Names and Leadership on LinkedIn

Hi there! My name is Barbara. One group of friends calls me that. Another calls me Barb. Once, on a conference call, someone asked if the could call me Barb because they like shorter names. Why don't you just call me B? I suggested. Is shorter better? After reading the latest report from LinkedInsights on success and names, you may be inspired to make a permanent name change. How do you think names impact career advantage?

According to LinkedIn, Peter is the top name for CEOs.

When we named our first son Peter, we weren't thinking of his CEO potential. We liked the meaning of the word - "rock," the ties to literature and music, and the length. Plus, it sounded good with his Czech last name. Now a skateboarding college student who's majoring in film, Peter's looking more at being a cinematographer than a CEO.

My husband, whose name is Bruce, is an EDI guy, also not a CEO. Still, it's nice to have two well named men in our family. For the record, our youngest son's name is Warren and our daughter's name is Phoebe.

According to the LinkedInsights data, the top five names for male CEOs globally are:

1.     Peter

2.     Bob

3.     Jack

4.     Bruce

5.     Fred

According to LinkedIn Insights, the top five names for female CEOs globally are:

1.     Deborah

2.     Sally

3.     Debra

4.     Cynthia

5.     Carolyn

Really? Did Deborah/Debra have to be on the list twice?

“It’s no secret that people often associate their title, employer and even their education as part of what defines them and their professional brand,” said Monica Rogati, LinkedIn’s senior data scientist. “What’s interesting about this data is that we were able to discover a correlation between a professional’s name and the industry or functional area in which they work.”

How Top Professionals Names Stack Up on LinkedIn

Sales professionals tend to have shorter names, around four letters.
Engineers have longer names, around six letters.
U.S. professionals in the food industry have tend to have longer French names.

Men and Women Leaders Prefer Different Name Lengths

“It’s possible that sales professionals in the U.S. and male CEOs around the world use these shortened versions of their name as a way to be more approachable and accessible to potential clients. Interestingly enough, female CEOs appear to prefer to use their full names and not nicknames, which could signify that they want to be taken more seriously and want co-workers to think of them in a more professional light, said Dr. Frank Nuessel, the editor of NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics (a publication of the American Name Society) and a professor of classical and modern languages at the University of Louisville.”

Thanks to LinkedIn for sending this information via a press release - along with these tips on how to stand out on LinkedIn.

1 . Claim Your Name with a Customized LinkedIn Profile URL

Does your LinkedIn profile URL still have a string of meaningless numbers? Turn it into a URL that says who you are, like this one - http://linkedin.com/in/barbararozgonyi - by making the change on your LinkedIn Edit Profile page. Your name will come up higher in searches and the link will look much better on your business card.

2. Show Off Your Skills on LinkedIn

When I found this, I was so excited that I could tell people how to show off what they do. Just make sure that you really can perform at the level you say you can and that you have the number of years of experience that you say you do.  LinkedIn Skills to place skills on your profile with just a few clicks.

3. Complete a LinkedIn Profile Checklist

Disclosure: I added this one with a link to recent and popular post on this blog.

4. Make Sure You’re Connected on LinkedIn

You know you need connections. What I found interesting is that LinkedIn said 50 is the magic number of contacts. Wow - that's a really low bar that everyone can reach. What if you looked at the top 50 connections in your network and followed them?

Want more tips? Read the top 10 ways to quickly become a subject matter expert on LinkedIn.

To learn more about LinkedIn’s listings of top names for professionals, check out this blog post.

Methodology for Research

To come up with the top names, the LinkedInsights data team took a look at the most over-represented names in the more than 100 million LinkedIn public profiles.


About LinkedInsights
LinkedInsights aims to uncover valuable trends and patterns in the workplace that help professionals reach their career goals. The LinkedInsights team analyzes the aggregate movement of LinkedIn’s massive member base in order to find actionable insights that help professionals around the world better manage their careers.

Interested in leadership - even if you don't have one of the top five names? Take a look at this video about how to develop the CEO in you.

Image: courtesy Shutterstock.com

By the way, what IS your name?

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