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The Deadly Barrier Killing Opportunities for You on LinkedIn

By Susan P. Joyce

Job Interview Thank You Note Tips and Samples

The best LinkedIn Profile will not be very useful to you without contact information readily available for recruiters and othe members of your network. If you cannot be easily reached, they move on. Opportunities evaporate and you will never know.

Having no contact information visible on LinkedIn is a DEADLY mistake!

In discussions with recruiters, as well as my own searching on LinkedIn, I have noticed a barrier that many people have accidentally created for themselves inside LinkedIn. They have a great Profile, but they make absolutely no contact information visible. So, they do excellent marketing, but provide no way to close the sale -- or even to speak with the customer.


Recruiters search LinkedIn relentlessly, based on keywords (your top 25 keywords), looking for candidates who are qualified for their job openings. When they find someone who is qualified, they want to contact information that candidate as quickly as possible. More than one recruiter has told me that the preferred contact information is a phone number, because the connecting can be quick, but an email address is the absolute minimum. 

If recruiters cannot easily contact the candidate, they move on to the next candidate. Potential customers or clients also move on.

Protect Your Privacy Without Being Invisible

Protecting our privacy is very important for all of us. However, contact information must be available, or being visible online is a waste of time unless all we want to do is share information with people who already have all of our contact information.

However, protecting privacy and having contact information visible is possible! Here's how...

  1. Professional Email Address - Gmail

    These days having an email address separate from your work email address is smart, so if you lose your job, you don't lose contact with people. An email provider which is considered "current" is Gmail (Google mail). It is free, and you can read and send email from any device connected to the Internet. And, a Gmail address will be useful to you, even if you move to a new state or country or change cable/Internet providers.
  2. Professional Phone Number - Google Voice

    Again, having a phone number that is separate from your work phone number will enable you to stay in touch with people in case of job loss. I do NOT recommend making your home phone number or your cellphone number visible on your LinkedIn Profile. Again, Google can come to your rescue with a Google Voice number. As with email, Google Voice is free, and calls can be forwarded to any phone number you choose or to the email address of your choice.

Be sure that you check your Gmail and Google Voice accounts very regularly, or forward them to email addresses and phone numbers that you do check often.

Be Reachable (to Be Hired) 

Unless recruiters are using LinkedIn’s service for recruiters (“LinkedIn Recruiter”) or are directly connected to the candidate (1st Level), they don’t have access to all the information members publish in the Contact Information section of their Profiles. So, if you are open to hearing about opportunities from recruiters who are not connected to you, you must make contact information available on the public parts of your Profile which are visible to people who are not connected to you on LinkedIn, like the Summary or Experience sections.

Having the best possible LinkedIn Profile is useless unless public contact information is included in the Profile. This contact information must be visible to people who are not connected to you (or paying for LinkedIn Recruiter). Below, learn where and how to make contact information safely public.

There are 2 ways to make your contact information visible on your LinkedIn Profile:


1. Leverage the top two lines of your LinkedIn Summary

The top two lines of your LinkedIn Summary are visible to most people viewing your Profile. Leverage that visibility by adding contact information at the top of your Summary. Here are a few examples I have seen recently:

  • I am a ... [expanded version of the LinkedIn Professional Headline]. If you need someone to [what it is you do], reach me by sending an email to [email address] or by calling me at [phone number].
  • Contact me here: [email address] or [phone number]. I am a [short summary of what you want or description of a significant accomplishment].

Turn those 2 lines into a short, targeted sales pitch with your contact information very visible. Yes, you will probably get some junk messages, but you may also get some great opportunities, too. Usually, the benefits outweigh the risks.

2. Complete the "Contact and Personal Info" section of your Profile.

Find this section by clicking on the "Me" link in the very top right on most LinkedIn pages (when you are logged in). Then, scroll down the page a bit. This section is usually in the right column of your Profile, near the top, and often below the new sections LinkedIn is encouraging you to add.

LinkedIn Contact and Personal Info

As shown on the left, everything you provide in this section is listed and visible to your 1st level connections on LinkedIn when they click on the "Show more" link at the bottom. Only your first level connections on LinkedIn can see your phone number, email, and physical address, if you have included them in this section of your profile. Second and third level connections will see just your Profile URL, Website(s), Twitter account, and birthday.

This section gives you an easy way to make your contact information available to your connections as well as your birthday (DON'T make your birthday public!).

LinkedIn Contact and Personal InfoTo edit this section of your profile, click on the pencil icon in the top right of the box, as you see circled here on the left. A large form will open offering you the opportunity to add contact information to your profile, as well as up to 3 websites like your blog, your online portfolio, and your employer's website.

You can make the street address of your work location visible, or at least the city and state, but do NOT make your home address visible, even if you are not employed.

Bottom Line

Recruiters are always in a hurry because their revenue depends on it. So, if they find you and think you are qualified for an opportunity, be easy for them to contact. Be active, daily, on LinkedIn to increase the chances of discovery and also to show recruiters that you are paying daily attention to LinkedIn.

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.


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