Using LinkedIn (As an Academic)

If you’re not sure how to use LinkedIn, perhaps think of it as a research conference.

  1. Be active – Talk to people, share content. Talk about what you liked. Talk about what you learned.
  2. Get notified – About what is going on. Don’t miss dates or miss chances to share content.
  3. Build you profile – Make it easy for people to find your content and expertise. Make it easy for people to know what you are doing and how they could work with you.
  4. Ask and share – Ask for connections. Share the fact you are on LinkedIn.
  5. Use templates – For introductions and connection requests. It will make the process easier and faster. And thus, something you are more likely to do.


Hi there bakers, writers, and rock stars! A quick video to talk a little bit about LinkedIn, and some of the things that I’ve been seeing recently. And some tips that you can use hopefully to get your LinkedIn profile up and going. At the very least, see some fundamental things for people using LinkedIn.

Make sure you’ve got some pictures up there. So, obviously one of you if you’re a wet lab researcher feel free to wear the lab coat. Have the pipette. It gives authenticity to your picture. For those outside the lab that might want to connect with you it also gives you credibility as a researcher. For your banner image, choose something where you’re presenting. If you’re an academic, and you’re in front of students often having a picture prior to your lecture is an easy way getting one of you presenting. Obviously, if you’ve gone to academic conferences and you’ve got pictures at the front of stage choose those. I’ve also seen people when I think this works quite well to take a photo of their most recent journal article and put that as their cover banner image. So, have a crack at that and see how that goes for you too. It’s a useful way like I said of adding credibility but also showing the more recent work that you’ve done. So, that’s the first one. Make sure all of that information is up to date. 

The next thing in terms of building your profile out, you should definitely have a summary section. The summary section should do several things. It should have keywords in it about what it is that you want to do with people. I strongly encourage people to think about what they’ve done in the past but in the context of their future. So, if you’ve done something in the past that you don’t want to do again, don’t list it in your summary. You can put it in your job section if you really want to but don’t list it in your summary. People will start finding you in relation to that topic and you’ll be asked to do things that you’re probably not that willing to do. 

The next thing you should do is mention the roles or the types of roles of people that you want to work with. Again, think about the past, so you can put down your history. But in the context of what it is that you want to do, list the previous work that you’ve done. If you want to do it again, list the previous clients that you worked with. If you’re happy to work with them again or if you’re happy to work with similar organizations to them. So, all of that should be in your summary. You should also put your contact details in your summary. Don’t be afraid to let people reach out and connect with you. If you want collaborators, they have to be able to contact you. So, a generic email address like Gmail might be better than work. Because you’ll probably always have the same Gmail address, but you might change your work email address. If you’re happy to have your phone number up on the internet, I’d strongly encourage you to put it up there as well. If you really want to go ahead and put your country code, put your other social media up there. If you want people to find you using that as well.

So that’s your summary section. Obviously, you need to be active. A lot of people join these platforms and say they don’t work for them. But they’re not active, and to me being active means being on daily, to me it means liking sharing and commenting on posts daily. You don’t have to do all 3 but you at least have to do 1 of those things. You need to send connection requests, and you also need to accept connection requests. Not so much now but in the past there’s been a strong movement away from accepting connection requests from strangers. I liken connection requests on LinkedIn to someone coming up to you after a conference and asking to talk to you more about your research. And perhaps even asking for your email address. It’s very similar to me. If you post good content on LinkedIn, people are going to want to connect with you. More specifically. More directly. But so, if you’re uncertain at the very least ask them about more information. Ask them why they wanted to connect with you. But it’s very easy to accept the connection request, and then write a message back. And this is my 5th tip, write a message back and say you know, “How would you like to connect?” “What would you like to do?” “Would you like to have a meeting?” Open the door and set something up because you never know what would happen. 

And then another tip is if you’re doing a lot of this stuff, if you’re doing a lot of connections, if you’re doing a lot of accepting connections, you might find yourself writing the same thing over and over. So, by all means create a template. Review the template before you send it each time but create a template that makes it easy for you to connect.

So, there you go some tips to help you make better use of LinkedIn. Hope they’re useful.  See you later bakers, writers, and rock stars!