Posted by Lara November 4th, 2011 .
What a great turnout last week! Thanks to all who attended SDBN’s first Happy Hour event, and thanks to our sponsor Avitus Group. As always we enjoyed seeing many familiar as well as new faces within the local scientific community.
Congratulations to Ramy Aziz, Visiting Scientist at UCSD Systems Biology Research Group, who was the big winner. A social butterfly collecting more than 25 business cards, he collected the prize of a $50 Amazon gift card – thanks Avitus Group!
We appreciate everyone who was able to participate in our LinkedIn Profile recommendations, it was a definite hit.
With so many ways to improve a LinkedIn profile it’s not easy to narrow down the ideas.
Whether you’re a scientist looking for a job, or trying to increase your reputation within your industry, spiffing up your LinkedIn page to reflect where you are and what you can offer can be invaluable to your career growth.
We saw some great examples of LinkedIn pages. And since we saw several recurring themes of areas where people could use help, in this blog post I’ll stick with some of the basic improvement areas.
Before getting into it, here was a common question we heard – “Why should I care if I’m not currently a job seeker?” Answer – because if you wait until you absolutely need a network to leverage, you will find yourself a few months behind the game. If you can build a foundation now, you’ll have it when you need it, and more than that, you never know when or where new opportunities will come from….
Below is a summary of five (5) characteristics common to profiles that:
- have a likely chance of being found through a LinkedIn search, or
- that act as an engaging, interesting, and informative personal marketing piece for professional deliverables and qualifications
Top LinkedIn Profile Improvements – Starting Points
- Have a photo – A headshot where you’re not holding a beer is the path you want to take. You wouldn’t have a bag over your head at a networking event, and you shouldn’t here. LinkedIn is a conversation waiting to happen – be friendly and you’ll start the conversation on the right foot.
- Get a Customized URL – Take advantage of personalizing your URL – make it shorter and more memorable – here’s how:
- Go to Settings and click “Edit your public profile”
- In the “Your public profile URL” box on the right, click the “Customize your public profile URL” link
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box
- Click Set Custom URL and enter your personalized URL (then save)
Option 1 Option 2 Adapted from LinkedIn Help Center
- Professional Headline – Your Name and Professional Headline are the only two things that others will see in the some places in LinkedIn.
For example, people mouse over your name for this information within Group discussions, in the Q&A section (if you ask / answer a question), and in connections lists.
- Your headline should be a marketing phrase, not just your current title (current title appears under “Current” in the information section anyway)
- You are allowed 120 characters in this field so try to add some detail to let people know who you are and what you can do for them, in a nutshell
- Join more groups – You get 50 for free, take advantage. Find the most relevant LinkedIn groups in your industry that will help you meet your goals. You may join because you get something from their discussions or you may join because an influencer or connection at a company you’re interested in is in that group. Over time you can filter out the groups that offer you little or nothing.
- Find jobs in groups – people post these things, especially in job seeker groups within your industry (see some suggested groups in the last bullet)
- Groups are a great place to find others who are having discussions in your field, about topics of interest to you. And if you need help with anything, it’s a perfect place to ask for advice. Ask questions – you’ll learn and it raises your profile in LinkedIn.
- Listen – The great thing about groups is you don’t have to talk at all. This is probably the best way to get a feel for the topics and content valued in your primary groups of interest, which leads to the next point -
- You don’t have to follow everything in every group – just pick a few most interesting or valuable to you
- Want to showcase your expertise in your field? Giving advice within groups builds your reputation in your industry
- Reach many more people directly – within your field. And when you want to LinkIn with someone, you can use a group as a point of connection when sending the invitation
- Here are some LinkedIn groups we at SDBN recommend for scientists (job-seeking or not) –
- More Recommendations – One of the best ways to stand out to employers, recruiters, or potential business partners is through testimonials of others who have done business or worked side-by-side with you.
- Ask for a recommendation from as many people as possible and be sure to return the favor
- What you say about others can also inform on if you work and play well with other scientists. And these also show up on your Profile page so don’t just “form-letter” your recommendations – make them personal, interesting, and genuine.
So basically, the idea to remember is to fill our your LinkedIn profile page out as completely as you would your resumé . Since you want your LinkedIn profile to be more succinct than your resumé , go through and add sections manually rather than relying on the resumé upload function. I haven’t tried it myself but have heard that it can mess up the formatting you’ve already created. Plus you’ll have to go back and edit it anyway, so you may as well just start there.
We hope these tips help you to improve your LinkedIn profile through some relatively painless starting points. Please leave any tips you have in the comments below – and we’ll be sure to follow this post up with some intermediate and advanced tips for LinkedIn profile improvement, stay tuned.