WHAT IS A VANITY URL?
It is a fast and easy way to customize your social media presence on LinkedIn. Personalizing your LinkedIn URL is similar to the idea of getting a vanity license plate; it makes your name and brand much more memorable. Aren’t you more likely to notice and remember driving by a car with the license plate “DAY-DRMR” or “IMGR8” versus a randomly assigned plate like J3R9S6?
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Two big reasons: clarity and branding. First, LinkedIn assigns everyone a messy URL initially, which is why you should change it. Additionally, a Vanity URL helps in your branding and marketing efforts, shows you are somewhat savvy in using LinkedIn and improves your SEO rankings on Google and LinkedIn. Once it’s in place, share your customized URL so people can easily find you. Place it on your résumé, business cards and electronic signatures. This is important for people concerned with managing their careers effectively no matter what their current status is: employed, unemployed or underemployed.
HOW TO GET A VANITY URL:
Once logged into your LinkedIn account, go to your profile. Near the top right corner of your profile page, you should see the words Edit public profile & URL. By clicking on those words, you land on a page where you can Edit your URL (by clicking on the blue pencil icon on the top right of the page). After clicking on that icon, you will be able to edit the field that is displayed to the right of http://www.linkedin.com/in/. Please note that LinkedIn often changes things up and various people can see different views, so I can’t promise that these will look exactly the same when you try this.
Start by typing in your full name and see if it’s available (note that every letter will show in lowercase, no matter how you type it). After you click on Save, the system will let you know if it’s available. If your name is taken, look to add other letters that have meaning for you or your profession. So, if the extension of joesmith is taken and he is in the field of sales, he could try joesmithsalesexpert. You could also include a middle name, middle initial or a maiden name. One new tip I’ve learned in more recent times – even though it says no symbols are allows, it does let you use hyphens. So, now I could make my URL paula-brand-careers.
HOW YOUR URL MAY CHANGE OVER TIME:
Like everyone else, when I first got on LinkedIn, I was assigned an unmemorable URL. Now you’ll see that my Public Profile (URL) on LinkedIn ends in paulabrandcareers. When I initially attempted to obtain a vanity URL, I typed in my name and “paulabrand” was taken, so I added the four letters of one of my certifications related to résumés (cprw). Later on, I changed it to a keyword related to my brand and what I do for a living (because I am not a traditional résumé writer). You can change your URL as many times as you want but try to find the right one sooner than later and stick with it to help in your branding efforts. If you customize it multiple times, the old one(s) won’t work (and will go up for grabs for someone else to take) but your originally assigned URL should always work.
SO, WHAT’S STOPPING YOU NOW?
Now you know how to do it, so make use of this feature! It really is easy and takes only a few minutes. Of course, you need to invest more time than this one effort, but this is a good start. Please share this tip with people you know.
This post is an updated version of my previous post on May 24, 2016.