LinkedIn is a wonderful social network that helps connect professionals to others in their field.  As far as a networking tool, it is incredibly useful.  However, just because you would like to connect with others of similar interest does not mean you want everyone to know your every move. Being that LinkedIn uses your activities to help others find and connect to you and vice-versa; this information can be detrimental in the wrong hands. In order to help you make the most of your LinkedIn experience, there are certain steps you should take to protect your privacy. Here are three ways to do just that.

  • View Your Account As Public: In order to know what you want people to see on your profile, it is a good idea to first find out just what they can currently see. LinkedIn makes it easy to see just what your profile looks like to the general public.  To view you profile as the general public, go to settings>edit public profile>view profile as public.
  • Turn Off Your Broadcasts: Every time I log into LinkedIn, my feed is full of who connected with who, who liked what post and who has added new skills amongst other activities.  This is because LinkedIn likes to tell you what everyone is doing.  There is a reason behind this seemingly nosy practice and that is to show you things you may have in common with others on the network. However, it may not always be a good idea to have everyone know that you are updating your LinkedIn profile or connecting with others in your field.  This is especially true if you are job hunting.  Nothing to get the boss fired up like seeing that his employees are connecting with the CEO of rival companies. So to keep everyone, including yourself, happy, turn off your broadcasts. Information on how to do this can be found here.
  • Remove Unnecessary Applications: There are wonderful applications that you can use with your LinkedIn profile.  Anything from posting your travel schedule to integrating your Twitter feed can be found.  However, while these applications can be a great way to let others in your network know how they can better connect with you, they can seriously violate your privacy.  This can happen a few different ways.  Primarily, when you sign up for an application you have to allow the application access to certain information on your profile.  Things like your connections and their information may now be shared in ways you (or your contacts) would not be comfortable with.  In addition, applications can change their functions at certain times and if you are not aware of exactly what applications are linked to what you could be in for some embarrassing oversharing. Therefore, it is best that you remove any application you do not deem absolutely necessary to your productivity and review the applications you do use for what information they are taking. To do this, go into Settings>My Applications and check the boxes for applications you deem unnecessary and then click “remove.”

Once again, we consumers are faced with balancing convenience and security.  These quick short steps should help you do just that.  For more information on security and privacy best practices, visit the LinkedIn help center.

“How To Protect Your Privacy on LinkedIn” was written by Nikki Junker.  Nikki is the Social Media Manager at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to www.idtheftcenter.org.