Your Linkedin Public Profile is a profile of you shown to any user browsing your profile without being logged into Linkedin. If you are on Linkedin, chances are that you do have a Linkedin public profile. By default, all Linkedin accounts have public profiles generated for them automatically. However, your public profile is not the same as the one you see of yourself while being logged in as Linkedin.

What most Linkedin users do not know is that you can fine-tune what you want to show on your public profile, or hide it completely.

How to change the visibility of your public profile?

Toggle your profile visibility on or off.

To hide your Linkedin public profile completely

  1. Log into Linkedin (I recommend you use Incognito mode or private browsing to do so)
  2. Go to https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/settings
  3. Turn the toggle off for Your profile's public visibility

To create a Linkedin public profile and have it visible

  1. Log into Linkedin
  2. Go to https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/settings
  3. Turn the toggle on for your Your profile's public visibility

Micromanaging visibility of different sections in your profile

  1. Log into Linkedin
  2. Go to https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/settings
  3. On the right side, there are different toggles for visibility of
    • Headlines
    • Websites
    • Summary
    • Articles & Activity
    • Current Experience & Details
    • Education & Details
    • Volunteer Experiences
    • Certifications
    • Publications
    • Patents
    • Courses
    • Projects
    • Honors and Awards
    • Test Scores
    • Languages
    • Organisations
    • Groups

Linkedin Private Profiles VS Linkedin Public Profiles

Comparing a fully visible public profile and a private profile, the core differences are:

  • Skills are not shown on Linkedin profiles.
  • Likes and comments on a user's activities are also hidden on a public profile.

Why do public profiles exist?

I do not work for Linkedin, but it is very obvious to me that most searches for people happen on search engines instead of  Linkedin. Public profiles exist so search engines would index information about people and channel search traffic to Linkedin.

For example, I would be curious about a certain's startup founder, and more often or not, I would search for "CEO of Acme Corp" instead of searching for the same on Linkedin, simply because it is easier.

I know for a fact that Linkedin has whitelisted the IP addresses of a certain search engine optimization startup to give them unfettered access to crawl up to 50M public profiles a day. They do this because being it is important to Linkedin to be listed by major search engines.

Search engine optimization matters to Linkedin, and that is why your public profile exists by default with full visibility. And the information you have shared on Linkedin is then used to channel search traffic back to Linkedin.

I believe you should keep your Linkedin Profile public

Your Linkedin account should be your professional resume. It is your subtle flex about who you are as a professional. It is in my opinion that you should keep your private life, private, and your professional life public. I do recommend that you keep your Linkedin profile public.

It is good for your career. Let me explain why:

  1. A lot of recruitment and headhunting firms, particularly modern ones such as Hiretual, use public profile data at scale to assist headhunters with sourcing. You are on their list if you keep your Linkedin profile public. Conversely, if you turn your profile private, you will limit your availability to recruiters who are partners with Linkedin)
  2. Your professional resume can be found on Google. Say you are a software engineer with Google. If someone googles "Ben engineer Google", and assuming your name is Ben, you will be found immediately! This is great because now you can be easily found. Conversely, if you do not want do not to be easily found, then turn your profile private.

Linkedin Public profiles are not truly public

But here's the thing, Linkedin public profiles are a lie. Don't believe me? Search for my profile on Linkedin by typing "linkedin steven goh ceo nubela" without being logged into Linkedin. Click into it. Now do the same for a few more profiles, and soon you will be blocked from browsing and Linkedin will demand that you register an account before you can view more.

You are not the target market for Linked public profiles. Linkedin public profiles exist for search engines and other big corps like Twitter or Apple.

Linkedin has invested significant development resources to prevent large-scale automation in scraping public profiles. They have also sued (or bullied) many tech startups who have tried the same. Thankfully they lost the legal fight.

How to scrape Linkedin public profiles at scale?

I wrote a long article about building your own Linkedin crawler to scrape 1M profiles. Alternatively, Proxycurl provides an Enrichment API for developers to get public Linkedin profile data back in a structured data format.

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