Lots of people have a love-hate relationship with LinkedIn. You may be the kind of young professional who updates your resume regularly, builds a vast network of connections, and even uses LinkedIn to blog about your professional adventures. You may have signed up for LinkedIn Premium the second it became available, and you send at least 20 "InMails" a day.
Or you're the opposite: LinkedIn sent you relentless invitations, you reluctantly signed up, you rarely even look at your profile, and you wouldn't pay a cent to this over-hyped social media site if your life depended on it.
If you're in the second category, you may be relieved that you can terminate your account – especially after a major data breach at LinkedIn, plus the 9.5 million accounts hacked on LinkedIn's sister site, Lynda.
Like Facebook, this process has several tiers to it. But if you're dead set on closing your account, here's the lowdown.
Ending Premium service
If you're paying to use LinkedIn, you can end your Premium service at any time and keep your regular LinkedIn profile. You'll lose Premium privileges, but that should only trouble you if you used InMail and Sales Navigator on a regular basis.
To do this, just go to Manage >> Account Type >> Cancel Subscription.
Receive fewer notifications
LinkedIn can sometimes feel like an overbearing mother: You've received a message from an old colleague! Your friend got a promotion, you should congratulate her! Some jobs just opened up in Boise, you should apply!
But you actually have a lot of control over the way LinkedIn interacts with you. There's no need to endure a deluge of unwanted messages. If the problem is less LinkedIn itself than LinkedIn's enthusiasm for email notifications, you can just visit the Communications Tab and reduce the frequency in which the service contacts you.
You can also decide who can send you notifications and what types of LinkedIn members you'd like to interact with. If you're more of a lone wolf, you can even prevent people from inviting you to groups.
Download a copy of your data
If you do decide to close your account for good, LinkedIn recommends that you download all of your data. You may have material on LinkedIn, such as a great description of your previous job, that you will regret losing forever.
The process is simple and fast. Visit LinkedIn's page about downloading your data for instructions on how to do this.
Closing your account
You can close your account very easily, just by visiting the Close Account page. Just give them a reason for why you're leaving LinkedIn, and you can wash your hands of it forever.
Like a lot of online services, LinkedIn lets you reopen your account within 20 days of termination. Until then, your profile will remain invisible and inactive, and no one will be able to interact with you.
But one thing to keep in mind: If you do decide to reopen your account, you will have lost all of your pending invitations, your follows and your group memberships.
Most significantly, you will lose all of your endorsements. As a social media engine, this is arguably LinkedIn's most powerful and personal tool. If you're applying for a graphic design job, it can only help to have 53 real-life people endorsing your graphic design skills. Once you close your account, even for a minute, all of those precious endorsements will vanish.
So give it some thought. LinkedIn is great for many web-savvy professionals, but it's only as helpful as its weakest link.