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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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Should you add extra stuff to your name on LinkedIn?


I’ve noticed an increase in a practice on LinkedIn of adding in extra information to your LinkedIn name. In this article, I will explore the pros and cons of doing this practice and better ways to achieve the visibility and credibility you require on LinkedIn. 

So, what do I mean by this practice? It could be:

  • adding in your phone number or contact details to your name, e.g. Heather Townsend 01234 48 0123
  • adding in stars around your name, e.g. *Heather Townsend*
  • adding in keywords to your name field, e.g. Heather Townsend | Executive Coach
  • adding in your qualifications, e.g. Heather Townsend MCIPD


Why do some trainers (and others) choose to do this:

Greater visibility in searches for their profile
They believe, in the case of keywords, that they will turn up in more searches. Having done a selective trial of this, I saw no evidence for this. In fact, after I had removed the offending ‘executive coach’ from my name, I saw an increase of 20% of the number of searches I turned up in, and a 100% increase in the amount of views of my profile.

If you want people to find you, when they are looking for you then you must not add in extra characters to your first or second name field. Otherwise, your profile – the one they are trying to find – will end up at the bottom of the search results. (Seriously!)

Makes you more memorable when you participate in discussions
Mmmm. Really? It may make you more memorable, but probably for the wrong reasons. It seems gimmicky, potentially desperate, spammy and is that the type of 1st impression you want to give? Actually, you want to be memorable for all the right reasons, for example:

  • adding in valuable and insightful comment to discussions
  • including in some personality to your profile, rather than a bland corporate type of profile
  • starting interesting discussions
  • sharing interesting and valuable content 

Makes it easier for prospects and people to contact you
There is no counter argument to this. If you do add your contact details into your name it does make it very easy for people on LinkedIn to contact you. After all, they don’t need to go to all the hassle of becoming a 1st degree connection. However, and this is a big however, the LinkedIn terms of service expressly forbids the practice of adding in anything in the ‘First and surname’ fields that is not your name.

What happens if you break the LinkedIn terms of service, by adding in extra stuff to your name fields?

If you break the LinkedIn terms of service, you will risk your account being suspended – and LinkedIn tends to suspend first and ask questions later. Your account will be out of action for at least a week, possibly even as much as 2 weeks. Can you afford for your credibility for this to happen?

In summary,
There is no magic solution, short cut or easy ways to win business on LinkedIn. Focus on letting your content do the talking in the right places – that’s the best way for success on LinkedIn

2 Responses

  1. Interesting

    Hmm, very interesting. I used to have the post nominals in my name but after a little experimentation realised I could get just as good a result by putting them in the Professional Headline box. Looks much better now!

    Thanks for a thought provoking article!

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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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