Control Your LinkedIn Profile

If you have avoided creating a LinkedIn profile because you are in a practice (prosecutor, judge, advocacy, healthcare, etc.) that requires more personal privacy, or for you are hesitant to use social media, the good news is that with a little know-how you can have a LinkedIn profile for professional development and networking and keep it as open or closed as you want to.  If you already have a LinkedIn profile make sure you know what you are sharing, with whom and that you have some control over the settings with these tips below.

LinkedIn has organized the settings for your account, privacy and communications into a new and easier to use portal. To get there mouse over your avatar (your picture) in the upper right corner of LinkedIn on a browser (or the gear icon in your profile in the mobile app).  Click on “Manage” next to “Privacy and Settings” that appears in the drop down menu.

One thing to keep in mind as you adjust your settings – there are two levels of exposure to your LinkedIn profile – public (anyone can see) and connections (must be connected with you on LinkedIn and logged into their to see).

Public Exposure

Unless restricted, your full LinkedIn profile is available to search engines such as Google and Bing, as well as those searching LinkedIn. You can change what information is available to those who you are not connected with by going into Privacy and Settings – Manage – Privacy – Edit Your Public Profile. On the right hand side you can choose to make your profile visible to no one, or make certain portions visible by toggling the boxes on and off.  To maintain a high level of privacy, but still be found by friends and colleagues, choose “headline” and perhaps “summary” which provides your name, your location (Chicago, Greater Chicago Area) and your industry (law, etc.) and the summary you wrote.

Keep in mind, any time you add new information such as publications and organizations go back and make sure this information is left off your public profile.

Want to see what your profile looks like to the public? In LinkedIn through a browser go to Profile – Edit Profile and in the box with your name and picture click the blue button that says “View Profile As”.  On the resulting page look at the top and toggle to see how your page looks to connections versus the public.

You Looking At Me?

In LinkedIn if you look at another person’s profile they will be alerted and aware that you have done so. If you are researching a judge or juror, looking up opposing counsel or your client you may not want them to know you are looking at their LinkedIn profile. You can choose to look at people’s profiles in “private mode” which will show them that an “anonymous LinkedIn member” viewed their profile. The downside is that by choosing to be anonymous you do not get to see who is looking at your profile. To do this go to your privacy settings and click “Profile Viewing Options” and choose which mode you want to be in. You can toggle this setting on and off as desired.

 

Check Your Connections

LinkedIn is all about connections. You are connected to individual people, companies, organizations, groups, schools and other networks. This is why LinkedIn is such a powerful tool. However, you may not want to share information about who you are connected to, as well a list of other profiles people view when they look at yours.

In your privacy settings scroll to “who can see your connections” and then choose “only you” from the drop down list and no one else will see who you are connected with on LinkedIn.  Scroll a little further to “viewers of this profile also viewed” and toggle the switch to “no” so that people do not see a list of people in your profile.

Also, if you do not want people to send your connection requests just because they have your email or phone number in their contacts scroll down in Privacy to “Data privacy and advertising” and choose “Nobody” in the drop down options for “Suggesting you as a connection based on your email address” and “Suggesting you as a connection based on your phone number”.

TMI (Too Much Information)

You can control how much or how little information you put into your LinkedIn profile, and you can update your profile at any time. However, LinkedIn will share any updates you make with your connections. To be able to update your profile without notifications being sent out go into your settings and under “Privacy” toggle to “no” in “Sharing profile edits”.  Continue to scroll to the Data Privacy and advertising section to toggle off sharing data with third parties.

Finally, if you are newer to LinkedIn or not as active you can turn off “How You Rank”, which compares you to your connections and colleague in terms of profile views.

In Case of Emergency

While you can control the information LinkedIn shares about you and with whom, you still need to apply best security practices.  Use a unique, strong password and change it occasionally (password managers like LastPass and Dashlane make that a lot easier). Also, turn on two factor authentication. You will need to enter your cell phone number and then when you log in you will also need a 6 digit code sent to your cell phone number, in addition to your password, to log in. You can choose to trust certain devices, like your smartphone and laptop, so you don’t have to add the code every time you login. What two factor authentication does is it keeps a third party who may know your email address and guess your password from logging into your account, since they don’t (hopefully) have your phone as well. To turn on two factor authentication go to settings, then to privacy then security and activate two-step verification.

Conclusion

Locking down your LinkedIn profile will help keep your privacy intact. Choose who you connect with carefully, as there is no granular permission for connections and they can see everything that you publish or add to your profile. As long as you know who you are linking with LinkedIn can be a great extension of networking in person, and often now people “meet” in cyberspace before they meet in person. So, tweak those settings and enjoy one of the biggest business communities in the world!

To learn more about LinkedIn you can set up a consultation with the LPMT team, watch a How To… video at www.chicagobar.org/howto or sign up for a hands on class.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of the CBA Record.

About Catherine Reach

Catherine Sanders Reach is the Director of Law Practice Management & Technology at the Chicago Bar Association.