Never Give Your Employer Access To Your LinkedIn Account
Sounds obvious, right? Of course you wouldn’t give your employer access to your LinkedIn profile! But employees are still giving this information to their employers every day, and there are plenty of stories about the negative repercussions. There are several ways the giving of access happens. Maybe you open your LinkedIn account using your work email address and forget to change it later to a personal one. Guess what? Your employer can cut you off from your LinkedIn profile at any time—by changing your work email address, by cutting off your access to your work email address, or by accessing your work email and uncovering your LinkedIn password (along with any other passwords you might have in tucked away in there).
The lesson here is to set up your LinkedIn account using your personal email address. Never, never use an email address that you don’t have total control over.
Another way employers gain access to your LinkedIn profile is by offering technical assistance. Perhaps they’ve hired a consultant to improve everyone’s profiles. Perhaps they have someone on staff in the recruiting or business development department who has offered to overhaul and optimize the profiles. It’s tempting to take advantage of this free upgrade!
But if your employer asks for your password or otherwise offers to help you make changes to your profile, you might be better of declining. Sure, you can let them offer you suggestions for improving your profile, but never give them access to the account. You don’t want to lose access to your profile if you and your employer suddenly part ways. And you don’t want them to have access to “hidden” information like any job search groups you might have joined and your full list of contacts, which may include career advisors or recruiters. Further, you don’t want to get into a battle with your employer over who “owns” the profile and contacts, once the employer has paid for improvements.
If your employer offers to pay for an upgrade subscription to LinkedIn, then also be very clear about rights and ownership. It’s great if your employer will reimburse for your account expenses, but not if that reimbursement comes with claims of ownership or control!
Protect yourself now, so that you won’t regret it later.