While an increasing number of education professionals are beginning to recognise the potential of tools like Twitter and Facebook for connecting with peers or interacting with students, many find the benefits of LinkedIn more difficult to discern. Although its popularity among industry and business professionals is well-established, its reputation as a job search tool has meant than educators and researchers who are content in their posts tend to dismiss it as irrelevant. However, over the past couple of years LinkedIn has focused much of its development on wooing universities and prospective students, even lowering its minimum age to 13 in most countries.
Why should educators use LinkedIn?
Anyone working in academia can benefit from establishing a LinkedIn profile. With over 300 million members in more than 200 countries, it holds significant potential for professional networking and career enhancement. Academics are increasingly expected to have an online profile, and LinkedIn makes this possible while maintaining a boundary with personal social networking activities.
Here is an overview of some the reasons why you should consider using LinkedIn:
- Stay in touch with past colleagues, classmates or alumni
- Network with other professionals and benefit from their expertise
- Research companies or other institutions by following their pages
- Discover opportunities for research partnerships or collaborate on projects
- Introduce students to professional networking and establish mentoring schemes
- Enhance your online profile and showcase your skills, projects and publications
Don’t be left out!
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, sign up for one at www.linkedin.com – the free version is sufficient for most users. Try to include as much relevant information on your profile as possible including any qualifications, where you have studied and worked and details of any publications or projects. You can add files and links to your profile to provide further details and you can link your Twitter or SlideShare accounts.
To make connections, start by searching for colleagues or consider the ‘People you may know’ suggestions. You can also join LinkedIn groups to network with others interested in your subject area. If you’re not sure what to say, you can simply like, share or comment on others’ updates or share interesting articles that you find online. When you are feeling more confident, ask questions or share your own views and expertise.
You will find more information in our LinkedIn for Beginners presentation.
Has LinkedIn benefited you as an education professional? Share your experiences in the comments!