LinkedIn has grown into one of the most powerful online platforms for social, career and job-related networking. It’s popular among employers and employees alike and that’s what makes it a lively place where these two worlds keep interacting.
Regardless of your current employment status, LinkedIn can take your career prospects to the next level. The first step towards making a good impression is updating your profile and crafting a cool summary.
Once you’re done, you can sit back and watch people come and have a look. And that’s really what makes LinkedIn great — the sneaky feature that will tell you when somebody stumbles upon your profile.
It might as well have been just an accident, but those people often have a reason to check you out. Our guide will show you how to transform this treasure trove of complete strangers into a bunch of full-blown connections that will give you a leg up in your career.
How did they find me?
If someone’s viewed your LinkedIn profile, they must have used one of these tools to land on your page:
- LinkedIn News Feed
- Stay In Touch sidebar
- Regular search (or searching for keywords, company, location, industry, etc.)
- Recruiters Tool (with this tool, recruiters are invisible to you)
Regardless of the tool, it’s always a good sign when there’s someone out there interested in what you do and there’s a chance they might want to learn more about you.
How can I see who viewed my LinkedIn profile?
You’re probably eager to know who’s been checking you out on LinkedIn. However, the amount of information differs depending on whether you’re using a basic free membership account or a premium subscription.
Naturally, premium membership comes with extra features that make it worth giving it a thought (LinkedIn’s offering a free 1-month trial). Let’s sum up the differences:
With a basic free LinkedIn account, you can:
- see up to 5 results of who has viewed your profile
- the number of visits to your profile
- the number of times you’ve appeared in search results
With a premium LinkedIn account, you can:
- see an unlimited number of people who have visited your profile
- see other information like trends in viewership and industry representation
Note that the information you can see concerning people who’ve viewed your profile depends on their privacy settings, not on your membership. Having a premium account doesn’t let you see any additional information about viewers if they chose to provide restricted access to their profile via their own privacy settings.
There are 3 levels of privacy settings on LinkedIn that can prevent you from seeing the identity of other people checking out your profile:
- Name and headline. You will see their name, job title, and employer.
- Partially anonymous. You can see limited information like title and industry or company.
- Totally anonymous. You will see only “LinkedIn Member” or “Someone from the Russia.”
Where can I see my profile views?
There are two ways to see the information about who has viewed your profile.
- Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. Click View profile and then Who’s viewed your profile on Your dashboard.
- Just click Who’s viewed your profile beneath your profile photo on the left rail of your LinkedIn homepage.
The Who’s viewed your profile feature displays your profile visitors in the last 90 days.
Should I contact someone who views my profile?
So there’s a bunch of people that seem to be — for some reason — interested in you. Now what? Should you message them right away or just connect with them? Or rather not?
It all depends on who’s the one looking at your profile. It can be an old colleague you’d love to get back in touch with, a hiring manager you’d be thrilled to hear from or someone who could potentially help you network your way to a new job at your dream company.
You need to become a Sherlock Holmes of sorts. Understanding why they viewed your profile or how they found it will help you decide if or how to respond.
Here are three possible scenarios together with example messages that will help you start the conversation:
When a hiring manager views your profile
The hiring manager for that job that you recently applied for checked out your profile. A good sign?
Well, definitely! The employer’s interested enough in you to dig in a little deeper.
But when it comes to how you should react, choose patience. Don’t let your excitement cloud your judgement.
First, you should realise this is just another step in the hiring process. In the age of social media, checking out applicants’ online blueprints by recruiters is an easy way to find out more about prospective employees before inviting them for an interview.
And what if the HR manager never gets back to you?
If nothing else, at least you have the name of the recruiter you can connect with. And that’s always a better way of staying in touch than through a generic email communication via something like email@example.com.
When the viewer’s working for an awesome company
However, if you notice the viewers work for a company that’s been on your radar for years or if you see some sort of connection, failing to message them could as well result in a missed career opportunity.
LinkedIn is not the place to be shy and wait for the miracle to happen. If you want something, you need to ask for it. The worst thing that can happen is that they won’t reply at all.
All in all, you have very little to lose. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend some time crafting your message.
Start by making it clear why you’d like to connect, including how you might be helpful to them. You can either reference that they’ve viewed your profile or simply your reason for reaching out based on their background.
Here’s an example message if there’s an open position you know about:
I see you’re working as a Project Manager at Company X. I recently submitted my application for an open Account Executive position there, and am looking forward to finding out more about the opportunity – it seems like an awesome place!
And here’s a message to send when the company’s not hiring at the moment:
I hope you’re doing well! I see you’re working work as a Project Manager at Company X. I’ve admired their work for quite some time, so I thought I’d connect with you here! Looking forward to keeping in touch.
When you’re not sure why they were looking
Let’s say you have no idea who the viewer is. First, check out their profile in return and see if there’s anything you share with that person. You might have graduated from the same school in the same time period or with a similar major, for example.
Maybe you were both working for the same company (but at different times or in different locations), live in the same city or have lots of mutual connections. And that’s a great reason to start off a conversation.
However, LinkedIn’s default connection message is an autopilot that will do more harm than good. Tailor it to make it more personal and motivate the person to engage with your profile.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a page long essay, but make sure to include all connections, interests or experiences you share. Focus on a common bond between the two of you and make it clear why you’re making the connection:
Thank you for looking at my LinkedIn profile! My name is James and I’m a SoCal-based freelance writer. I’m always looking to expand my network of contacts (especially with fellow UCLA alumni!), so I’d love to connect with you here. Looking forward to keeping in touch and finding ways to help each other out.
If nothing of that is true, chances are the viewers lacking an obvious connection may have accidentally clicked on your profile. Sometimes during the search one may click on the profile of someone else with an identical name, for example.
So if you decide to reach out, you don’t necessarily need to remind them that they viewed your profile. Often they may not even remember doing so. Here’s an example of a message that you can send to someone you know nothing about:
Hope you’re having a great week! I would like to connect with you because I’m always open to hearing about great opportunities and will be willing to help you with any of your searches if I can.
4. When should I reach out?
You sure don’t want to come off as a LinkedIn weirdo that’s impatiently waiting till someone pays a visit to their profile and then bombards the viewer with questions like “How did you find me?” or “Why were you checking me out?”
Let’s say it’s a recruiter or hiring manager that you want to hook up with (Which is great news!). But the worst thing you could do is convey the impression that you’re desperate and immediately prey on everyone who views your profile.
Stalking people on social media can make a rather bad impression. So take your time and don’t shoot a message at people immediately after they view your profile. Waiting a day or two before sending a message will do the job.
Use LinkedIn to your advantage
LinkedIn is the most powerful professional network and it’s a great idea to harness all of its potential for networking. It’s teeming with opportunities that are within your hand’s reach.
Never before has it been so easy to engage in conversations that can enhance your professional life. So if you want to advance your career, LinkedIn is the fastest way to connect with hiring managers and industry professionals from around the globe.
After all, firing off a message and kick starting a relationship online is far easier than having to attend dozens of job fairs and professional conferences, right?