let LinkedIn copy or sync your address book.

Privacy on LinkedIn.

Unless you change the defaults, LinkedIn exposes too much about you. Even so...

LinkedIn is not private. What you join, follow, post, comment on, or "like" is potentially available to recruiters, hiring managers, prospective business partners, and your connections -- but also potentially available to rivals, competing companies, scammers, and identity thieves. In addition, LinkedIn has been breached in the past.

As with any social networking system, you are not the customer, you are the product.

The whole point of LinkedIn is to allow recruiters to search for candidates, salespeople to hunt for prospects, and people to connect with each other.

LinkedIn says: "Generally, your profile is fully visible to all LinkedIn members who've signed in to LinkedIn.com or our apps." LinkedIn - What People Can See 

Recruiters pay thousands of dollars per year for very powerful searching, tracking, and monitoring tools -- they reportedly have almost full access to your account regardless of your privacy settings. LinkedIn tells recruiters how to search.

People who work in sensitive roles -- finance, computer security, classified -- recommend special care in what you disclose on social media. A current or former employer may have restrictions.

As you would expect, LinkedIn is a hunting ground for scammers -- fake recruiters and career consultants, "hidden job market" scams, questionable business opportunities -- and harvesting personal info for identity theft or targeted phishing messages.

Check and adjust your account, security, visibility, privacy, advertising, and notifications settings.

Click the pulldown arrow under your photo (next to "Me") Then select "Settings & Privacy." Go through the settings under each of the subheads. Each setting has a "Learn more" link that opens a new tab explaining what the setting does.

Question? Email: info@hpalumni.org  (Apr 23, 2024)  

Next step -- Profile:  Optimize your LinkedIn profile so that recruiters and hiring managers will find you.

Return to first article in this series: "LinkedIn Tips and Traps - How LinkedIn Really Works."

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