Should You Delete Your LinkedIn Account? The Ultimate Guide on Removing Your Professional Presence

Hi there!

So you‘re thinking about deleting your LinkedIn account? With privacy and data security concerns on the rise, severing ties with major social platforms is tempting.

However, as the world‘s largest professional network with over 930 million members, LinkedIn occupies a unique space. Maintaining your profile can feel critical for advancement in many career paths.

But is deleting the right call? By the end this comprehensive guide, we’ll empower you to make the best personal choice around removing or maintaining your LinkedIn presence.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The heated debate around social media usage and mounting data privacy worries
  • Valid reasons you may want your LinkedIn gone
  • Step-by-step instructions for permanent and temporary account deletion
  • What to expect after your profile is removed
  • Alternatives beyond complete deletion worth considering
  • Checklists to decide if saying goodbye to LinkedIn is advisable for you

Let‘s start by examining what‘s driving so many to cut social media ties once and for all.

The Growing Social Media Privacy Debate

In recent years, a movement has surged around reducing or eliminating social media usage over growing ethical concerns:

Data Exploitation

Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn face ongoing criticism regarding how they profit from users‘ personal information. Even when set as private, vast amounts of user data supports complex advertiser targeting systems.

Legal Controversies

Facebook in particular has weathered high-profile scandals like Cambridge Analytica, where 87 million users had data harvested without consent. LinkedIn was also sued in 2020 for excessive data gathering. Public trust is falling.

Wellbeing Impact

Experts point to declining mental health and rising anxiety/depression rates from excessive social media use. The endless comparisons and self-promoting culture take a toll.

Calls for Change

Support grows for more ethical design standards that respect user wellbeing over engagement and data maximization. But established platforms are resistant.

For many, deleting entirely feels like the only way to address mounting privacy, wellness and security concerns with entrenched social networks.

LinkedIn may offer more professional focus. But you still likely question its impact on your life. Understanding valid reasons both for and against leaving can clarify if removal is right for you.

Why You May Want Your LinkedIn Gone for Good

Here are the most compelling cases we often hear for cutting ties with LinkedIn by deleting your account permanently:

1. You Crave Greater Privacy and Anonymity

For those like counselors, public victims or controversial profiles, keeping any online presence raises safety and privacy issues. Permanently deleting accounts reduces exposure risks.

Even private settings don‘t prevent client recommending you without consent or past content resurfacing. The only way to fully control exposure is removal.

Of course, privacy around an established professional reputation also has advantages we‘ll discuss shortly. But for some, true anonymity is mandatory for wellbeing.

2. You Find the Self-Promotion Culture Taxing

LinkedIn dominates as the embodiment of the "personal branding" age. Maintaining a strong profile demands continual updates, recommendations and attention gathering "look at me!" posts.

The associated stress around online performance and reputation exposure fuels rising burnout rates. For some, regaining mental space trumps career visibility.

3. You Want to Revoke Consent Around Your Data

However rigorous LinkedIn‘s privacy controls may be, ultimately their business relies on aggregating and analyzing user information. You have little say or rights around how your employment history and profile activity is utilized or monetized by algorithms.

Permanently removing your account entirely effectively revokes consent around your data being included in LinkedIn‘s systems for commercial purposes. But it comes at a cost.

4. You Hope to Send a Message to LinkedIn

No matter how loud calls for platforms to improve ethical standards become, user outrage rarely impacts entrenched networks maximizing profits.

Individually deleting your account likely won‘t compel change. But for some, the symbolic act of refusing participation matters despite career downsides.

Of course, there are also advantages to maintaining your LinkedIn presence. As we weigh both sides, keep your own situation in mind before deciding removal is right for you.

Valuable Advantages to Keeping Your LinkedIn

Alongside increased privacy and reduced stress as potential benefits to deleting your account, also recognize what your likely lose:

1. Access to Opportunities

The reality is LinkedIn has become the defacto platform for recruitment and professional networking across most industries.

Around 70% of companies rely on LinkedIn for hiring alone. Removing your presence closes the door on spontaneous opportunities that could significantly advance your career.

2. Loss of Personal Branding & Credibility

Your profile provides visibility and verification of your capabilities, experience and trustworthiness. Without this showcasing, conveying your value both day-to-day and for future prospects suffers.

Reestablishing networks and profile-based authority takes immense time and effort to rebuild from scratch. Your deletion may be permanent, but so too is the competitive advantage and access lost alongside your presence.

3. Reduced Learning & Development

While noisy at times, your LinkedIn feed still delivers targeted news, training opportunities and industry insights. Losing this tailored, professional-focused content risks leaving awareness gaps.

Maintaining wider visibility on trends, best practices and peer career progress can significantly enhance your own skill and leadership development.

As you weigh both sets of considerations against your personal situation, recognize that permanent deletion is not the only option. We‘ll cover temporary deactivation shortly, but first – let‘s get into the removal process itself if you still wish to proceed.

How to Permanently Delete Your LinkedIn Account

If eliminating your LinkedIn presence still makes the most sense after assessing the pros and cons, here is how to completely remove your account:

On Desktop

  1. From your profile menu, access Settings & Privacy then scroll down to Close Account
  2. Confirm your choice and enter your account password
  3. Select whether to continue receiving emails or not
  4. Click Done to immediately and permanently delete your account

Your profile, connections, messages and all personal data is now removed from LinkedIn‘s systems.

On Mobile

  1. Go to your profile and open settings
  2. Choose Account Preferences > Close Account
  3. Follow the verification steps and toggle off emails if you wish
  4. Tap Done to complete your account deletion

But before pulling the plug for good, consider downloading your data for personal backup.

Always Download Your Data Before Closing Your LinkedIn

On desktop, LinkedIn allows you to download an archive your personal account information before permanent removal.

Here‘s how to request your data backup:

  1. From settings, choose Data Privacy > Get a Copy of Your Data
  2. Select whether to export your full account data or specific sections only
  3. Click Request Archive and wait for your download link via email
  4. Download the files within 72 hours before the links expire

With your account now officially deleted, what happens to all of the personal data associated with your profile?

What to Expect When You Delete Your LinkedIn Account

Once completed, here is what you can expect from removing your LinkedIn presence:

  • Immediate profile removal from view along with your connections and content
  • Permanent deletion from LinkedIn‘s systems so data can no longer be accessed or recovered
  • A 14 day window to still login and cancel your account removal
  • Slow removal from search engine caches and indexes over months
  • A blank slate to rebuild professional connections and online presence from scratch

The last point is most critical to set expectations around. While information leaves LinkedIn itself instantly, you‘ve likely left a long internet trail that can‘t be erased overnight.

Don‘t Expect Instant Removal from Search Engines

Google and other search providers can take weeks or longer to fully drop outdated LinkedIn account information from results. Pages linking to your profile also won‘t disappear quickly.

If seeing your name still appear is highly sensitive, manually removing yourself from search engines is options but complex. Often patience is the only approach.

The key insight is permanence in the context of internet records is nebulous. But for career purposes, understand that reestablishing your professional presence after deletion takes immense time and effort.

Still, if being forgotten across the web quickly is essential, deleting your account then utilizing anonymization tools like MaskMe helps ease the transition.

With expectations now set around the realities of removing your account, consider if alternatives like temporary deactivation may better suit your needs while keeping your network intact.

How to Temporarily Deactivate Your LinkedIn Account

If aspects like opportunities awareness or instant search engine removal are critical but you need a social media break, deactivating your profile is reversible option.

On Desktop

  1. From your profile menu go to Settings & Privacy
  2. Under Account Management select Hibernate Account
  3. Confirm your password and reason for temporary deactivation

Your account is now hidden from your connections until you log back in and reactive your profile.

On Mobile

  1. Tap your profile image and select Settings
  2. Go to Account Preferences > Hibernate Account
  3. Verify your choice and password

Hibernation keeps your connections, messages and brand intact while pausing visibility and site notifications. You can instantly reactivate at any time.

For those needing privacy after media events or temporarily leaving the workforce, it strikes a balance. But simpler options exist beyond shutting everything down.

4 Alternatives to Totally Deleting LinkedIn

Permanently deleting your account is final, while deactivation is temporary. But many scenarios exist between total presence removal vs lifetime commitment to the platform.

Consider these intermediate options first depending your reasons for wanting distance:

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

For greater control over public visibility while maintaining your networks, tweak your LinkedIn privacy settings. Highlights include:

  • Profile viewing options
  • Sharing profile edits visibility
  • Ad preferences and data usage
  • Search engine findability

Reduced visibility ends promotional pressure while retaining access for selective opportunities by request.

If personal safety concerns make anonymity mandatory, restricting findability alone may prove insufficient. But for most career focused individuals seeking balance, adjusting privacy sets helpful boundaries.

Use Anonymization Browser Extensions

Rather than totally gives up your presence, browser extensions like MaskMe empower situational anonymity:

  • Auto mask images to remove your photo
  • Fake name swap to show "Joe Public"
  • One click profile anonymization

When privacy matters, enable. Otherwise, browse normally signed in to stay updated.

Temporarily Disable Notifications

If constant alerts or the fear of missing out fuels anxiety, reset your LinkedIn notifications preferences without severing connections:

  • Mute pings for set periods
  • Unsubscribe from groups/hashtags
  • Customize updates by type/frequency
  • Preserve vital opportunity alerts

Information overload fuels much social media fatigue. Throttling alerts resets focus.

Simply Disengage Without Deleting

Rather than rush into permanent removal actions, consider allowing time for frustrations around political posts or comparisons anxiety to pass:

  • Take a 1-3 month sabbatical
  • Disable mobile apps for selectivity
  • Observe if problems still feel significant with rest

Especially amidst temporary stress, patience avoids burning career bridges simply from short-term circumstances.

Running through alternatives analysis, we‘ve covered plenty of ground around the pros, cons, process practicalities and alternatives to deleting your account.

Let‘s conclude by crystallizing key questions to finalize if taking this major step makes sense for you right now.

Key Questions to Decide If You Should Delete LinkedIn

Consider the following before committing to permanent removal:

Why exactly do I wish to delete my LinkedIn account?

  • What specific problems or needs am I looking to address?
  • Are there other ways to achieve my goals beyond complete deletion?

What professional opportunities could I lose through leaving?

  • How could removal limit my career progression or earning potential?
  • Might I regret the loss of connections, visibility and access later on?

What alternatives better align to my concerns?

Have I fully considered options like temporarily deactivating my account or adjusting privacy settings instead?

Is now the right time for such a permanent decision?

  • Am I reacting just to temporary stress that may pass naturally?
  • Would taking a break from the platform help me reset perspective?

Carefully weighing both case both for and against, while keeping alternatives in mind, ensures you make the soundest choice.

Weigh your personal answers to these key questions. Where you land given your profession and reasons for wanting some LinkedIn distance determines what the right next step looks like.

But if cutting ties permanently still makes sense knowing the risks, use this guide to cleanly remove your account and start fresh.

Know that while internet records linger, preventing future use of your data by the platform itself brings closure. Just prepare to rebuild networks and visibility from the ground up if you return to LinkedIn down the track.

In Closing

Engaging social platforms still populate the modern career landscape for better and worse. But as awareness and regulations around ethical data usage continues developing, greater user empowerment emerges.

Exercising consent via account removal remains the most definitive option for now. But hope rests with network design evolution that supports career connectivity without fueling a culture of self-promotion for profit.

With this guide‘s insights, find the choice aligning best to your needs. Stay strong through the frustrations as we collectively nudge professional social networks to respect user wellbeing over running targeted ads. Prioritize your health along the journey.

Now go out there and thrive both online and off however makes the most sense for your life.