LinkedIn Checklist: 10 Tweaks for Control Freaks (Part 2)

the traffic lights on white backgroundA week ago, I posted Part 1 of my ten tips for better controlling your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s Part 2:

Control Tweak #6:  Customize your public profile (Settings > Profile > Edit your public profile)

LinkedIn lets you “control how you appear when people search for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.”

Thank you, LinkedIn.

One of the complexities of having a public profile on LinkedIn is that part of our credit worthiness comes from our career history. It stands to reason that some random individual with illegal intentions could use your LinkedIn profile — and other smatterings of data about you across the Internet — to create a profile in your name, and yes, even apply for and decimate your credit worthiness.

For this reason, I don’t allow LinkedIn to show my past positions publicly, and indeed, you may have other edits once you see the deep levels of customization LinkedIn offers.

Remember that information you’ve listed on your profile will still be fully visible to your connections, which gives good reason to know the people to whom  you are connected. Although even LinkedIn seems to be encouraging that we cast a much broader net these days.

While you’re on the page in question, scroll down and be sure you’ve customized your public profile.

Related post: How to Customize Your LinkedIn URL

Control Tweak #7: Edit your name, location and industry (Settings > Profile > Helpful Links)

I’d ignored this for several years, when in 2009 I took a training by Jason Alba ( author of “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?”) and he recommended that I change my profile headline from “Principal” to “Executive Resume Writer.”

The effectiveness of my profile changed within moments as Google inexplicably re-indexed my appearance in search, not to mention the value of searches inside the LinkedIn ecosystem.

After all, who types in “Principal” when searching for an executive resume writer?


The same can be true for one’s industry. My profile’s performance increased dramatically when I changed from “writing and editing” to “professional training and coaching,” which more appropriately defines my work.

As an executive résumé writer, I want people to be able to reach me. I use my LinkedIn profile often, and I’m accessible. If I returned to retained executive search, however, I’d write my summary in third person, formal tone of voice, and lock down my accessibility. I might even stop posting status updates.

Decide the best approach for you, and set up your own profile to match your position and purpose on LinkedIn.

Control Tweak #8: Select your group display order (Settings > Groups, Companies and Applications)

Now here’s a level of control that you might not have considered, and it falls in line with why we might participate in LinkedIn’s groups.

It’s too vast a conversation for this forum, but choosing the order in which your groups are listed on your profile (including whether they’re visible at all) is good LinkedIn housekeeping. I show and rank groups that highlight my industry memberships and affinity with my client type.

Related post: Creating Affinity With Your Job Search Audience

Control Tweak #9: Re-order the appearance of sections on your profile

Another surprising level of control LinkedIn offers is the ability to slide sections up or down your profile interface. With few exceptions (summary and recommendations being two of them), you can rank the order in which your information appears on  your profile.

In “edit profile” mode, look at any section (e.g., education, skills and expertise, projects, etc) and then to the right you’ll see the up/down arrow. Hover your mouse and slide the section up or down. Like magic, it’s re-ordered!

Control Tweak #10: Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive (Settings > Email Preferences)

Are you reachable or unreachable? It depends on your professional position and intention for using LinkedIn. I am accessible to people because I use LinkedIn to bring in new business. It’s a great way for people to explore whether I might be able to help them. As I’ve said before, however, if I returned to retained executive search I would lock down my accessibility (and change my summary to third-person, formal tone of voice to boot!).

If you’re a premium member, people can reach you through in-mail without being connected to you. If you have a free account, letting someone reach you through LinkedIn can get tricky, so choose how you are willing to be contacted, and for what reason.

If you are job searching but actively employed, think twice before selecting the “career opportunities” or “job inquiries” check boxes. Companies don’t always look favorably on that.

Related post: Why It’s Smart to Take Recruiter Calls

Bonus idea: If you want people to reach you by phone, but you’re concerned about listing your work / personal number on your LinkedIn profile, set up a Google Voice account and point it to the phone number of your choice. Search firms / researchers can probably find your contact info elsewhere online, but if they’re finding you on LinkedIn, why make them go anywhere else?

Until next time!

Jared Redick

Visit: The Resume
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
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Call: 415-397-6640

One Response

  1. […] your public information in LinkedIn’s settings to “most recent job only.”   Related post: LinkedIn Checklist: 10 Tweaks for Control Freaks (Part 2)    3. Competitive details exposed. Search firms and other institutions make their living […]

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