Outfoxing LinkedIn’s Profile Visibility Restrictions

LinkedIn has begun restricting profile visibility in ways that don’t seem to make sense. This post includes a handy way to see what you ought to be able to see – even when LinkedIn doesn’t think so…

The changes at LinkedIn seem to be part of a strategy to get more paid accounts, but I’m not buying it…

People outside your network

This was the first restriction – that you cannot see much of the profile of people that are outside your network.

No, it wasn’t always this way. “Back in the day” you could see everybody, you just couldn’t contact them. Somewhere along the line LinkedIn decided it was too useful and pulled that back.

Third degree connections

And just a few months ago, I’m certain that I was prohibited from seeing additional information when I was looking at 3rd degree connections – and that was just plain wrong. Today as I write this article, I cannot duplicate those results, so let’s hope that it was an experiment and they keep it in the lab.

Because it would be a bad policy.

How it looks

This is what you see in a search result – if I’m not part of your network or in a group you belong to:

Results Of Out Of Network Search

Where my name would be – that’s replaced with a current title and company.

There are no “Private” profiles!

Every once in a while somebody asks “can I have one of those “Private” profiles?


It isn’t the profile that is private, it’s that the individual is outside your network, and you’re not allowed to see their name.

Here’s what it looks like:

Private Search Profile

Again, it isn’t awful, but there’s often much more information available.

Become an information detective!

Ok, ok, here’s what you can do…

With your preferred search site, simply enter the top job title and company within quotes. Here’s the results for my profile:

Bing Profile Search Results

All the search engines love LinkedIn, so it probably isn’t even necessary to add LinkedIn to the search. The likelihood of someone else having the phrase “Marketing Manager at Acme” (the title and company of the profile you’re investigating) is not very high.

And if somehow this search didn’t work for you – add another title!

See the thing at the bottom of the search – that’s where you’ll be going. It’s the public web page for that profile and has all the information they want people to find, including their name.

Unable to do give out information that people want given out…

So here’s my editorial. LinkedIn has restricted users when they try to view information on other profiles. The problem is – the owners of those profiles want it to be freely available on the web.

How much sense does that make?

But now you know how to get around that restriction.

(psst – be a hero – tell your friends;-)

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock