WHAT IS A VANITY URL?
It is a fast and easy way to customize your social media presence with 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 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, click on the Profile tab located at the top left of the page. Then slide your curser to the drop down choice of Edit Profile. Next, click on the gear icon, just to the right of your currently assigned URL (see picture below). After clicking on that icon, you should see somewhere in the upper right-hand side of your screen the words Enhance your personal brand by creating a custom URL for your LinkedIn public profile. In that area, click on the blue pencil icon next to your current URL. Then, pop up box will appear with the URL started as http://www.linkedin.com/in/, plus a blank box at the end that will allow you to type in the customized URL you would like. Please note that LinkedIn often changes things up and various people can see different views, so I can’t promise that these will be/look exactly the same when you try this.
Start by typing in your full name and see if it’s available (no spaces are allowed and it will all show in lowercase no matter how you type it). The system will let you know if it’s not available, otherwise you can assume it is and click on Save. Keep trying until you get one you like that is 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.
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. 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.