HOW DOES LINKEDIN FIT IN WITH YOUR ACADEMIC CAREER? by Alex Twersky, Marketing Consultant and Career Expert .brought to you by As you build your academic career, whether it’s on the teaching track or research, you may not have considered how useful LinkedIn can be in advancing your prospects. There is a prevailing notion that LinkedIn is a social media tool most closely associated with people in the business world. While LinkedIn is certainly firmly entrenched with those looking to build or expand their networks in the private sector, it can be an invaluable tool to career seekers in academe. For the uninitiated, LinkedIn is an online networking tool that harnesses the power of social media to connect people for professional purposes. You can invite people you know to join your LinkedIn network, and in turn others can invite you to join theirs. One of the advantages LinkedIn brings is the ability to tap into the networks that your connections have, going many layers deep. It’s also highly searchable, so if you’re trying to track down a contact at a particular university or specific department, you can type that into your search parameters and see if any of your connections are in turn connected to the object of your search, and how many tiers down this connection may exist. Setting up a profile on LinkedIn is easy, but keeping it up to date is essential. Once you’re up and running, and have made some initial connections, there are some useful tips to how you can effectively apply LinkedIn as a professional development and networking tool to promote and advance your academic career: PROMOTE YOUR RESEARCH LinkedIn is a great venue to catalogue current or past research projects, and any attention these have garnered in the form of grants, awards or commendations. Consider it a living, breathing compendium of your academic research, where you can provide significant details about your research projects and share your top-level findings with your community of professional colleagues. It’s also a great promotional platform to tout your notable successes, particularly if your research has garnered any specific accolades. CONNECT WITH COLLEAGUES Because LinkedIn offers countless groups formed around shared interests, you can join one related to your scholarly pursuits and connect with like-minded colleagues. This could be a great way to extend your academic network beyond its natural borders, and find peers who share your research interests and who may become collaborators on future projects. SEARCH FOR NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES Many employers, including universities and foundations, post job openings on LinkedIn. In fact, LinkedIn is becoming the avenue of choice to match specific job opportunities with the appropriate audience given its highly segmented nature. You can search for highly targeted academic jobs via LinkedIn and expand your range of options beyond other more traditional channels. Given the fact that you have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, sharing your pertinent qualifications with potential employers is one click away. GET ENDORSED Another point in LinkedIn’s favour is your ability to solicit (and offer) recommendations from current or past colleagues and employers. This is an excellent way to build out your professional profile even further, because having objective assessments of your qualifications as a researcher or instructor from people who have worked with you ultimately lend credibility to your professional standing, and by extension, to the strength of your candidacy for future opportunities. Don’t be shy about proactively asking people for recommendations. It’s accepted etiquette on LinkedIn to do so, and it probably won’t be long before some asks you for the same consideration. Once you’ve created a comprehensive LinkedIn profile, promoted your latest research and awards there, and solicited recommendations from colleagues, don’t forget the obvious: be sure to integrate your LinkedIn profile URL into your CV and other relevant career documents. That way, you can ensure that your most dynamic professional snapshot is ready to be pressed into service when needed. Search and apply for the latest academic jobs with the Wiley Job Network.
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