LinkedIn is ubiquitous among professionals and people aspiring to be in the workforce. This is an amazingly useful tool to build connections, keep track of people, and brand yourself. The following are a few tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively based upon my experiences.
Include your picture on LinkedIn profile so that people can associate your name with your picture. This will help people remember who you are if they met you somewhere. Your picture should be “professionally looking” and should include your headshot, preferably against a blank wall or other setting that is neutral. You don’t want people to be distracted by other objects in your picture. Facebook can be the place where you include personal objects like things associated with hobbies, kids, houses, trips, etc.
LinkedIn for Following up:
When you meet someone at a networking event, scientific meeting, or other venue, when you follow up and send a LinkedIn invite, mention where you met the person, the date, and why you are following up. Using just the standard LinkedIn invite language, may cause the person who you invite to not respond since they may forget that they met you. This is especially true if people attend many meetings in the same day or week. I sometimes attend >7 events in a given week, therefore if someone does not write where they met me, and especially if they do not have a picture, I will probably be unsure if I met them and will not accept their invitation to LinkedIn.
When you send the LinkedIn invitations, something as simple as the following would be suitable: Subject: AACR meeting follow up
It was a pleasure to meet you at the poster session on Day 2 of the recent AACR national meeting. I enjoyed our conversation about the mTOR pathway and look forward to keeping in touch. I would like to add you to my LinkedIn profile.
Build out your profile:
LinkedIn shows your online personal brand. Your profile portrays who you are and what you have done. It’s an amazing tool since you it allows you to tell a story about your background with the information that you share. With your content, you provide the reader with context and you paint a picture of how you may be beneficial, relevant, or connected to them. If you are looking for a job, details about your experiences should definitely be shown. This includes details about research techniques you have used, assays you know, knowledge that you have about relevant areas to the industry that you are interested in, and other pertinent information. You could also include information about papers you have published, presentations you have made, classes you have taught, etc. Even if you are not looking for a job, building your profile out is extremely beneficial to building your personal brand. This will help you develop thought leadership in your area of focus. This could lead to interesting opportunities due to your increased presence.
Quality vs. Quantity:
LinkedIn should be a quality focused tool. As you build connections, pay attention to the quality of the connections, not the quantity. Having 3,000 LinkedIn connections is not useful if you only truly know 30 of the people well. Before I make connections on LinkedIn, I like to have met individuals at least a few times and have some relevancy to them. I try to avoid making connections with individuals who I do not know. I treat LinkedIn as an extended personal network and I want to make sure that as it grows, it continues to remain personal.
Hopefully you find these tips useful. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on other areas of advice that I can assist with. Good luck with making connections!