Last month, I delivered two webinars for Meetingjobs: LinkedIn for Beginners and Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile. During the Q&A period, I fielded a variety of concerns surrounding personal privacy on the Internet. The driving question was, “How much information should I display in my public LinkedIn profile?” I suspect that some LinkedIn members don’t realize that they can opt in – or out – of different privacy settings on LinkedIn. Why? Because LinkedIn makes them difficult to find.
How much information you display publicly is a matter of personal choice. Other than vanity URLs (like www.openmindworks.com or www.oprah.com), LinkedIn member profile URLs rank the highest in search engine results. If you Google your name and your LinkedIn profile aren’t returned in the top three results, there’s a problem with your profile optimization. But that’s a blog for another day. I do think that it’s important to display at least one type of way to reach your publicly – whether it’s a cell phone number or an email address. Address information, however, is simply unnecessary.
To review or edit your privacy settings, login and click on the drop-down menu under your name at the top-right. Under “Helpful Links,” click on “Edit Your Public Profile.” This screen will display how your profile appears in Google and other search engine results. The more you choose to reveal, the easier you are to find. I display virtually every aspect of my profile with the exception of my headshot. That is my personal choice, although my photo is already on Google in a variety of different capacities. The information that I reveal in my profile differentiates me from the seven other Lesley Kyle profiles on LinkedIn.
If you choose to reveal little information about yourself in your public profile, that’s up to you. Likewise, you may choose to take the same stance that I’ve taken and reveal more than less. Remember, however, that you can change your privacy settings at any time. Google results can often take several weeks to update. I changed a privacy setting of my own for the purpose of this article and the results updated on the public Google version of my profile immediately. With the ease-of-access to information that today’s technology presents, the details that you may choose to obscure from your profile today will likely be found online somewhere else tomorrow.