Linkedin LogoRecently a question from one of my networking colleagues took me by surprise: “Should my LinkedIn profile be public or private?”

Being a marketing specialist, I advocate personal social profiles be public, but I also looked at potential advantages/disadvantages for keeping this info private. Here’s my short list below:

  1. I don’t want everyone to see it. No problem. People won’t see your profile if: a) they are not a direct (1st-level) or 2nd-level connection; b) if they don’t have a premium account. Think about the unintended consequences of this action (will discuss below).
  2. I don’t want to be spammed. Great point, and yes — keeping your profile private will keep this annoying problem from happening.
  3. I don’t want to be stalked. Another great point. Hiding your profile will handle this issue well, but is not foolproof.

Unintended consequences resulting from keeping your profile private may not seem like a big deal, but could prove to be down the road. Below I’m outlining a few points to consider. By the way, according to LinkedIn, if you choose to switch your profile from public to private, it may take a few weeks before the search engines catch up.

Now, my reasons for keeping your profile public:

  1. Job searches. Everyone knows job searching has been very tough since the decline in 2009. Potential job employers are searching LinkedIn profiles by both job titles (current and past) and your skill sets. By keeping your profile public and posting 1-2 updates per day, you will increase your chances of being viewed by a potential employer. Unintended consequence: your profile won’t turn up in Google or Bing search results. Think about your strategy for finding employment.
  2. Project searches. This is, to me, the same as landing job opportunities. You have great thoughts and a strong background in your industry. When you participate in groups daily (keep your target market in mind!) and post 1-2 updates per day to your own profile, you will be found more often in Google searches. Unintended consequence: you are invisible, and potential projects could wind up in your competition’s arms.
  3. Influencer marketing. Businesses look ways to not only reach their target market, but also those influencers that positively resonate with their target market. Could you find an influencer if their LinkedIn profile was marked private? Likely not.

Bottom line:

  • Hiring managers look at profiles to determine the legitimacy and credibility of a potential candidate;
  • CEOs and business owners look at both the personal profile and the business page to confirm the credibility of a potential contract or project award;
  • Marketers look at profiles to find the influencers of a particular industry, including groups they participate in, posts/blogs they follow, and brands they support.

If you know other reasons to keep your profile private, please share them here — I enjoy learning from others! If you want help setting up your profile or business page, please contact me here.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.


Author Details
Lisa Raymond is the owner and creative genius of Visibly Media. She has been in graphic and website design for over 20 consecutive years, social media management & marketing since 2007, married 30 years, 4 children, 3 grandbabies, and Queen in her organized realm of chaos!