In this digital age, privacy is really important, most social networks including LinkedIn allow users to control their privacy from their account settings.
They’re able to control who can view their data such as profile page and contact information. LinkedIn profiles are a great source of information regarding someone or business, you can see what they’re up to in their career or the type of business they’re running.
LinkedIn allows users to control their visibility on the platform in general, and in online searches like visibility in search engines. In this post we’ll talk about viewing profiles on LinkedIn, you’ll learn all the privacy settings for controlling profile visibility on the platform.
Is It Possible to View LinkedIn Profiles Without an Account?
Yes, you can view LinkedIn profiles even if you don’t have a LinkedIn account. If you have a LinkedIn profile link, you can just go ahead and visit the link on any browser and view its content without the need to log into your LinkedIn account.
Unless the profile owner has changed their privacy settings in a way to restrict certain users from accessing their profile and its content.
Can You Search for Users Without Having a LinkedIn Account?
This is another aspect that needs to be addressed, the best way to search for LinkedIn users and view their profile without having an account is by searching for their profile name on Google.
This is only applicable if the profile owner has not restricted their privacy settings from public view. Most users will however allow their profile to be visible by the search engines and you’ll find such profiles when you search on Google.
There Are Some Limitation
Viewing LinkedIn profiles without an account is mostly helpful when you already have the profile link and they haven’t restricted profile views from the public.
If you’re searching for the user on LinkedIn without an account, you can hardly find them since most LinkedIn users will set limitations on the data visible during the search.
Some LinkedIn users will restrict access to their job history information, picture, or any data to be only available to their first-degree connection.
These are the people that are within their network, one of the parties has sent a connection request and they have approved it.
If I Have a LinkedIn Account, Can I Still View It in Private Mode?
Most users want to view profiles without login in to avoid getting detected since LinkedIn can show notifications to the user when you view their profile.
There is an option that allows LinkedIn users to view profiles in private mode. They can still see the notification that someone has viewed their profile but they won’t find out the user.
What is LinkedIn Private Mode?
The best solution if you want to prevent LinkedIn users from detecting you have visited their profile, is by using private mode. By using the private mode, you’re hiding your identity so that they can’t trace your views.
The private mode option is available to both basic accounts and also to premium accounts, but they have another extra advantage of seeing LinkedIn users that have viewed their profile. We’ll discuss private mode, what it means, why you should switch to private mode, and how to set it up which is pretty simple.
Reasons for Switching To LinkedIn Private Mode
- Browse profiles without getting detected; This is one of the major reasons why most LinkedIn users set their accounts to private. We have already mentioned that LinkedIn allows premium users to see who viewed their profile, they can know it by getting notifications. Once you set your account to private, you’ll not be detected by the profile owner.
- Recruiters avoid unrealistic expectations; When recruiters are looking for employees, they’ll visit a lot of profiles and these users will start contacting them for job offers. But if they hide their identity, they can do all the screening they want and pick only the ones they’re interested in working with.
- Stalking on your EXs; It could be your ex-boss, ex-wife, ex-husband, ex-employee that you just want to keep eye on their career and achievements. Going private mode will allow you to sneak into their profile without getting noticed.
- Security agencies spying on profiles; Security agencies hide their identity when spying on profiles of suspects so that they can’t sense they’re coming for them.
- Child services stalking on your account; If they want to know what you’re up to in your career and don’t want to get detected, they’ll go private and investigate your profile anonymously without the user realizing it.
There are a lot of situations where one considers going private on LinkedIn, in most cases, it’s spying on other profiles to avoid getting detected.
Adjusting Privacy Settings On LinkedIn
Let’s now take a look at how you can adjust your privacy settings on LinkedIn, both free members and premium members can adjust these settings but before doing that, you should understand that changing privacy settings will affect your visibility.
If you’re looking for a job you don’t want to hide your identity much, always ensure that you’re visible to recruiters during search and every information on your profile is visible including contact info and qualifications.
Even if you must set your LinkedIn profile to private mode, you should do it temporarily. That’s to say you should adjust your settings back after executing the actions you want.
Change What Users Can See You View Their LinkedIn Profile
- Login to your LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so.
- Navigate and click the “Me” icon from the menu.
- Click on the “Settings & Privacy” option.
- Click on the “Privacy” tab.
- Once you’re on the “Profile Privacy” section, you should select “Change”, it’s located next to “Profile viewing options”.
- There is the option that says “Select what others can see when you view their profile”, you choose the option you want, but it’s better to just select “Show name and headline”.
- Save your settings and exit.
Change the information that will be visible online
This is where you can control what others see on your profile, you’re controlling your public view with this setting. Here is how to adjust this privacy option;
- Log into your LinkedIn account.
- Hit the “Me” icon from the navigation menu.
- Select the option “Settings & Privacy”.
- Choose the “Privacy” tab.
- Select the option “Edit Public Profile”.
- Then you click on “Edit Visibility” which by the right of the screen.
Free LinkedIn Accounts
Free accounts or Basic accounts as they’re called, will not be able to see a full list of the users that have viewed their profile.
They can however see the number of views their profile has generated; they can also see other data like the number of times the profile showed up in search, and can as well see not more than five users that have visited their profile.
If they have adjusted their privacy settings, you won’t be able to see much info about them, you might see something like “Someone from Canada” or “LinkedIn Member” viewing your profile.
How to See Profile Views For Free LinkedIn Members
Login to your LinkedIn and visit your profile page dashboard, you’ll be able to see data regarding the number of views the profile has generated. There isn’t much info though as a free member, here is what you’ll see;
- The number of visits the profile has received.
- The number of times your profile appeared on LinkedIn search results.
- Five results for the users that viewed your profile.
This is the basic info you’ll see for your profile views data, let’s take a look at premium accounts.
LinkedIn Premium Accounts
For premium accounts, they’re able to see all the users that have viewed the profile so far within any specified period of time.
Even if some users have stayed anonymous, they’ll be listed as “Linked Member” or “someone from (location)” viewed your profile. If they have changed their privacy settings, there is not much data to be seen about them.
How To See Profile Views For Premium LinkedIn Users
Log into your Linked account and navigate to the profile page, click on “Who viewed your profile” which can be seen under “Welcome” by your left. Here is the info displayed;
- The list of all users who visited your LinkedIn profile for the last ninety days.
- A graph showing weekly trends of your visitors, like whether they have dropped or increased.
- And a weekly viewer insight for all your profile visitors.
Is Weekly Viewer Information Helpful?
LinkedIn makes viewing profiles important and that’s why they provide information regarding profile visitors and to some extent, notifications are sent whenever there are new profile views to premium members. What should you do with viewer information on LinkedIn then?
One thing is certain, most people that visited your profile are interested in you, it could be a hiring manager that wants to hire you, it can be that someone noticed your content/article and want to connect with the right companies or it’s an old colleague that visited your profile to get in touch with you.
Some users on the other hand are just spying on you, it could be your EX’s or just some random hater stalking your profile to see what you’re up to.
The best thing to do is predicting the reason why someone visits your profile on LinkedIn, especially if they have done it multiple times. If it’s a company or a recruiter, they definitely want to consider you to join their team even if they haven’t contacted you.
They’re reviewing your profile details to ensure that you’re the ideal candidate for them and in such a case you might want to get in touch with them.
Just go through your profile visitors and based on their connections or network, you’ll be able to make a guess as to why they’re on your profile and it’s good to always send connection requests to these users because they might help your career to the next level.
Should You Contact Your LinkedIn Profile Visitors?
If you believe they can be helpful, you should definitely consider sending them an InMail or a connection request. When you’re looking for a job it’s better to contact companies or recruiters that have once visited your profile page.
You should send them a message introducing yourself and why you want to connect with them, you don’t necessarily have to mention the fact that they visited your profile, just focus on the reason why you want to connect.
It’s not also a bad idea if you mentioned they’ve visited your profile, but if it’s a recruiter, you don’t need to start asking for a job. Just focus on the fact that you want to increase your knowledge and experience by interacting with them or their company.
How To Browse LinkedIn Anonymously
If you want to browse LinkedIn anonymously, you can change your settings. This means that your searches and profile views will be hidden on LinkedIn. Here is how to activate these setting;
- Once you log into your LinkedIn account, you should hover to your “Profile Photo” and select the option “Privacy & Settings”.
- If you’re on mobile, you should also click on the profile photo and then click on “View Profile Settings”.
- Then you click on “Visibility” located on the left and select “Profile viewing options” and also select “Change”, these options are also available on your mobile device.
- You’ll then see the private mode option, you should switch it ON by checking the small radio icon.
What Happens When You Switch To Private Mode?
Basically, two things happen when you turn on your LinkedIn account to private mode, one is that you’re browsing anonymously, that’s other LinkedIn users cannot identify you.
By default when you join LinkedIn you’re sharing your information with others including your searches and so on, but by going private, you’re anonymous to other users.
The second effect of LinkedIn Private mode is that you can navigate the platform without leaving a trail. LinkedIn by default shows profile visitors, going private means you’re blocking users from viewing you as their profile visitor.
They can see that a visitor has landed on their profile but they’ll have no idea you’re the one, their name will be hidden from them.
Is LinkedIn Private Mode For All Accounts?
Both free and premium accounts can switch their account to private mode on LinkedIn and the step is the same.
What are the Downsides of LinkedIn Private Mode?
When you turn to LinkedIn private mode, you’re anonymous to other LinkedIn users. Likewise, you will not be able to see how viewed your profile when you activate the private mode feature as well. Switching to LinkedIn private mode will definitely affect your Interactions on the network.
If you’re on LinkedIn seeking to network other minded people within your career or business, it’s not advisable to change your account to private.
The LinkedIn private mode option will affect your network because you’re not able to see users that viewed your profile and these are the ones that are interested in connecting with you.
You have buried that information once you turn on the private mode feature, this means your networking is affected negatively.
Even the users that search your name won’t be visible to you which is also another way your networking is affected. This restriction is for basic users, when you upgrade to LinkedIn premium though, you can view profile visits while yours will remain hidden on their profile.
Using the private mode feature should be temporary, it’s OK when you’re trying to visit some profiles and you don’t want to be identified, after that, you should turn back your account to normal mode where you’re able to interact with other LinkedIn users and you’ll be visible on LinkedIn searches as well.
How To Make Use Of LinkedIn Private Mode
For LinkedIn users that are just starting out on the platform, they can switch to private mode. This will take the time to browse the platform privately since they’ll be visiting a lot of profiles trying to figure out which ones to connect with.
You can stay anonymous for a while building your network. If you’re also working at a job and you’re searching for better opportunities, and you don’t want your working colleagues to know, you might as well switch to private mode.
You’ll have to understand that changing to private mode will affect your visibility in search results and most companies will conduct a search when looking for employees. You might want to think twice about this.
If you’re a recruiter wanting to hire employees, you’ll end up receiving a lot of messages once you start browsing profiles. In order to peacefully recruit the ideal candidates, you can switch to the private mode in order to stay anonymous.
Build the contact list of suitable candidates and go through their profiles without them knowing it. Once you’re done, you can get to the public view and then continue interacting with other fellow LinkedIn users.
If you’re an experienced user on LinkedIn and want to conduct research, you might consider private mode. When you’re running a project that demands collecting a lot of data, you’ll be considered as someone who’s spying on profiles, especially if you’re popular on the platform.
Go private mode and take the time you need, then switch back to public mode.
Can LinkedIn Premium Members see Anonymous Users that Visit their Profile?
No, once a user becomes anonymous, they’re invisible to every account on LinkedIn, regardless of whether they’re basic or premium users. Everyone has the freedom to become anonymous on LinkedIn without getting detected.
Can you View Previous Non-Anonymous Searches After Becoming Anonymous?
Once you become anonymous on LinkedIn, even the previous data will be eliminated from your profile and the profile of other users you have visited. You want to make sure that you have a backup of every data you need before becoming anonymous on LinkedIn.
Can you Switch Back to Public Mode?
Of course, you can always revert to public mode after switching to “Private Mode” and you need to follow the same steps when activating the private mode option, you just need to check the default radio option which supports the public view.
After Reverting to a Public Account, can Users see Your Visits and Search History?
Whatever happens, when you’re in private mode, even after reverting to public view won’t reveal your history. You are always safe to return to the default mode of your LinkedIn account without the worries of getting exposed to previous actions.
I Don’t Want to Switch to Private Mode, is There Another Option to Stay Anonymous?
You have two options if you don’t want to switch to private mode and you want to remain anonymous. The first one is that you log out of your LinkedIn account before making searches or visiting any profile, if you don’t want to log out, you open incognito mode or private browser and then visit the profiles you wish to visit.
The second option is to open a separate LinkedIn account with a different name, they might see who viewed their profile but they have no idea it’s not a real account.
You have to be careful though when creating another LinkedIn account, ensure to use a different email address, phone number, and IP address. Then you can continue visiting profiles as much as you want without getting detected.
Verdict: Should You Switch To Private Account Permanently
Social Media sites in general are all about networking with other users on the platform, once you set your account to private mode, you won’t be able to connect with people that might help your career or business.
The private mode should be considered as a temporary option where you take the chance to execute some tasks without getting detected. After that, you should always get back your account to public mode.
We have now reached the end of the article and so far you have learned that it’s possible to view LinkedIn profiles without an account provided the user has not restricted profile views to the public. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section.