LinkedIn Maintenance: Do This Right Now (or else?)

I just updated the instructions which changed sometime between Feb and Nov 2012.  Click here to see how to easily backup your LinkedIn Profile and Recommendations, and DO IT TODAY!

I got an e-mail from Susan Ireland, at the Job Lounge.  She asked me if I knew anything about LinkedIn deleting people’s accounts… I’ve heard a little about this, but mostly just hand-slapping for looking like spammers.  Getting an account deleted can be a huge problem, especially as you use LinkedIn more.

She writes about it here (I can almost hear a tear drop on her keyboard as I read it… ouch!!!).

The two issues are (1) why she was deleted, and (2) what LinkedIn can/will do about it.  I have no idea why she was deleted, and apparently she doesn’t either.  As far as she knows, she wasn’t doing anything wrong with her LinkedIn account, or LinkedIn connections.  As far as what LinkedIn can or will do, here is their response:

“At this time we do not have a recommended back up system for your account. Once something has been deleted there is not a back up at this time to recover any information. …One thing you can do is copy your profile information and save it as a word document so that you will always have it on your computer.”

Not very comforting, is it?

Here are two absolute must-do’s, right now, on LinkedIn – and they will take less time than it takes to read this blog post (so do it now!): NEW INSTRUCTIONS HERE

  1. Export your contacts. Simply click on Contacts, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on Export Connections, and follow that process.  Just leave everything at default and you’ll end up with your connections in a .csv file, which opens in Excel.
  2. Export your profile. You’ve probably put a fair amount of thought into creating your profile, right?  What about any references you have gotten?  Simply click on Profile, then find the grayed-out icons above your name, and click on the adobe pdf icon.  This exports your profile, including recommendations, into a very nice, presentable document (kudos to whoever at LinkedIn did that formatting, it is very well-done!).  Here’s an image of where the icon is:

These are the two most important things for me to grab, if I knew my LinkedIn account might go away.  (1) Who I connected with, which includes e-mail addresses very every single contact, (2) my recommendations  (I can always rethink and recreate a profile, but those recommendations are priceless!).

Please, don’t even take 2 seconds to comment on this post, just head on over to LinkedIn and do this very easy, very quick maintenance!

66 thoughts on “LinkedIn Maintenance: Do This Right Now (or else?)”

  1. Hi Jason,
    Thank you very much for such a thorough response. Check this out:

    This morning I got the following email from LinkedIn customer support. Is it just a coincidence that I got it one day after writing posting my LinkedIn experience on my blog?

    Dear Susan,
    I am writing to you in response to some miscommunication between you and another one of our customer support representatives. We can actually re-activate your old account under “” and I would be more than happy to do so for you.

    What happened to your account is this: every month we receive a list of accounts which have suspicious or inappropriate names. Based on certain criteria we close these accounts to help keep the integrity of the database clean. Your account appeared on this list due to the fact that your e-mail address appeared in your name field. It is a privacy violation to do so, however, this is hardly criteria for an account to be closed. One of our newer representatives mistakenly closed the account and this is why no notification was sent out.
    The error the customer service rep is referring to is this: I created my account with the name “Susan Ireland” instead of just “Susan Ireland”.

    I hope this helps someone else avoid such a problem!

    PS, I’m going to back up from now on as you suggested!

  2. Wow, tho I do this with other avenues on my web bizzes and have JUST my profile saved in a text file on my pc and a disc, it would never have occurred to me to do my contact list, duh! thanks so much for the tip!

  3. Thanks so much for this article and for linking it on Twitter! I’ve invested too much developing my profile and connections to lose it in a technical glitch! I appreciate the heads up and the clear instructions!


  4. Heh. I feel like an idiot for not thinking of this later, but… Now that you’ve rightfully nudged us to back up our LinkedIn contacts, it occurs to me that we have them in .csv format, which means we can also upload them to JibberJobber and merge them with little effort. 🙂

  5. wow… I even pleaded with you to not comment and I get a bunch of comments :p Thanks all for your show of support.

    @Anemone… your comment cracks me up. You say you feel like an idiot for not thinking of it… well, I should have put a note in saying “and this would be a great time to import the data into JibberJobber!”

    Oh well, I can’t think of *everything* … thank you for thinking of it for me!

    @Susan Ireland – I’m very, very pleased with the response LinkedIn gave you, that is terrific!

  6. The Recruiting Animal profile was suspended without warning because he was allegedly not a human being. This was significant because he was the manager of the Recruiting Animal Show group. If they would have warned me before acting I could have transferred the ownership of the group myself in a minute. Instead it took a week to get it done.

  7. Jason, Thanks so much for this important reminder. The profile download was new to me and much appreciated. We sometimes forget that there are people behind all of these systems and software and sometimes people make mistakes. It’s always better to be prepared.

  8. ok… now that I have these done… what about Q&A… I have started to keep track of people that I interact with through Q&A in JJ… but an easy way to keep thier nuggets of wisdom would be handy 🙂

  9. Jason,

    Thanks for the information. All has been downloaded/saved. Now to get it into JibberJobber…..


  10. Thanks for the reminder, and also for posting the information on how to do it. I’ve been “meaning to”m export my contacts as well as the contacts in my LinkedIn group for some time now. Although I’m glad Susan’s story had a happy ending, it’s still a worthwhile thing to do.

    And I commented AFTER I followed the instructions. Is that allowed?

  11. I download my contacts every month for tracking purposes. I printed the profile as suggested. AND, I went thru all my contacts that have an email in their name and alerted them to possible trouble. paying it forward? the big fat old turkey hisself

  12. Thanks great information done.

    I have one other suggestion that might be helpful for some. I worked a Career One Stop and we had problems with people having back ups for resumes. If there wasn’t an electronic copy it would up in rewrites not fun
    What we suggest with any information that you may need to access whether it be linkedin, resume, contacts. Attach a copy of the information file and mail it to youself. As long as you have access to a computer you can get to it. this would be an add to other devices such asthumb drive , cd whatever.
    Sort of a simplified off site back up.


  13. @Peter M – great suggestion. If I have something critical (right now I’m working on a new book – I’m on Twitter — Now What???”) I’ll e-mail it to my gmail account, which has virtually unlimited storage. Yes, it’s limited, but I’m not going to hit the limit. I can access it from anywhere I want, though, which is awesome.

    Also, for letters of recommendation, reference letters, resumes, etc. I would encourage you to put them into JibberJobber, in the Document Manager. When you send any of these in response to a job posting, or to a network contact, you can log that and then see how often you are using your documents, and perhaps identify opportunities to follow up.

  14. Jason,

    Good post. You and I discussed offline a similar situation with Facebook. I had just created my account, putting a ton of work into it, inviting 200 friends, adding/playing with apps, etc. I had gotten 30 friend confirmations when POOF, it disappeared. Didn’t recongize my email login. Clicking through many help menus finally got me to a support email. It took them 10 days to respond and i had to reply to the mail to verify my identity as well as post all correspondence with facebook from that email. 5 days later they reinstated it with no explanation. I’m glad I waited and didn’t repost the info as then i would have had TWO accounts. So the recommendation here is just patience.

    One still irritating thing that they claim they can do nothing. You cannot resend a friend request. So the friends that “deleted” the email when they tried to confirm with me and found empty space I would have to personally send emails to reinvite them. Anyway, hopefully others don’t have to go through this stress.

    Mark Beckford

  15. Hi Jason, I read your post and scooted right over to LinkedIn to apply your advice. It’s funny I had been thinking about exporting my contacts but put it off until I read your warning. Thank you for taking time to share Susan’s situation and alert us how to save our data. Whew! Close call!


  16. Great advice. Done.

    I just wanted to add that the PDF does not show all the groups that you are a member of.

    BTW IE lets you email a page. You can also get your profile that way, and it includes the groups. (I’d like to find a Firefox extension that does this.)

  17. Luckily, this time I was not one of those people who are saying “I should have….” Thanks for the great advice, you may also want to let people know to date the file if their network is constantly growing so they can replace the backup files as they grow. Great post!

  18. If they cannot restore a profile, then does it mean they don’t have a daily backup? Or a weekly? Does it mean, that if some big boo-boo happens to the database, the whole of LinkedIn will be wiped out?
    That sounds rather stupid.

  19. I don’t like living on the edge Robert! I guess I am a follower too. Thanks for the advice Jason. There is a great deal of valuable information on Linkedin I would hate to loose. Now it is at least backed up. The challenge is to remember to do this as new connections are added and my profile is updated with recommendations, etc.

  20. I wasn’t aware of these back-up options so have now done so. I also made note of the comment above from LinkedIn that indicates the account was originally flagged because of the email address in the name. At some point (after I signed up for my LinkedIn account) they did change the user license agreement to say you cannot have an email address in your profile name. I ran into a similar problem, although they were kind and did not delete my account.

    Thanks so much for making us aware of this!


  21. Another quick way to copy your profile (using IE) is to follow the below steps

    1. Logon and browse thru to your profile.
    2. In ‘File’ menu of the webpage, select ‘Save As….’
    3. In the Folder Selection box navigate to your choice of folder
    4. In the ‘Save as type’ drop down, select “Webpage, complete (*.hmt; *.html)”
    5. Click on Save

    This way your profile can be backed-up along with all the groups and in fact, all the active links too !!!!!

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