In several Job Lounge posts, I've referenced LinkedIn as a worthwhile social/professional network that can help job seekers tremendously. Used wisely (i.e., if you build a network of only contacts you know and trust), a job seeker's LinkedIn account can be priceless for getting good career information and referrals.
About six weeks ago, my LinkedIn account suddenly disappeared. Poof!.. completely wiped out of the system with no evidence that it had ever existed. I contacted LinkedIn support but didn't get an answer. I'm certain I didn't violate any LinkedIn policies and to this day I don't understand why I was dumped.
Reluctantly, I rejoined LinkedIn, rewrote my profile, and started inviting all the contacts I could remember to rejoin my network. It was no small job and it was quite annoying. Even worse: I lost all the recommendations that had been written for me; and all the recommendations I had written for other LinkedIn members disappeared from their profiles.
I recently contacted LinkedIn again to see if there is a way to backup my new account so this sort of thing doesn't happened again. Here was the customer support 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.
Although I appreciate getting a response from customer service, it really doesn't help. Rewriting the profile was the least of my headaches. Rebuilding the network, and rewriting and requesting new recommendations was a real pain.
Despite this fiasco, I still recommend LinkedIn highly. It's an invaluable online networking tool. I haven't heard of anyone else having a negative experience so I assume my problem was simply a technical glitch that I happen to get caught in. But just in case I get caught in that glitch again, here's what I've come up with as a makeshift backup system:
- I created an email group for my LinkedIn contacts. This email group is part of my email system (which happens to be AOL) and is independent of LinkedIn. If I get booted from LinkedIn again, I'll contact my network with one group email instead of browsing my address book trying to remember who's a LinkedIn member.
- On my hard drive I have an MS Word document in which I copy and paste my profile entries, recommendations I receive, and ones I write for others.
Getting LinkedIn is easy. Staying LinkedIn seems to be the tricky part for me.