When I Googled the phrase “linkedin profile is missing”, more than 400 million results appeared. Clearly this is an issue impacting and worrying many LinkedIn users.
The last thing you can afford is having your LinkedIn profile disappear or your account shut down. You’re probably quaking right now at the very thought that this could ever happen to you.
But it can happen . . . for any number of reasons.
You may do something – purposely or not – that leads LinkedIn to boot you out. Or, circumstances beyond your control could be at play.
The main reasons your LinkedIn Profile is missing:
- LinkedIn experienced a technological problem.
- The data in your profile became corrupted.
- LinkedIn suspects you were using certain automation tools to run searches and collect data.
- Another user reported you for abusive behavior and your account was terminated as a result.
- You were spamming.
- You were doing other things in violation of their user agreement and/or policies.
- Your account was hacked into by someone.
Unfortunately, you may never determine exactly why your LinkedIn profile is missing.
Let’s take a look at how this could happen, and what you can do to recover, in some cases.
Your LinkedIn Profile is Missing Because of Something You Did (or They Think You Did)
In the past, I’ve written about some surprising things LinkedIn says you can’t do, and the actions they can take when you break the rules.
In the post, I advise that you take a close look at the User Agreement. It’s packed with details on the things you might be doing right now that could lead them to take enforcement actions.
Their rules are ever-changing, but it reads now in the “Rights and Limits” section:
“LinkedIn reserves the right to limit your use of the Services, including the number of your connections and your ability to contact other Members. LinkedIn reserves the right to restrict, suspend, or terminate your account if you breach this Contract or the law or are misusing the Services (e.g., violating any of the Dos and Don’ts or Professional Community Policies).”
Moving to the Professional Community Policies page, you’ll see the statement:
“Violating our community policies can result in action against your account or content.
These policies apply to all members. Depending on the severity of violation, we may limit the visibility of certain content, label it, or remove it entirely. Repeated or egregious offenses will result in account restriction.”
I didn’t search further on LinkedIn for more information about how and why they might cancel a member’s account, but both of these statements feel pretty strong to me. Do they need to reinforce this even more?
They plainly say that they may close your account if you violate their guidelines.
If your LinkedIn profile is missing, did you do any of these things?
Here are some of the specific ways you might violate their policies, as noted on the Professional Community Policies page.
Do not do any of these things, among other things:
- Create a fake profile or falsify information about yourself.
- Share false or misleading content.
- Post harassing content.
- Threaten, incite, or promote violence.
- Share material depicting the exploitation of children.
- Share content promoting dangerous organizations or individuals.
- Be hateful.
- Engage in sexual innuendos or unwanted advances.
- Share harmful or shocking material.
- Spam members or the platform.
I frequently see some of these things going on and I wonder how many of these people get in trouble:
If you see members doing any of these things, you are encouraged to report them to LinkedIn.
If someone reported YOU for bad behavior, LinkedIn reserves the right to close out your account.
I could not find information about whether or not they will notify you in advance, if you’re in violation and they plan to take action.
To me, this means that suddenly and without notice, parts or all of your profile or LinkedIn activity could disappear.
Even if they DO notify you of an infraction, and give you a chance to fix things, what if you’re not so good about checking your email to find a message from them? What if you don’t log on to LinkedIn very often?
Your profile could vanish before you know anything is wrong.
Your LinkedIn Profile is Missing Some Things Due to Circumstances Beyond Your Control
The potential disappearance of your LinkedIn profile aside, there are other fairly innocuous things routinely happening on LinkedIn that could alarm you. Things sometimes go missing on LinkedIn. Some of these things you can control, others are out of your hands.
Missing names in your list of connections
If a connection of yours closed their LinkedIn account or removed you from their connections list, they will no longer be on your list of connections. You will not be notified of the reason why a connection is missing.
Missing LinkedIn recommendations
A LinkedIn recommendation will disappear if the member who wrote it removes it, or is no longer a member. If it’s the former, you’ll have to decide whether you want to contact the person directly and find out why. Otherwise, you cannot recover these recommendations.
Missing pieces due to site malfunction
Another reason parts of your LinkedIn profile or activities could be missing: LinkedIn constantly tweaks functionality to improve the user experience, and glitches occur. This kind of thing usually corrects itself quickly.
Missing features or sections that other members have
Similar to the above item, when LinkedIn adds new features or functionality, they often slowly roll them out to members. So you may just have to wait a few weeks to get the newest shiny object in your account.
If a hacker attacks and gobbles up or spams your profile, LinkedIn may shut down your account. My account was hacked years ago. Luckily I found out quickly, notified LinkedIn, changed my password quickly, and stopped nefarious activity before it escalated.
LinkedIn suspects you were spamming and/or using automation tools
We all get things wrong sometimes, and that includes LinkedIn.
They may shut down your account or parts of your profile even though you’ve done nothing wrong.
Sales and marketing pro Neal Schaffer wrote about a friend whose account was unfairly suspended because they suspected he was using automation tools.
He received the following response from LinkedIn:
“We have recently noticed a large number of page searches and profile views through your LinkedIn account. We are aware that you may be using an automated or manual process to systematically view LinkedIn web pages.
The information within LinkedIn is provided by our users for usage on the site only. In order to protect user privacy, our User Agreement prohibits using:
1. Automated or manual means to view an excessively high number of profiles or mini-profiles.
2. Automated means to run searches to collect or store data obtained from our site.”
Neal offered this caution and advice:
“Anybody who is too “active” and generated a lot of clicks may have their LinkedIn account restricted with no warning. If you want to do some research on the social networking site, do it over a few day period to spread out the clicks. The number of clicks you generate are being monitored and not what specific activity you are doing, so anyone could be considered guilty of this.”
How To Recover Your Closed LinkedIn Account or Restricted Profile
To get your account and profile back up and running, the Professional Community Policies page says:
“If you believe action taken on your content or your account was in error, you can submit an appeal.”
In LinkedIn’s Defense, If They Shut Down Your Account
There’s been a surge in Linkedin account hijackings recently and, fortunately, LinkedIn has been taking action:
“If you receive a “temporary lock” notification from LinkedIn due to unusual activities upon login, though this is annoying, consider yourself fortunate. This signifies that LinkedIn’s security systems are at work, detecting potential threats and intervening on your behalf. However, note that if you receive an email notification from LinkedIn regarding a new email address from an unfamiliar domain such as “rambler.ru,” your account might already be under the control of a malicious actor. So, now what?
If you suspect your LinkedIn account has been compromised, take immediate action.”
LinkedIn Help offers solutions to these two scenarios:
When you can’t access your account
Complete this form and LinkedIn will contact you to verify that it’s your account and help you gain access.
When you’re still able to access your account
Submit the same form and do the following to protect your account:
- Change your password. Choose a strong password or passphrase that’s not used anywhere else. Don’t make it the same as other online services or email accounts that you use.
- Turn on two-step verification, which prevents unauthorized access to your account even if someone has your username and password.
- Review your active sessions to see all the places you’re signed into LinkedIn right now. You can see details about each session, sign out of individual sessions, or sign out of everywhere at once. If you don’t recognize a particular login or device, be sure to change your password and sign out of that session.
- Review all email address(es) and phone numbers on your LinkedIn account to make sure they’re up to date and that they will be secure if we need to send a link to enable you to reset your password.
- Check your personal email account(s) tied to your account to ensure their security. You can always reset the passwords on those accounts as well, to be on the safe side.
It’s a good idea to bookmark that form, so it will be handy if and when you get locked out of your account.
Protect Yourself, BEFORE Your LinkedIn Profile is Missing
Let all of the above be a reminder to save a copy of your LinkedIn profile content any time you make changes to it. Here’s how easy this is to do:
- Go to “View Profile” under “Me” in the LinkedIn menu at the top of your account.
- Below your name on your profile, you’ll see the “Add profile section” button. Next to that, click on the “More” button.
- Click on “Save to PDF”.
A nice-looking PDF document downloads which you should save somewhere that’s easily accessible.