Most LinkedIn users want to be found.
We want to get interesting job offers, we want potential clients to contact us and ask for information about our products and services, we want thought leaders and “influencers” in our field of expertise to reach out and ask for our opinion, we want them to tag us in posts and articles and boost our professional and personal branding. We want them to find us quickly and easily.
How can people find us?
LinkedIn’s internal search engine offers several search options, including for searching individuals, that is, LinkedIn users:
=> Basic search in the search panel (I referred to this in a previous article — read here)
=> Targeted Boolean search
=> More advanced searches with tools such as Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Recruiter and more.
What all these search methods have in common is that in most cases the search query will include our name… pretty obvious, right?
Consider this for a moment: you attended an interesting webinar and want to contact the excellent speaker; you want to send a connection request to one of the other participants; you had a meeting with a potential client and want to stay in touch with them on LinkedIn; you came across an interesting post and want to find the person who wrote it; someone passed on your name to a potential client and suggested that they reach out to you, etc.
In all these cases where the name of the “target” is known, that name will probably be used in the search.
But what happens when your name is common? How will people know it’s really Y-O-U?
A few weeks ago, an article was published in the media, listing the most common names in Israel, according to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics. Let’s use this data for a brief exercise:
Suppose your name is Tomer Zuker… A quick search on LinkedIn will reveal that there is a very small number of users bearing this name, including similar variations such as Tomer Zucker or Tomer Tzuker. It is highly probable that when you search for one of these “Tomer Zuckers”, you will easily find the one you’re looking for.
But what happens when your name is much more common? What happens if your name is “Ariel Levi” (464 results for the name “Ariel Levi” and another 431 results for the name “Ariel Levy)
Or if you’re blessed with the name “David Cohen”? (8,400 results…):
And if we expand the search beyond the borders of Israel, how will we find the right “David Smith”? (69,000 results):
You get the idea… if people don’t find you within a few seconds, they will give up, abandon the search and you might miss the amazing job offer you always dreamed of.
It’s a bit challenging, isn’t it? How can I increase the chances that people who search my name actually find me? How do I make sure that those who want to tag me in a post and give me credit will actually tag me and not my evil doppelganger?
This can potentially be solved be by adding another element to your name that will set you apart from the others. Here are a few ideas:
1) Add a nickname that highlights your professional branding
2) Add your initials. For example: Tomer Zuker (TZ)
3) Include an emoji or a special symbol that alludes to your field of expertise
4) Include your name in another language, such as Hebrew or perhaps Mandarin, in case you specialize in business development in China
This is your chance to be creative!
Have any more ideas on how to distinguish your name? I’d love to hear them in the comments or in a private message…