How to Delete Your LinkedIn Account Permanently: The Ultimate Guide

As one of the world‘s largest professional networking platforms with over 850 million members, LinkedIn provides invaluable connections, content and opportunities to boost your career.

Yet there may come a time when you feel deleting your LinkedIn account is the right move, whether due to privacy concerns, changing career paths or a desire to permanently close that chapter of your professional life.

Fortunately, while irreversibly removing your presence isn‘t as simple as pressing an “offline” button, following some easy steps makes clearing out your LinkedIn profile straightforward.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know to permanently delete your LinkedIn account, including:

  • LinkedIn’s Rise to Connecting 850+ Million Professionals
  • When Deleting Your Account Makes Sense
  • Step-by-Step Account Deletion Process
  • Downloading Your Data and Closing Your Account
  • What Happens After You Delete a LinkedIn Account
  • Temporarily Deactivating vs Deleting Account
  • Reactivating Within 14 Days If You Change Your Mind
  • LinkedIn’s Rules on Multiple Accounts
  • Expert Tips and Answers to “What If” Questions

Let’s get started!

LinkedIn‘s Unparalleled Reach Across Industries

Since officially launching on May 5, 2003, LinkedIn has rapidly emerged as the world’s go-to platform for professional networking and career development opportunities.

But to understand LinkedIn’s tools that spark game-changing connections for hundreds of millions each day, it helps to reflect on a few key milestones:

LinkedIn Timeline and Key Facts

2002Founded in co-founder Reid Hoffman’s living room
2004Reached 1 million members
2009Launched LinkedIn mobile app
2016Acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion
2022Surpassed 850 million members

Today, LinkedIn continues accelerating its vision to create economic opportunity for every global professional. Members reportedly land a new job through LinkedIn every 8 seconds, indicative of the platform‘s unrivaled influence on career trajectories across industries.

Beyond networking, LinkedIn empowers members to:

  • Discover professional development opportunities
  • Join influential industry groups and discussions
  • Publish career advice articles showcasing their expertise
  • Message contacts and schedule meetings
  • Follow influential thought leaders and news outlets

However, even the most prolific social networks aren‘t forever. Let‘s explore why deleting your LinkedIn account can make sense.

When Should You Delete Your LinkedIn Account?

Most professionals receive abundant value from LinkedIn‘s offerings and access to nearly 1 billion members.

Yet depending on your circumstances, severing ties with LinkedIn permanently or temporarily may be the best path forward:

Changing Careers

Transitioning to a totally new industry or role? Wiping past connections and content gives you a fresh slate to broadcast your evolving aspirations.

Irrelevant Old Accounts

If you created a lackluster LinkedIn profile years ago without updating it since, deletion removes outdated details from public view.

Privacy and Data Tracking Concerns

According to LinkedIn‘s Privacy Policy, permanently deleting your account doesn‘t guarantee all historical usage data and related analytics are erased. If this level of ongoing data retention by LinkedIn after closing your account is unacceptable, deleting is your only recourse.

Too Many Notifications

The barrage of connection invites, messages and notifications from LinkedIn can ultimately feel distracting and overwhelming. Deleting your account instantly quiets the noise.

Exclusively Using Competitor Platforms

If you feel LinkedIn competitors like Xing or Viadeo align better to your professional needs, removing your LinkedIn presence draws a line in the sand.

Now that you know why people delete their LinkedIn accounts, let‘s get tactical…

How to Permanently Delete Your LinkedIn Account

Ready to remove your LinkedIn presence for good? Follow these key steps:

Step 1: Download Your Account Data

Before erasing your presence, you likely want to download a backup of your account data for personal records or easy reactivation later:

  1. Click profile photo and select Settings & Privacy
  2. Choose How LinkedIn uses your data
  3. Click Get a copy of your data
  4. Select data to download
  5. Click Request archive

You‘ll receive an email within 24 hours to download your data archive once ready.

Step 2: Cancel Any Premium Subscription

LinkedIn offers premium tiers called LinkedIn Premium Career and Premium Business providing enhanced services for job seekers and sales professionals respectively.

However, you can only permanently delete the free version of a LinkedIn account. So Premium subscribers must:

  1. Click profile photo then Access my Premium
  2. Select Manage premium account
  3. Click Cancel subscription
  4. Follow prompts to confirm cancellation

Once reverted to the Basic free account, account removal access is restored.

Step 3: Permanently Delete Account

With no active Premium membership and data archived, you‘re ready to permanently erase your presence:

  1. Click profile photo and choose Settings & Privacy > Account preferences
  2. Under Account management, click Close account
  3. Select reason for deleting account
  4. Enter password and click Close account

LinkedIn Account Deletion

After entering your password and clicking the ominous-sounding Close Account button pictured above, your profile and data begin removal behind the scenes.

But what exactly happens post-deletion?

What Happens After You Delete Your LinkedIn Account

After you close your LinkedIn account, here is the sequence of events:

  • Immediate Changes: Your profile, content and data immediately become inaccessible to other users. Any Premium subscriptions are cancelled.

  • Data Removal: Within 24 hours after starting deletion, your personal account data like name, email address and more is purged from LinkedIn’s systems. Some usage analytics may still be stored anonymously.

  • Search Engine Removal: Within 1 week, Google and other search engines remove cached copies of your profile from their search results.

  • Account Reactivation: You have 14 days to reactivate your account if you change your mind. Simply click the “recover account” link in the closure confirmation email LinkedIn sent. After 14 days, removal is permanent.

Reactivating reverses the process, but endorsements and messages cannot be recovered.

Now, let‘s explore an alternative to permanent deletion…

Deactivating vs Deleting Your LinkedIn Account

If aspects of your LinkedIn presence hold sentimental value or deleting feels overly final, temporary deactivation keeps your profile hidden while preserving account data.

Also called hibernation mode, deactivation:

  • Removes profile from searches and feed
  • Pauses notifications and messages
  • Preserves connections, content and data
  • Cancels Premium memberships
  • Lets you instantly reactivate account anytime

See how key features compare across active, deactivated and deleted LinkedIn accounts:

FeatureActive AccountDeactivated AccountDeleted Account
Profile VisibilityVisibleHiddenDeleted
Connections PreservedYesYesNo
Content AccessibleYesYesNo
ReactivationN/AAnytime14 Days

Key Takeaway: Deactivating your account provides a reversible way to take a "LinkedIn holiday". But deleting is the only way to completely erase your presence for good.

How to Reactivate a Recently Deleted Account

If you have regrets about deleting your account soon after closing it, LinkedIn grants a 14 day window for easy account reactivation.

To restore your previously deleted account:

  1. Go to LinkedIn‘s login page
  2. Enter your credentials
  3. Click Reactivate your account link
  4. Follow email prompts to confirm reactivation

However, while this restores your connections, pending invites and messages cannot be recovered even within the 14 day reactivation period after starting deletion.

LinkedIn‘s Rules on Having Multiple Accounts

Can you create and manage two LinkedIn accounts simultaneously?

According to LinkedIn’s End User License Agreement (EULA), maintaining more than one personal LinkedIn account at the same time is prohibited.

The only exception is having separate company pages and group accounts tied to businesses you administrate, alongside your individual profile.

If LinkedIn detects duplicate personal accounts, they can terminate both profiles without notice. So if you currently have two accounts, decide which one to actively maintain before deleting the other.

In Summary…

I hope this guide helped underscore that while permanently deleting your LinkedIn account severs invaluable networking ties and opportunities, the process is straightforward by:

  • Downloading a data backup
  • Cancelling Premium memberships
  • Following LinkedIn’s account closure steps
  • Reactivating within 14 days if you have second thoughts

Remember, deactivating your account also allows you to take a temporary timeout while preserving your profile and connections for easy reactivation anytime.

I wish you the best of luck in your current and future professional journeys, whether or not LinkedIn remains part of your game plan!

Let me know if any questions pop up. I‘m happy to help talk through any aspects of permanently or temporarily removing your LinkedIn presence.

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