LinkedIn — the new frontier

How to reap the rewards of the world’s greatest personal directory

LinkedIn has gone through a massive overhaul over the past couple of years, providing new opportunities for academics to broaden their reach.

In the old days, LinkedIn was the equivalent of an online resumé – rarely updated, infrequently checked, unless you were actively searching for a new job. The networking capabilities of LinkedIn have massively improved since its inception in early 2003. The platform now boasts 500 million users worldwide.

That’s great news for academics and researchers. The potential to connect with an enormous audience either directly related to – or associated with –  your field of expertise should not be underestimated. Journal publishers and research institutes are increasing using the platform to target and promote research to the vast global community, which continues to grow.

Academics are beginning to wise up to the impact LinkedIn can have on discoverability. Unlike other ‘social media’ networks, LinkedIn is specifically designed for professional purposes, meaning that your immediate network will inevitably include others in your field. Unlike the ‘echo chamber’ effect of Facebook, LinkedIn branches outwards, always looking to build additional layers of contacts.

As a global industry by definition, HE is perfectly suited to LinkedIn, and although Twitter is a great place to communicate ideas and share research, LinkedIn facilitates meaningful career connections at international level. Fostering relationships in academia is the key to achieving a wider reach and LinkedIn provides the means for doing so effectively.

LinkedIn’s intelligent algorithms do a lot of the legwork for you, but don’t make the mistake of overlooking some basic rules for optimising your profile.

Stacy Konkiel from Impactstory shared her tips on supercharging your profile back in 2014. LinkedIn may have changed, but these golden rules still hold true.

There are a number of other key strategies that academics and early career researchers should use, whether you’re prospecting for a new career, looking to grow your network or hunting for potential research leads.

Avoid these six common mistakes to help you boost your profiles and grow your network

1. No photo, bad – bad photo, worse

It seems obvious, but as a professional profile you should be looking to communicate professionalism and reliability. Photos from the field or lab are fine, and public speaking shots can really elevate your profile. Just keep the bungy jump or the comedy pose for your Facebook account. No photo immediately puts people off. Nobody likes corresponding with an avatar of a silhouette.

2. Bad Headline

Who are you and what do you do? Be clear, be precise. What is your area of expertise? Work this into your headline so people know who they’re connecting with.

3. No summary

What are your interests and current projects? How did you get to your current position? A confident description shows the world that you are serious and professional. This is not the place for self-deprecating remarks or jovial quips. Use our guide on action verbs to inject some energy into this section.

4. Cursory Career History

The auto-generated icon from your past positions won’t cut it here. Let viewers know what you did and more importantly what you learnt. It’s not boastful to list your achievements or specific interests. LinkedIn is great place for discovering contacts with similar niche specialisations.

5. No recommendations

‘Give and ye shall receive’. Be generous to your former co-workers and write a few carefully chosen lines on their LinkedIn profiles. If you have genuinely been a pleasure to work with, request some recommendations in return. Only ask from contacts with whom you had a genuinely good working relationship. False recommendations will come back to haunt you.

6. No Skills or Endorsements

This section can be useful for early career researchers and post-graduates but can be extraneous if you’re well along your career path. You can choose to omit this from your profile in the custom settings. If it is visible, make use of it. Think carefully and add your competences to the skills section. If you’re proficient in a certain skill, ask to be endorsed. Again, falsehoods won’t go unnoticed, so be realistic with your levels of expertise.

Original article ‘10 things that are killing your LinkedIn profile’ by Liz Ryan, published on March 20, 2018.

Our CEO, Wendy Stone shares her top tips for calibrating your LinkedIn notification settings

1. Change your broadcast stetting’s to prevent notifications being sent every time you edit your profile.

2. This also applies to your profile picture, so switch of notifications so your contacts aren’t bombarded with every recent head-shot you upload.

3. Avoid sending endless anniversary notifications to your contacts by entering years not months to your employment history. Recent positions may require more accuracy, but ancient history doesn’t justify congratulations.

For more tips on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile, read Amanda Zantal-Wiener’s post for

Further Reading:

Four things you must do on LinkedIn every week (Forbes)

10 mistakes that are killing your LinkedIn profile (Forbes)

In case you hadn’t noticed, LinkedIn has changed! (Zoetic)

LinkedIn has changed recruitment, and managers should be scared (Tiny Pulse)[:]

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