You’ve worked diligently on your LinkedIn profile, and you’re ready to have it get you some hard-earned attention. You want to get noticed by recruiters and tell them all about yourself at a glance. So why not give yourself a moniker like “Jayne Smith, marketing czar?” Or include the name of your company? Or better yet, stick your email address up there so no one has to take the trouble to actually link to you?
Well, you can … if you want to have your LinkedIn account shut down for 30 days. Yep. LinkedIn has some very specific guidelines about what may, and may not, go into that uber-important name field, and there are a few good reasons for the rules.
A name field is for your name. Your first name and your last name — your real, legal ones. You can include a former or maiden name as well. And you can include degrees, suffixes and certifications (Dr., MSW, RN, Jr.,CPRW, Ph.D.)
But you can’t include a title (marketing director, president, architect). Your headline is for that. See how to write a powerful headline here. I also have a sample LinkedIn profile with a compelling headline here.
Nor can you include an email address, website, location or other contact information. Symbols, special characters and numbers are also verboten. And for heaven’s sake, don’t create a false identity so you can scope job opportunities without alerting anyone at your current company.
Why can’t you?
More so than other social media, LinkedIn’s power is in trust. When you’re connected with someone on LinkedIn, it should mean that you actually do know them on some level. Your LinkedIn connections reflect your own integrity. It’s not right to put someone else in the position of vouching for a “you” that’s not even you. And it breeds mistrust for LinkedIn.
Email addresses in the name field smack of spam. People don’t want a sales pitch right off the bat when viewing your profile for the first time. If you want your prospective contacts to feel comfortable as they get to know you, let them do that before you shout at them to send you an email.
- Your own protection
More than that, if you include your email address and your account isn’t shut down right away, you will GET spam – potentially a lot of it. Since your LinkedIn profile is a page on the web, it’s crawled by search engines for the whole world to see, not just LinkedIn members. So, deviant types, like spammers, can easily find it and add it to their network to send you lots of lovely email wanting to sell you Viagra.