WHAT IS A VANITY URL?
It is a fast and easy way to customize your social media presence when using LinkedIn. The “vanity URL” concept is similar to the idea of getting a vanity car 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 and shows you are somewhat savvy in using LinkedIn. As Donna Sweiden shares as tip #4 in her blog 7 simple updates to your LinkedIn profile, it improves your Google ranking. Once your profile is set up, share your customized URL so people can easily find you and your expertise. 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 status is: employed, unemployed or underemployed.
HOW TO GET A VANITY URL:
LinkedIn often changes things up, so I can’t promise these will be the exact steps when you try this, but here it goes. 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. Click on the Edit link (usually in blue letters), just to the right of your currently assigned URL.
It may take you directly to an edit screen but more likely, you should now see somewhere in the upper right-hand side of your screen the words Customize your URL Link (usually in blue letters) – click on the link on these words. Then, a box will “pop up” with the URL started as http://www.linkedin.com/pub/, plus a blank box at the end will allow you to type in the customized URL you would like.
Start by typing in your full name and see if it’s available (no spaces allowed and it will all show in lowercase no matter how you type it). If it is available, you will see a green check mark. If not, you will see a red X mark. 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.
Like others, 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 paulabrandcprw. 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 my Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) certification and my URL is now http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulabrandcprw.
SO WHAT’S STOPPING YOU NOW?
It really is easy and takes only a few minutes. Now you know how, so make use of this feature! Take the time to do this for your best career management when using LinkedIn. Please share this tip with people you know.