Free services do not make guarantees

LinkedIn did a major server upgrade the other month, their own blog informed the world that the site would be down for at least five hours.

In the end the site was down for almost a day (more for some) and judging by the reactions on Twitter, this frustrated people in offices all over the world. If you use LinkedIn daily for business development, recruitment or marketing you can be left in a pickle without it.

This got me thinking, what if an upgrade goes according to plan but a few accounts just happen to be deleted? And what if one of those accounts happen to be yours? What if there is an outage for a week?

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool that manages your professional contacts, chances are you have been building these over years and they’re very precious to you. Can you imagine living without the tool tomorrow?

As much as I am sure LinkedIn would like to be fail-proof, they can’t promise that all your data will be there in case of a server meltdown or a hacker attack. This is obviously especially true as they are a free service (to most users) and as such we can’t expect to get assurances.

How do you back up your contacts on LinkedIn?

If you have ever uploaded an Outlook contacts file to LinkedIn, you’ll be familiar with how this works. As opposed to importing contacts, we are going to export contacts. These contacts will be downloaded in the shape of a spreadsheet containing names, emails and other details which will be essential in case you have to start an account all over (God forbid).

To export your business connection contact information, log in to LinkedIn and display your connections (click My Connections).

You’ll see “Export Contacts” – click on this and your download process begins. You will be asked which format you prefer, both formats (VCF & CFV) can be used with most applications. Then fill in the verification text to tell LinkedIn you’re human and your contacts should come through on a spreadsheet.

Now that you have downloaded your backup you can breathe out and relax. I would suggest doing this on a monthly basis just like any other backups that you do regularly.

My question for you: did you ever back up your LinkedIn data, if so when was the last time?

Check out our central London LinkedIn workshops for more helpful tips!

Image: Shutterstock

About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO at Link Humans, a social and digital marketing agency.

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