As an academic, why would you want to use LinkedIn? How is it useful to academics as more than just an online resume? As mentioned in last week's post creating a LinkedIn profile establishes another easily discoverable web presence, which others can use to find and contact you. But it is one thing to just be on LinkedIn, it's another to get the most out of the network. But why should you invest more of your valuable and always scarce time in LinkedIn? What do they offer beyond their digital CV?
Your personal research network
LinkedIn allows you to connect to your peers, your immediate colleagues, independent researchers, and professionals you've met at conferences or elsewhere. They allow you to remain in touch, but also to leverage this expertise when you need it. You can choose to post a question in a status update or message someone directly with your query. You can also request introductions to researchers whose work you find interesting and who you'd like to collaborate with, but who you've not met before. It is a more formal version of the hive mind that is Twitter.
Another LinkedIn element that is often underutilised is LinkedIn's Groups feature. There are hundreds of groups on LinkedIn covering topics all over the map. These groups can be useful information sources and collaborative tools. For early-career researchers considering a position outside of traditional academia, they can provide a way to connect to a professional community and learn of the career possibilities out there. You could also join groups created by advocacy organisations in order to reach out to those your research impacts and be an active part of their community.
LinkedIn can be far more than just a digital CV, but it will take a time investment to make it so. If you create a dynamic and active presence on LinkedIn, it can be a powerful networking tool to discover connections and create collaborations.