Access Denied: How to Reclaim Your LinkedIn Profile When You Can't Access Your Account

Stefanie Marrone Consulting

I work with a lot of professionals who lose access to their LinkedIn account because, typically, they originally signed up using an email address which they can no longer access. Any account update emails go to their old inbox —and anything that requires confirmation by email (resetting a password, changing an email address of record) can't be done without that access.

There are many instances when you no longer use or have access to the email address tied to your LinkedIn account. For example, you lose or change your job suddenly; your company changes its email; you’re in transition and you forget to update your email address on your LinkedIn account.

When this happens, not only will you be unable to access your account, but none of your connections can contact you by email if you don’t update it. – They’ll be emailing you at an old address.

Your LinkedIn InMail messages and notifications will go to your old email as well (of course they are safe in your LinkedIn interface but you can’t access them). When you’re in transition, you want people to find you and you want to be able to contact potential employers through LinkedIn ASAP.

While this is a frustrating situation, it is not entirely hopeless.

One way to avoid this is to always add an alternate email to your LinkedIn account. I recommend that you sign up for your account with your personal email because that email will be with you no matter where you land professionally and the odds of you staying at the same position for the entirety of your career today are very slim.

You can log into LinkedIn with a different email that you display in your contact information section; that’s why I always recommend users sign up with and use their personal email instead of their work email address. The only downside to this is that any notifications and emails from LinkedIn will go to your personal email rather than your work email.

Here’s how to reclaim your LinkedIn account when you have no access to the email you used to sign up for the account.

LinkedIn suggests first trying to sign in with a secondary email address that’s associated with your account (as I recommend above). The platform allows you to sign in with any email address associated with your account.

Or: verify your identity...

If you haven’t been able to recover your password or don’t have access to a second email address associated with your account, you can try to recover your account by verifying your identity.

To do this, LinkedIn uses a technology that processes encrypted scans of your government-issued ID to help get you back into your account as quickly and securely as possible.

Note that LinkedIn says it only use the ID information you provide to verify who you are, and it states that it only holds onto it for a short period of time while your account issues are being resolved. Generally, scans and any associated personal information are permanently deleted within 14 days.

To get started, you’ll need:

  1. A smartphone or computer with a webcam.
  2. Your driver's license, state-issued ID card, or passport.
  3. An email address where LinkedIn can reach you.
  4. Access to a desktop computer.

Follow the steps below on desktop:

  1. Once you begin the identity verification process, you’ll be asked to take a photo of your ID with your smartphone or webcam.
  2. Enter the email address associated with your account so that LinkedIn can locate your account, and follow the onscreen instructions.
  3. On the subsequent page, click I don’t have access to my email address. LinkedIn will ask you for a new email address. Next, they'll ask you to provide a valid passport or government ID.
    • After you’re finished, LinkedIn will process your information and be in contact to assist you further. It takes anywhere from 24 hours to a few days for them to respond.

Follow this link to verify your identity.

*Note: If you only have one email address and it has bounced, you won’t be able to send a confirmation link to yourself. You will have to verify your identity to regain access to your account.

If you need help with this process, feel free to reach out to me and don’t lose hope – many professionals have been able to recover their LinkedIn accounts. It just takes a little time and effort.


Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, professional associations and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for smaller firms. Over her nearly 20-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her latest writing on JD Supra as well as her blog The Social Media Butterfly

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Stefanie Marrone Consulting

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