LinkedIn allows you to control who can send you messages in your inbox. You have options to limit messages to only people in your network or to block specific individuals. Here are some ways to manage your incoming messages and reduce unwanted contact requests on LinkedIn.
Adjust Messaging Settings
LinkedIn’s default messaging settings allow any LinkedIn member to send you an inbox message, even if you are not connected. To limit incoming messages to only your 1st-degree connections:
- Go to your LinkedIn account settings
- Click “Communications”
- Under “Messages,” switch the setting to “Only people in my network”
With this setting, you will only receive messages from people you are directly connected to on LinkedIn. Strangers or 2nd/3rd degree connections will not be able to message you.
Block Specific Members
You can block individual LinkedIn members from contacting you if they are repeatedly sending you unwanted messages. To block a member:
- Open a message from that person in your LinkedIn inbox
- Click the “More” icon (3 dots) at the top right of the message
- Select “Block” or “Report as spam and block”
Once blocked, that member will no longer be able to send you messages or view your profile. You can find a list of everyone you’ve blocked under “Blocked members” in your account settings. Unblock them at any time to remove the messaging restriction.
Mark Messages as Spam
If you receive an irrelevant or suspicious message, you can mark it as spam. This gives feedback to LinkedIn to improve their spam filters. To mark a message as spam:
- Open the message in your LinkedIn inbox
- Click “More” (3 dots icon)
- Select “Report as spam”
The message will be removed from your inbox. Reporting spam also blocks that member from messaging you again. Note that regular messages from your connections should not be marked as spam, even if unwanted, as this could penalize their accounts.
Turn Off Message Requests
LinkedIn has a feature called “message requests” where anyone can send you an inbox message that goes into a separate folder. You can turn this off to reduce unwanted contact:
- Go to LinkedIn Settings
- Click “Communications”
- Under “Messages,” switch “Requests” to the off position
With message requests disabled, only your 1st-degree connections will be able to send you messages, depending on your overall messaging settings.
Avoid Sharing Your Contact Info
Avoid listing your email address, phone number, or other contact info anywhere in your LinkedIn profile. This invites unsolicited outreach. Similarly, be cautious about sharing your contact info with strangers on LinkedIn.
Review Your Public Profile
Look at your profile from the perspective of a stranger viewing it. Does it contain any extraneous personal details that could prompt unwanted messages? Remove or tighten up access to any sections that are not directly relevant for business purposes.
Be Selective With Skills
Listing too many niche skills on your profile can make you a target for unsolicited contact, e.g.Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes often target people listing “leadership” or “management” skills. Review each skill and remove ones that are not strongly relevant.
Avoid Controversial Topics
Posting publicly about controversial issues or topics like politics, religion, or social causes can increase unsolicited debates that spill into your inbox. Consider keeping your posts strictly professional.
Remove Past Positions
If you’re no longer actively looking for jobs in a certain industry or role, remove those past positions from your profile. This reduces messages from recruiters casting wide nets based on old job titles. Keep your profile focused on your current industry and goals.
Don’t Post Your Email Publicly
If you want to display an email address on your profile, use LinkedIn’s “Contact info” field instead of adding it visibly. This displays your email to connections only and prevents it from being scraped by bots or strangers.
Review Recent Connections
Do you notice a pattern of unwanted messages coming from recent connections, like recruiters or sales prospects? Tighten up your acceptance criteria for new connections and do more vetting before accepting to limit low-quality contacts.
Adjust Notification Settings
By default, LinkedIn sends email notifications for new messages. You can adjust settings to only notify you when receiving messages from your network. Go to Settings > Communications > Email notifications and uncheck categories like “Introductions” and “Requests.”
Use an Alternate Profile Picture
Some people attract more unwanted messages using an appealing headshot vs. a logo or professional branding image for their profile picture. Consider testing an alternate photo that shifts focus to your professional brand vs. appearance.
List a Company Page as Your Profile
Company pages can be used as LinkedIn profiles. Some individuals choose this route to completely avoid inbox messages and keep their focus on company branding vs. their personal brand.
Turn Off Profile View Notifications
You can disable notifications about who views your profile under Settings > Communications > Profile view notifications. Some people harass others by viewing their profile repeatedly, so turning this off avoids enabling those behaviors.
Limit Sharing Your LinkedIn URL Publicly
Be careful about posting your LinkedIn profile URL on public forums or business cards. This allows anyone to directly access your profile and message inbox. Share your URL only when required on job applications.
Block Recruiters Who Don’t Follow Process
Reject and block recruiters who try to shortcut your application process or bypass set screening calls. Also report recruiters contacting you about irrelevant job opportunities despite your current role and goals.
Avoid Controversial Groups
Joining debate-oriented LinkedIn Groups opens you up to more unsolicited arguments from members. Stick with professional groups that focus on topics you actively work with in your industry.
LinkedIn provides tools to control your inbox and block unwelcome contact, but prevention starts with being cautious about what profile details you share publicly. Evaluate your settings, profile content, groups, and online behavior to proactively deter unwanted messages.