LinkedIn: Why you should only include your name in the name field

There has been a recent discussion on one of my LinkedIn groups about whether to include a job title in the name field on LinkedIn. You probably know some people who do this. When you see their updates they will appear as ‘Kirsten Hodgson – professional services marketer’ (or something along those lines) rather than just their name. For all of you thinking it’s a good idea or who do this: PLEASE DON’T.

In addition to the fact that LinkedIn doesn’t allow it (and some people have allegedly had their accounts suspended as a result of doing this) it’s also a bit like walking up to someone in a pub and overwhelming them with information about yourself right upfront. LinkedIn is an online network so it’s wise to treat it as you would a face-to-face networking opportunity. There are plenty of other places within your profile  to include information about who you can help and what you can help them with.

I asked LinkedIn what its position is on this and one of the customer service team replied with the following:

“The LinkedIn User Agreement requires use of true names rather than pseudonyms, business names, associations, groups, email addresses, or other characters when registering on our site. We believe that any information other than first and last names in the name fields undermines the professional nature of our site and services.
User Agreement:

Therefore, we do not allow any additional information (other than certifications) to be added to the name fields.”

If you want to highlight who you can help and what you can help them with, then use the professional headline space to do so. If you want to edit it then select:

  • Profile
  • Edit Profile
  • And click on the Edit button that appears next to your name

This will take you to a form. Half way down you will see the Professional Headline section. Use this to convey your key points.

If you haven’t done so already, you may also want to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is compelling and 100% complete. This will ensure that you position yourself in the best possible light to people who do view your profile or who you are recommended to. Try using BOLD or italics for added emphasis.

What’s your view? 

Has your LinkedIn account ever been suspended for something you inadvertently did? We’d love to hear from you so that we can compile a list to ensure others don’t make the same mistake. 

Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant
  • Promod Sharma | @mActuary

    Thanks for this post, Kirsten. I’m glad that LinkedIn has sanctions against misuse of the name field. Your analogy with a pub is fitting. I find the practice annoying, a sign of bad judgement and a tad pompous. I didn’t realize I had such strong feelings until now.

    PS I’m not a fan of adding credentials after a name either but this I’ll tolerate :)

    • Kirsten Hodgson

      Glad to have ousted a peeve you didn’t know you had Promod!!