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Research Impact and Visibility: Day 3: Maximizing Linkedin for Your Research

A guide on tools to promote your research and increase citations

Create a Low-maintenance Profile

ou 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.

Linkedin for Scholars

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 eye-catching.

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).

Connect to Others

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.