Monday, 16 May 2016

Make LinkedIn work for your research - Raising Your Scholarly Profile - LibGuides at Duquesne University


Make LinkedIn work for your research

Many academics use LinkedIn “just in case someone contacts them.” Our
job today is to make your LinkedIn profile great enough that others
will be eager to contact you. We’re also going to build up your network a bit, so others can see the high profile work you’ve done.

For today’s challenge, we’re going to cover:

Step 1: Create a solid, low-maintenance profile

You want to create a profile that presents the very best version of
you, and also doesn’t need a lot of regular maintenance. (Who has time
for that?) You’ll do this by writing a headline and summary that makes
it clear, in general terms, why you’re a smart and talented researcher
and choosing a profile photo that’s both professional and inviting.

Make yourself memorable with a good headline

LinkedIn includes a short text blurb next to each person’s name in
search results. They call this your “Headline,” and just like a
newspaper headline, it’s meant to stimulate enough interest to make the
reader want more.

Here are some keys to writing a great LinkedIn headline:

  1. Describe yourself with the right words: Brainstorm
    a few keywords that are relevant to the field you’re targeting. Spend a
    few minutes searching for others in your field, and borrowing from
    keywords found in their profiles and Headlines. For instance, check out Arianna C’s
    Headline: “Conceptual Modeling, Facilitation, Research Management,
    Research Networking and Matching.” Right away, the viewer knows what
    Arianna is an expert at. Your headline should do the same.
  2. Be succinct: Never use two words when one will do. (Hard for academics, we know. :)). Barbara K., who works in biotech, has a great headline that follows this rule: “Microbiologist with R & D experience.”
  3. Show your expert status: What
    makes you an expert pharmacotherapy specialist/biomechanics
    researcher/Medievalist? Do you put in the most hours, score the biggest
    grants, or get the best instructor evaluations from students? This is
    your value proposition–what makes you great. Those with less experience
    like graduate students can supplement this section by showing their
    passion for a topic. (I.e., “Computer scientist with a passion for
    undergraduate education.”)
  4. Use a tried and true formula to writing your headline: 3 keywords + 1 value proposition = Headline success, according to career coach Diana YK Chan.
    So what does that look like? Taking the keywords from (1) and value
    proposition from (3) above, we can create a headline that reads,
    “Computer scientist with a passion for undergraduate education and
    experience in conceptual modeling and research management.”
Well-written headlines are also key to making you more findable
online--important for those of us who need disambiguation from similarly
named researchers beyond ORCID.

Make yourself approachable with the right photo

Public Affairs offers free professional
headshots to university employees. All you need to do is schedule the
appointment and show up. Here’s how to schedule an appointment:

  1. Login to DORI
  2. At the top right hand side of the page, select Employee under the Go to dropdown menu.

  3. Click the link labeled Public Affairs on the left.
  4. Click the plus sign next to Marketing and Design on the left.
  5. Click the link labeled Photography Request.
  6. In the Photography Request form, select DU Studio Headshot (no charge).
  7. Fill out the form, selecting your preferred appointment time.
  8. Click Schedule Appointment.
(Headshots are taken in the Koren Building.)

Craft a compelling summary section

Your summary is an opportunity to provide a 50,000-foot view into
your career and studies to date. Don’t just use this section to repeat
information found elsewhere on your profile. Instead, write a short
narrative of your professional life and career aspirations, using some
of the keywords left over from writing your headline. When writing your
summary, aim to be specific and make your value clear.

Don’t use technical jargon, but do provide concrete details about
your research and why it matters. Make yourself a person, not just
another name in a discipline. Describe what you’ve done and why it

Here’s a great example: Elizabeth Iorns, breast cancer researcher and entrepreneur, explains to profile viewers that:

“Based on her own experiences
as a young investigator seeking expert collaborations, Dr. Iorns
co-founded Science Exchange. In 2012, after recognizing the need to
create a positive incentive system that rewards independent validation
of results, Dr. Iorns created the Reproducibility Initiative.”
Right there is specific proof that she gets stuff done: she’s created
solutions in response to service gaps for scientists. Impressive!

Step 2: Highlight your best work

Next, let’s prepare for making a good impression on your LinkedIn
network by highlighting the work that’s most important to you. And
you’re going to get others to notice it by making sure some of it’s

Brag about your best publications and awards

Consider your publications and awards the vegetables–the stuff you
really want to be consumed. You’re going to make others notice them by
listing them alongside the sweets–your eye-catching content.

You’ll want to highlight only your best publications (especially
those where you’re a lead author) and most prestigious awards (i.e.,
skip the $500 undergraduate scholarship from your local Elks club). List
no more than five (5) total.

Here’s how to add them:

  1. Hover over “Profile” at the top of the page and select “Edit Profile.”

  2. Under your profile photo, you’ll see an “Add a section to your profile” panel. Click  “View more.”

  3. Scroll down the page until you get to the “Publications” tile. Click to add that section to your profile.

  4. In the Publications section, you’ll need to manually add publication details. Here are the most important details to include:
  • Title (this one’s a no-brainer)
  • Publication URL (so others can click through to read your work; make sure this is a deep link or DOI)
  • Description (include your abstract in this space)
You can also add your co-authors, if they’re on LinkedIn and you’re already connected.

Now that your articles are added, drag the Publications section to
appear just above or below any eye-catching content on your profile.

Add some eye-catching content

With a little ingenuity you can make LinkedIn pretty good for
showcasing what scholars have a lot of: posters, slide decks, and
figures for manuscripts.

If you’ve ever given a talk at a conference, or submitted a figure
with a manuscript for publication, you can upload it here, giving
viewers a better taste of your work.

Neuroscientist Bradley Voytek has added a Wow Factor to his profile with a link to a TEDx talk he gave on his research. Pharmacology professor Ramy Aziz
showcases his best conference talks using links to Slideshare slide
decks. And GitHub repositories make an appearance alongside slide decks
on postdoc Cristhian Parra’s profile (pictured above).

You too can upload links to your best–and most visually
stimulating–work for a slick-looking profile that sets you apart from
others. Here’s how: add links, photos, slideshows, and videos directly
to your profile using the upload icon on your profile’s "Summary" and
"Experience" sections.

One caveat to adding content to your profile: LinkedIn does not offer
analytics that show you how often your work is viewed or downloaded on
the site. So, you’ll be unable to say with certainty what LinkedIn has
done for your readership and so on, but that’s okay: LinkedIn is more
about relationships and the boost they’ll give your reputation, instead.
Read on.

Step 3: Connect with other researchers

Connecting with other researchers on LinkedIn is just one more way to
build an audience for your research. Connections help you maintain
relationships with past and current colleagues, who are likely
interested in the work you’re doing and want to read about it.

It’s surprisingly easy to find people you already know and add them to your network on LinkedIn.

Use the "Add Connections" tab in the top right corner of your profile (see above) to connect LinkedIn to your email account.

LinkedIn then suggests connections based on your contacts. An
important rule to follow for LinkedIn is to only select connections you
actually know and feel comfortable asking to keep in touch (former
collaborators, co-workers, and friends are good choices).

When connecting, it’s a nice touch to send a message saying hello. Networking is all about building meaningful relationships, not how many people you have in your virtual Rolodex.

Step 4: Expand your network

In addition to connecting with those in your network, you might
consider expanding your network by requesting an introduction to a new
contact. If done correctly, it can get you name recognition with
important researchers.

Here’s an example of how that would work: Stacy Konkiel (the author of the 30-Day Impact Challenge) is not currently connected to genomics researcher Mike Eisen on LinkedIn, but let’s say she wants to collaborate with him to do some research on a great idea she has.

The first thing she needs to do to connect with him is find a contact that they have in common.

So, she visits Mike’s profile. On the right-hand side is a “How
You’re Connected” graphic (you may need to scroll down a bit). She can
scroll through the list of contacts they have in common to find a
suitable middleman–Mendeley’s William Gunn.

Next, she would click on the “Ask William about Mike” link (see
above). In the dialog box that appears, she would write her request for
an introduction and send it to William. The request should follow three
key rules:

Be specific

William might take 10 minutes out of his day to write a
recommendation for Stacy, so she shouldn’t waste his time. That means
telling him exactly why she wants to meet Mike: what Mike does that
interests her (he’s a genomics researcher), and what she’s looking to
get out of an introduction (an opportunity to tell him about her great
research idea: widgets for genomics researchers).

Include a “pitch” as to why an introduction would be valuable

Likewise, Stacy should make it clear what Mike would get out of
meeting her. What does she bring to the table? In this case, it’d be the
chance to learn about a well-received new widget, and a future NSF
grant opportunity.

Show appreciation, and also provide William with an “easy out”

William’s time is valuable, so Stacy should make it clear that she’s
thankful that he’s considering writing an Introduction. A good way to do
that in addition to saying thanks is to give him a way to beg off
without feeling too guilty.

Two additional rules for special scenarios are: 1) If Stacy and
William don’t know each other well, she would want to remind William how
they met, and 2) If William does introduce Mike and Stacy, Stacy should
follow up with an update and thanks.

An example introduction request can be found on this blog post.

One final note: keep your requests for introductions to “2nd degree
connections”–that is, friends of friends–because your chances of getting
a meaningful introduction to a stranger through a friend of a friend of
a friend depends on too many variables to be successful.


LinkedIn is a decent tool for professional visibility, but it’s not
without its headaches. Chief among them is that it’s yet another
information silo. (And that’s why you’re setting up a profile that’s
going to be easy to maintain, so you don’t have to update it but once a
year.) LinkedIn’s also overzealous with their notification emails,
sending more in a month than most of us would care to receive in a year.
Luckily, they’re easy to turn off; check out this blog post for a short-and-sweet how-to.

You’ve just completed the Day 3 challenge. Congrats!
See you tomorrow for Twitter and Facebook!

Day 3: Make LinkedIn work for your research - Raising Your Scholarly Profile - LibGuides at Duquesne University

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