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Missing LinkedIn tip – Misspell your last name in your LinkedIn profile?

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Summary:

Why would you misspell your last name in your LinkedIn profile?  Because other people might misspell it when they look for you.

I knew that people would search for me in LinkedIn using the misspelling O’Mally (without the “e”) even though my last name is spelled O’Malley, and I still wanted them to find me.  I discovered a trick that will do it, and I’ll show you in this post.

Details:

I have done many seminars and workshops on LinkedIn, and my surveys show that about 30-40% of people have names that are commonly misspelled.  If you are one of them, people might search for you and not find you, since the LinkedIn search engine won’t find an exact match between their misspelling and your actual spelling.  Realize that if they look once, and they don’t find you, they probably won’t look again.  Bummer.

Here is how you solve the problem.  Put common misspellings of your name in the “Summary” field of your LinkedIn profile as follows:

  • Go to your LinkedIn Home page
  • Expand the Profile button (click the minus sign in the box to the right of Profile)
  • Click Edit My Profile
  • Click the word Edit beside Summary, which is about 1 screen down (under the area with the blue background)
  • Note that the Summary field is a “free form text” field, so you can put in anything that you want in there.  Put in any common misspellings for your last name.  In my LinkedIn profile, I actually say “Common misspellings” so that people know why I do it (and so Mom knows I can spell my own name).
  • When you are done, click Save changes.

Now look up Patrick O’Malley in the “Search People” box in the upper right hand corner of a LinkedIn page, and my profile should be the first match (out of about 60 matches).  If you then look up Patrick O’Mally (without the “e”), and I’m the only match.  Since 20-30% of people misspell my last name, I’m happy that they can still find me.

In conclusion, this could be your best LinkedIn tip of the month if you

  • have a last name that is misspelled a lot
  • have a friend with a last name that is misspelled a lot.  (Pass it on to them)

Cool, huh?  Pass it on to your friends!

Some good news:

  • You can also use this technique with maiden names, first names, and nicknames, which I will discuss in a future blog entry.
  • I have a video that shows how to do this at LinkedIn tip misspell last name

Some bad news:

  • After you make the change, it may not work immediately, since it may take the LinkedIn search engine a little while to find the new words that you put there.
  • This only works when people use the standard search in the upper right hand corner.  If someone uses advanced search and puts in the first and last name separately, this technique won’t work.
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22 comments

1 Suzanne McDonald { 01.29.09 at 12:13 am }

Thanks for the great tip. People spell my name wrong all the time, see my LinkedIn for a slew of variations. Thanks again Patrick!

2 TRCB { 01.31.09 at 11:25 pm }

Thanks for sharing great info.

3 ReloMary { 02.02.09 at 1:20 pm }

Thanks, Patrick. Very clever!

4 Himanshu Sheth { 02.04.09 at 7:34 am }

Hi Patrik,
Excellent tip. I already made the changes in my profile and I am seeing the results.

Have bookmarked this link :)

Is it possible to connect with you on LinkedIn ?

-Himanshu Sheth.

5 patrick_omalley { 02.04.09 at 3:34 pm }

Himanshu,

Please send me an invitation if you would like me to be part of your “LinkedIn Rolodex”.

To everyone else, I do accept all LinkedIn connection requests.

6 Jim Trant { 02.09.09 at 3:07 pm }

Patrick,

That’s certainly a useful tip for many people. I have a different question.

Is there a way for people to put an audio file up on the way they pronounce their name? I mean, we post websites, interests, and current work projects. But would we ever know how to begin a conversation with someone?

Besides, I would love to hear your Irish brogue.

JT

7 patricia o'malley { 02.16.09 at 8:38 am }

thanks for the tip, lots of people do forget the E in o’malley, even my brokers…….

8 Anne Maxfield { 03.10.09 at 8:34 am }

Great tip especially for an easily misspelled name. Got it from your comment on the NY Times. Also made me tweak my profile, thanks.

9 Amelia Brazell { 03.25.09 at 8:45 am }

Helpful tip. Have you noticed that all of the comments are by people with challenging-to-spell names? Thanks.

10 patrick_omalley { 04.09.09 at 9:58 pm }

Wow. My mother told me that if I waited long enough, Mrs,. Pat O’Malley would come along…

11 Using LinkedIn to find your next Job « Michael Korn’s Blog { 04.17.09 at 7:12 pm }

[…] Missing LinkedIn tip – Misspell your last name in your LinkedIn profile? […]

12 Dave Stein { 08.03.09 at 12:26 pm }

Thanks for this tip. I’m known as Dave Stein, but some people incorrectly call me David. They wouldn’t have been able to find me on LinkedIn or the Internet in general. I just added a sentence including David at the bottom of my LinkedIn summary. Great tip!

13 Pat O'Malley { 08.03.09 at 1:02 pm }

David,

LinkedIn actually does know some abbreviations, and probably knows Dave and David are the same.

However, don’t forget to put in the misspelling Stien for people who believe “i before e except after c”.

14 Peg Kelley { 08.25.09 at 10:13 pm }

Terrific tip. I applied it right away. Thanks, Patrick.

15 Brian Vigil { 05.20.10 at 9:37 am }

Great tip – thanks! I loved the comment in the Demo video about Microsoft. Too funny!

16 Leopoldo Fu { 09.10.10 at 4:34 pm }

I searched for “Patrick O’Mally” and didn’t find anyone. I tried your tip, but I still don’t show up for in a search for “Leopold Fu”.

17 Mike Maranhas { 01.05.11 at 7:10 pm }

Pat,

I read articles like this, then think about the days in college when you showed a lot of potential.

18 Patrick O’Malley { 01.05.11 at 9:39 pm }

Mike Maranhas,

Wow. Blame it on the Gennie Cream Ale…

19 Spelling counts | Commuter Daddy { 06.03.12 at 11:17 am }

[…] a while, thanks to some professional networking advice I read (similar to this, though I don’t think this is where I first read it), I tried to compensate on behalf of humanity by including common misspellings of my name in my […]

20 Oisin Conolly { 04.10.13 at 4:41 am }

Thanks for the tip!
I’m another that is plagued with a unique surname spelling.

21 Patrick O'Malley (@617patrick) { 04.13.13 at 4:01 pm }

OC, and Conelly, Connelly, Connely, Connolly, Connoly, I’m guessing, right?

22 Evelyn Li (@eli2884) { 07.12.13 at 11:33 am }

Awesome tip. It would be even better if you can add a PinIt friendly image in your post, so people can share it via Pinterest. We have a campus Pinterest site and it would have been a great tip for our followers if I am able to pin it! ;-)

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