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Should I Hide My Connections On LinkedIn? I'm Worried About My Competitors Stealing My Clients

by Jo Shaer, on January 21, 2019

In one of my training sessions, Geoff asked about hiding connections on LinkedIn.

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By default, your connections are set to show to your 1st level connections.

This is another reason for choosing who to invite and also who to accept as a connection wisely.

You might not want your competitors to be able to see at a glance a nice list of your clients when the click the number of connections that displays on your LinkedIn profile.

So, if you don't want your connections to show to anyone except you, you can change this.

How Do I Hide My Connections On LinkedIn?

Go into your Account settings by clicking the arrow below the little picture of yourself at the very top right of your screen. Where it says Me

Then select Privacy & Settings from the drop down menu that appears.

In the new LinkedIn layout, you will see three tabs - Account, Privacy and Communication.


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Select and click the middle column - Privacy

Then click on the option - Who can see your connections

In the dropdown menu, select Only you

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Endorsers and Mutual Connections will show

You see what it says in that box - Select who can see your list of connections. Note: Members will still be able to see connections who endorse you and connections they share with you. (Don't want your endorsements visible? Just choose to opt out.)

So, as before, if a person has chosen to hide their connections by selecting 'Only You' from the drop down menu and you are connected to them, you will still be able to see your shared connections. So that's people who are connected to both of you.

But now, people will also still be able to see connections who have endorsed you. This means that it starts showing a lot more of your connections and makes the decision to opt out of endorsements a lot more interesting. You have to weigh up the way endorsements keep you top of mind against the potential for client theft. The only way to stop the details of a connection who has endorsed you from appearing in that section is to disconnect from them.

How do I see Someone Else's Connections?

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Go to the profile of a person you are connected to. Scroll down to the section called Highlights.

You will then see the number of mutual connections that you both have. Click the bolded section that says *** Mutual Connections  and you will go through to another screen.

If the connection has chosen not to hide his/her connections, you will see the option to view Shared and All connections.

If the connection has chosen to show his/her connections to Your connections, you will see Shared and All.

If the connection has chosen to show his/her connections to Only You, you will only see Shared Connections.

Whilst LinkedIn say in their help centre that you may have more options, I am currently only able to see All and Shared with my free account.

Could a competitor steal my clients?

If you have chosen to connect with a competitor, then there is always that potential. It makes the decision to connect or not to connect a very personal one.

If you have set your status updates to a public setting, every time you connect with someone new, it can show up in the news feed of your connections.

By choosing to connect with your clients, you leave yourself open to the possibility that competitors may be introduced to them - whether you have connected with your competitors or not.

LinkedIn will show your connections in the 'People You May Know' (the section at the top right of your Home page) to the connections of your connections and that happens even if you have chosen the option to hide your list of connections on your actual profile.

Find out more about how to use LinkedIn for business



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