Who “owns” your profile and connections on LinkedIn?
You probably think you do. The answer is a little more complicated. If LinkedIn went out of business/got hacked/got greedy tomorrow, you might have difficulty retrieving all your data. If your account was hacked – would you be able to quickly recreate that profile you spent hours building?
If you left your current company and they believed they owned your connections (e.g. someone in business development), would they have a right to them? Perhaps your company thinks they own your connections, especially if you’ve made them on behalf of your employer while working there. LinkedIn does try to protect you in their User’s Agreement. My purpose here is not to get into the legalities – but just to keep your best interests in mind no matter what other things might happen to you.
Step 1 – Save a copy of your connections
Imagine losing all the information for your hundreds or thousands of connections on LinkedIn. Does this give you a sense of panic? Good! Use that energy to take action right away.
Click on “Me” and go to your Settings and Privacy
Click on Data Privacy on the left
(Note: You can choose any or all of the components of your profile but it will take up to 2 days to receive the link. You should do that too but do this (connections) first. Receiving just your connections – no matter how many – takes just ten minutes.)
In just ten minutes you should receive an email from LinkedIn with a link to download your connections. Sometimes the link doesn’t work well. It’s worth trying to use another browser before giving up or contacting LinkedIn for help. Save it as an Excel file and you can sort it if you choose.
Be aware that connecting with people on LinkedIn does not give you the right to add them to your email/newsletter list. This is not LinkedIn’s rule – it’s the law. See the Federal Trade Commission’s Cann Spam Act. However, you can email your connections and ask if they’d like to be added to your email list. Note that Europe’s new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is even stricter. Laws in other countries vary.
Step 2 – Save a copy of your profile
LinkedIn makes this very easy and I recommend you do it now and then any time after any future changes to your profile. It does not include everything in your profile – just your headline, summary, job descriptions, education, and honors and awards – but it would make recreating your profile a lot easier.
Click on Save to PDF
And then save into a folder you’ve set up for your archives.
Now you can have a little peace of mind about your LinkedIn assets regardless of what happens.
(From the series “Do Just One Thing” dedicated to helping you complete and utilize your LinkedIn profile in just a few minutes a day.)
I would love to talk with you about the benefits to you of having a great profile on LinkedIn, how to use it without it taking up more time than you can afford, what’s appropriate for you to share on LinkedIn, and how I could help you with your professional goals. Please schedule a free 20-minute strategy consultation to see how I might be able to assist you.