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How to Create a LinkedIn Profile—for Academia


Kathryn Muehlberger, Client Communications Specialist

November 2021

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking platform designed to profile your career and employment history. It is a great tool for connecting with other colleagues and those who share similar career paths or interests. Importantly, you can view as well as apply to open job positions or other employment opportunities. According to an article from Hootsuite, LinkedIn has over 720 million members, with 76% of members outside the United States. As such, LinkedIn is a global platform with a goal of connecting professionals across different communities. Because your LinkedIn profile is a visual representation of who you are as a scientist, researcher and professional, it is essential to optimize your profile to gain more connections and opportunities.

Getting Started with LinkedIn

How to Create a LinkedIn Profile

• How do you want to represent yourself? We recommend selecting a profile photo that is front facing, has good lighting, and is from the past 5 years.

• For your background cover photo, you can leave it blank or choose a photograph and/or design that represents your research discipline (or other professional interests).

Create your headline

• We recommend using your current position (e.g., graduate student, PhD candidate, laboratory technician) or creating an overall, more encompassing title.

• Adding your location information is optional but listing it will show a more complete profile and potentially connect you with other researchers in close proximity. If you are uncomfortable about revealing your location, you can set privacy settings so only your connections can see this information (or no one can view this information).

• Remember, you can list a general area, like Greater Boston, the USA or Shanghai.

Current affiliation
• Add your current department and university (or company), as well as position.

• Viewer access to this information can also be controlled via your privacy settings.

About You
• For this section, include an informative sentence (or two) that describes you and your research. An example is from one of our own employees, Dr. Clark Holdsworth, who uses “A track record in experimental physiology. Extensive experience in academic publishing. The desire to further efficacy and innovation in scientific communications.” This perfectly describes his background, knowledge, and passion.

• Add your personal website link if applicable, as this is another great way to showcase your experience and expertise. See our Learning Nexus article about creating an effective personal academic website for more information.

Work experience
• Add all employment positions from the last 10–20 years depending how long you have been working or have been in academia. Only include positions that are relevant to your professional experience.

• Be as specific as possible—this is the time to show off your unique skills.

• List 5–6 bullet points under each of your job positions listed. Highlight the most important aspects of the position.

• Ensure your most important responsibilities are at the top of each bullet-pointed list.

• All previous employment should be written in past tense.

Education history
• For your Education section, add your undergraduate and post-graduate institutions with the corresponding year(s) and major(s)/minor(s). If you held a job during school and it is relevant to your current position, then you can add a short description.

• Finally, list any accomplishments you may have made during your education, such as honors or awards received, funding attained, laboratory experience, or undergraduate research capstones.

LinkedIn is a great social networking tool to help establish your professional career. With a global audience and many features, creating a LinkedIn profile is critical to academic success.

Lastly, to assist you in creating a LinkedIn profile, click the button below to access our PowerPoint presentation that provides a summary of our LinkedIn tips:


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