My task was to review the use of LinkedIn for Academia. Why bother? LinkedIn is all about business to business connections, professional development, HR and recruiting surely? Well that may still be the perception of many, but the reality is far removed. LinkedIn for Education (under the “interests” tab) demonstrates rapid development in this area, already facilitating connection between students, alumni, schools, and employers, and there is so much more to explore, but first....
Conceived in 2002 as a way to help professionals find and keep in touch with each other, LinkedIn created a space to display resumes online, and promote one’s skills – a platform ideal for job seekers and head hunters alike. In this respect, LinkedIn has indeed become the recruitment tool of choice; “94% of recruiters who use social media use LinkedIn.” John ZappeLinkedIn Dominates Social Media Sourcing and Recruiting
Had LinkedIn remained simply an online job matching service, it is questionable that Academia would have found much relevance in it, or engaged to the extent we see today.
With Jeff Weiner’s appointment as CEO in 2009 however, we saw the transformation of LinkedIn from a job hunting site, into a professional “development” site, fully utilising its social media platform to inform, influence, and educate, demonstrably bringing new life, and increasing membership of 32 million in 2009 to over 300 million worldwide (6 million in Australia) by mid-2014.
It is the specific benefits and features created for academics, students, and educational institutions which attract my attention today. Academic advantages include improved facilitation to: connect to fellow researchers, find and reach people you need to build a broader network of professionals, establish collaborative relationships and projects, acquire and share expertise.
- “Collaborate on projects….”Linkedin 101 for Academia
- “… use media to turn research into professional development.” Guy Trainin –Academics on Social Media
- “… LinkedIn also provides a great Q&A functionality that you can use to ask the network of 30 million professionals any question you’d like.” Neal Schaffer 7 Reasons Why Every Professional Should Be on LinkedIn
- “As an academic whose primary focus is the education of undergraduates (as opposed to living a publish-or-perish life), I use LinkedIn as a tool for keeping track of graduates, making contact with professionals whose expertise could enrich our educational programs (e.g., through guest lectures in courses or seminar series), and helping current and former students network professionally.” Jason Miller Quora Blog:Do academics find value in using Linkedin? Why or why not?
- The Influencer’s program initially launched in 2012, is expanding its publishing platform in 2014 to allow you to publish original content on LinkedIn's platform, and thus push your content out to your network immediately, very helpful if you wish to attract attention and expand your reach. John Bonini How LinkedIn Got Cool & Became Your Most Powerful Distribution Channel
Students can also benefit from engagement with LinkedIn to network with other students, promote their skills and specialisations prior to graduation, find a career mentor, and connect with major employers globally.
- James Tomerson 7 Ways College Students Can Benefit from LinkedIn
- Indeed, “there are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic.” About LinkedIn
LinkedIn has become a tool of powerful influence, not to be overlooked by employers.
- “When someone looks at a profile of one of your employees, it not only speaks to their personal brand, but to your company brand as well. If you help your staff build stellar, compelling profiles and show them how to engage and stay connected to their brand community, you’re sending a message about your company brand to everyone who visits their pages or interacts with them. This is valuable to clients, potential customers, business partners and existing and future employees. It supports competitive advantage. Through the collective profiles of your employees, people can see the talent and specific skills of your people.” William Arruda Why Every Employee At Your Company Should Use LinkedIn
Etiquette - The true value of LinkedIn is in the engagement, but for the novice there are many traps, for example, there are some basic forms of LinkedIn etiquette that should be followed.
Profile - You may consider your profile unimportant, but not so – there are many reasons why you should complete your LinkedIn profile. As we have discussed, academic use of LinkedIn differs from B2B, so you might want to tailor your LinkedIn profile.
Connections - There are differing opinions on the benefits of connecting with only known colleagues or making new connections to expand your knowledge and collaboration base, but it is always advisable to “Personalize each connection request with a reminder of how the person knows you or explain why they should connect with you, and you’ll find they’re far more likely to accept.” 6 Ways to Grow Your LinkedIn Connections
Endorsements and Recommendations – “… get others to Endorse and Recommend you in the right ways, and connect LinkedIn to the rest of your professional life” and become an academic networking pro on LinkedIn.
Groups - LinkedIn provides the platform and features to start your own group, or join up to 50 of the existing groups. You are not limited to joining groups in your own profession; you may wish to join in conversations beyond your usual network.
There are several benefits to joining a LinkedIn group, and particularly, if “you’re writing a dissertation, or publishing, you can check to see who else is interested in similar topics. As a grad student who needs a professional network, this is a great way to start developing that network, because you’ll have the option of contacting people in your group.” Linkedin Groups for academics . LinkedIn Groups are a great way to build credibility and make new connections.
Influencers and the Pulse - LinkedIn engages with a wide range of industry Influencers. Feeds of their short articles will automatically come to you through the Pulse (Similar to the FaceBook NewsFeed).
“You don't have to be an influencer to publish a new article to LinkedIn Pulse.” Pamela Vaughan The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedInhttp://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/23454/The-Ultimate-Cheat-Sheet-for-Mastering-LinkedIn.aspx
... and a Final Word
LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner shares his vision for the future of LinkedIn, and how LinkedIn job market analytics may one day directly inform educational institutions on program and course development.