LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with over 800 million members and 55 million companies. It is a powerful platform for building your personal brand, expanding your network, finding new opportunities, and showcasing your skills and achievements. However, with great power comes great responsibility. You also need to be aware of the potential risks and challenges that come with using LinkedIn, such as identity theft, phishing, spam, harassment, and reputation damage. In this article, we will explore why privacy and security are important on LinkedIn, and how you can protect your profile and reputation from malicious actors.
Why Privacy and Security Matter on LinkedIn
Privacy and security are essential for any online activity, but especially for LinkedIn, where you share sensitive information about yourself, your career, and your connections. Here are some of the reasons why you should care about your privacy and security on LinkedIn:
- Your profile is your online resume. Your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of your professional identity and credibility. It showcases your education, work experience, skills, endorsements, recommendations, achievements, and interests. It also reveals your contact information, location, network size, activity level, and preferences. All of this information can be used by potential employers, clients, partners, or competitors to evaluate you and your suitability for various opportunities. Therefore, you want to make sure that your profile is accurate, complete, consistent, and up-to-date. You also want to control who can see your profile and what they can see about you.
- Your network is your social capital. Your LinkedIn network consists of people you know and trust professionally, such as colleagues, classmates, mentors, clients, or industry influencers. These are people who can help you advance your career, provide you with valuable insights, referrals, or feedback, or collaborate with you on projects or initiatives. Your network also reflects your reputation and influence in your field or industry. Therefore, you want to make sure that your network is relevant, authentic, and diverse. You also want to protect your network from being accessed or exploited by unauthorized or malicious parties.
- Your activity is your online presence. Your LinkedIn activity includes everything you do on the platform, such as posting updates or articles, liking or commenting on other people’s posts, joining or participating in groups or events, sending or receiving messages or invitations, following or unfollowing companies or influencers, viewing or applying for jobs or courses, etc. Your activity demonstrates your engagement level, interests,knowledge level, and opinions on various topics or issues related to your profession or industry. Therefore, you want to make sure that your activity is appropriate,relevant,and respectful.You also want to avoid spamming,trolling,or oversharing on LinkedIn.
How to Protect Your Profile and Reputation on LinkedIn
Fortunately,LinkedIn provides you with various settings and options that allow you to manage your account information,privacy preferences,ads settings,and communication notifications.
You can access these settings by clicking the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and selecting Settings & Privacy from the dropdown Here are some of the key settings and best practices that you can use to protect your profile and reputation on LinkedIn:
Change your password every few months
Don’t use the same password on all the sites you visit. Don’t use a word from the dictionary. Select strong passwords,with 10 or more characters,that can’t easily be guessed. Think of a meaningful phrase,song or quote and turn it into a complex password using the first letter of each word. Randomly add capital letters, punctuation or symbols. Substitute numbers for letters that look similar (for example, substitute “0” for “o” or “3” for “E”). Never give your password to others or write it down.
Block unknown followers
Blocking unknown followers on LinkedIn can help protect your profile and reputation on the platform in several ways. Here’s how:
- Prevent unwanted interactions: When you block unknown followers on LinkedIn, you prevent them from viewing your profile and sending you messages or connection requests. This can be helpful in preventing unwanted interactions with people you don’t know or don’t want to engage with.
- Avoid spam and scams: LinkedIn is a platform that is often used for professional networking, but it can also attract spammers and scammers looking to exploit users for various reasons. By blocking unknown followers, you can avoid receiving spam or falling victim to scams that can damage your profile and reputation.
- Protect your privacy: LinkedIn is a public platform, but you can control who can see your profile and what information they can access. By blocking unknown followers, you can protect your privacy and ensure that your personal information is only visible to people you trust.
- Maintain a professional image: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, and your profile and activities on the platform can impact your professional image and reputation. By blocking unknown followers, you can ensure that your profile is only visible to people who are relevant to your professional network, which can help you maintain a positive image.
- Avoid inappropriate content: Blocking unknown followers can also help you avoid inappropriate content that may be shared by people you don’t know or don’t trust. This can help you maintain a clean and professional profile, which is essential for building a strong professional network on LinkedIn.
Also, it’s important to know how to unblock someone on LinkedIn.
Manage your profile viewing mode
This setting lets you choose how you appear to other users when you visit their profiles. If you activate the private mode,your profile will be hidden from the users whose pages you’ve visited,but you will also lose the ability to see who viewed your profile,unless you have a premium subscription. If you activate the semi-private mode,you can choose to show only your job title and company,or only your industry and region,or only your school,or only LinkedIn Members. If you activate the public mode,you can show your full name and headline. You can change this setting depending on your purpose and preference for visiting other profiles.
Manage your profile visibility
This setting lets you control who can see your profile,network, and LinkedIn activity. You can choose to make your profile visible to everyone,to your connections only,or to no one. You can also customize which sections of your profile are visible to others,such as your photo, headline, summary, contact information, education, work experience, skills, endorsements, recommendations, accomplishments, interests, etc. You can also decide who can see your connections, your last name, your email address, your phone number, and your birthday. You can also turn off or on the sharing of profile changes with your network, such as when you update your headline, add a new position, or receive a recommendation.
Manage your data privacy
This setting lets you configure privacy and security settings related to how LinkedIn uses your data, job seeking preferences, and other applications. You can choose to allow or block LinkedIn from using your data for advertising purposes, research purposes, or third-party services. You can also choose to share or hide your job seeking activity from recruiters or your current employer. You can also manage the permissions of the applications that you have connected to your LinkedIn account, such as Outlook, Gmail, Twitter, etc. You can also download a copy of your LinkedIn data, such as your profile information, connections, messages, activity, etc.
Manage your advertising
This setting lets you control the information that LinkedIn uses to show you relevant ads by adjusting your account’s ads settings. You can choose to opt out of interest-based advertising, which means that LinkedIn will not use information from your profile, activity, or third-party data providers to show you ads that match your interests. You can also choose to opt out of matched audiences advertising, which means that LinkedIn will not use information from advertisers or partners to show you ads that are targeted to specific audiences. You can also view and edit the categories of information that LinkedIn uses to show you ads, such as demographics, education, skills, job function, etc.
Manage your notifications
This setting lets you enable or disable the types of notifications you want to receive and how often you wish to receive them. You can choose to receive notifications via email, SMS, push notifications, or browser notifications. You can also choose the frequency of the notifications, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or as they happen. You can also customize the notifications based on different categories, such as invitations, messages, endorsements, recommendations, jobs, courses, articles, posts, comments, likes, follows, groups, events, etc.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for building and maintaining your professional network and reputation. However, it also comes with some risks and challenges that require you to be vigilant and proactive about your privacy and security. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this article, you can protect your profile and reputation from potential threats and enjoy the benefits of LinkedIn safely and securely