How To Play “Who’s viewed your profile” On LinkedIn.

Odd Helmet
There’s a game on LinkedIn called “Who’s viewed your profile” (WVYP) and it’s a game you definitely want to understand. Unfortunately the rules of the game can change, without warning. So you could lose the game without knowing and it wouldn’t necessarily be your fault. I’ll explain:


You’ll have noticed that LinkedIn have introduced a new way of viewing your Profile browsers. Now you can see your browsers in full glorious technicolor detail (if they have pics). But LinkedIn have given and taken away….anyone notice a problem with the following?

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 12.07.06 PM


Or these?

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 12.06.46 PM


The Headlines of all of the above have been truncated. Though this is not an issue in the alternative ‘list’ view, this ‘up-ended business card’ view is the default – it’s what people see when they check WVYP. Also, because you can’t see how you present to others in WVYP, it’s therefore very likely that you’ll never know that your Headline is not working in this format, selling you short, falling at the first hurdle.


I’ve seen hundreds of truncated Headlines since LinkedIn introduced this new view. The temptation I guess, is to use all 120 characters available in your Headline.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.38.19 AM









My advice? Browse a friend and ask them to tell you if your Headline is truncated. Stick to 45 characters (which equates to approximately 8 words) to avoid being cut off in mid sentence. Oh and ditch those weird bullets/separators – your Headline is your work brand slogan, find a slogan which fits you like a glove and smacks people in the face, or pinches their cheek, without any superfluous accoutrements.


I totally understand why some people on LinkedIn feel they need to take a surreptitious peek at someone now and again. For some people (i.e journalists protecting their sources) viewing anonymously is essential. What I have a problem with is the way that LinkedIn currently shares that information via WVYP. The ‘Who’ is totally misleading. Showing me that I have been viewed by Anonymous users is pointless. As useful as a chocolate ashtray (or an ashtray on a motorbike). Why does LinkedIn waste valuable screen estate on showing Anonymous browsers? Does anyone respond positively to being browsed by virtual ghosts? It’s an oddity on a professional social platform. Another mystery: why do people go Semi-Anonymous on LinkedIn? If you want to hide, why not just go Anonymous? What’s the point of leading people on a wild goose (or flappy bird) chase? I haven’t heard a good reason yet….so anyone who’s opted to be Semi-Anonymous on the largest professional networking site on the planet: that’s another Flappy bird FAIL!


Which lineup would you prefer to see in your WVYP? This:

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 1.16.16 PM







or this?

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 1.16.28 PM








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By Andy Foote

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9 Responses

  1. Maria Wanamaker says:

    I agree with you regarding the anonymous viewer. Who are they and how is one able to browse a profile without being known? It is a bit creepy.

  2. Thanks for the insights. Very helpful and appreciated. Keep up the good work.

  3. Jeff Quandt says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful information.

    I have seen the truncated professional headlines as well and there have been up to 60 characters across three lines that show up in my views.

    It is still advisable to have a robust Professional Headline that is keyword rich and has a sales benefit of your personal brand. The truncated views are limited to the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section.and not in the search result view which is still a list. Still if you wish to capture someone attention after viewing their profile, place the benefit section in the first 45-60 characters.

    This is an important distinction in that if you are marketing your business or looking for a job, when someone does a search on LinkedIn for a solution to a problem, with a keyword rich profile, you should turn up in the search results, which are still in the List view and full professional headline..

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Jeff. My issue with truncated Headlines (in icon/business card view) is that it’s unnecessary and affecting hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn users, without their knowledge. Unnecessary because LinkedIn could easily make room for all 120 characters in icon/business card view. If they give 120 characters – they should not take them away! It’s a great example of LinkedIn behaving like a beta; making changes on the fly and not fully testing or thinking about consequences. I do live in hope however: LinkedIn recently allowed users to filter out Semi-Anonymous & Anonymous viewers in WVYP (Who’s Viewed Your Profile). So that to me is an indication that they are listening and trying to continually improve the user experience.

      I think it’s a mistake to rely on keywords to be found. That’s outdated advice. I’ve hinted why in my latest article. More to come!

  4. Linda Fredrick says:

    Now a new twist! Not only are they truncating, but someone at LI can’t spell correctly. I received a work anniversary notice for a contact this week, and was going to alert him to the spelling error, only I wasn’t able to find that error on his profile.

  5. Great article! Love the analogies “As useful as a chocolate ashtray (or an ashtray on a motorbike)”. I just borrowed your headline to see if it makes a difference. Probably should talk about how you might be able to optimize my LI profile.

  1. March 20, 2014

    […] Foote is a LinkedIn consultant… he just wrote a post titled How To Play “Who’s viewed your profile” On LinkedIn.  I’m linking to it here only because there are some changes… and maybe you want to be […]

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