If you are a higher education professional and you aren’t utilizing LinkedIn on a regular basis, you are missing out on a great opportunity to expand your network and get new ideas from other higher ed professionals. Vice presidents, deans, and directors from all areas of campus can benefit from LinkedIn by investing as little as 10 minutes per day.
Before I get into what to do and how to do it, you first need to do an audit of your own profile (or sign up if you haven’t already). Here are a few things your profile should have:
- A professional-quality headshot—LinkedIn is a social network, yes, but it’s a social network for professionals. Your profile picture shouldn’t be a picture of you and your dog, or of you and anybody else for that matter. It should be a headshot with a solid background (and make sure you are smiling!).
- An updated contact info section—This should include an e-mail address, a link to your institution’s Web site, and possibly a phone number.
- A current professional headline/job title—This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many leave it blank or out of date.
- A detailed “Summary” section—You are allowed approximately 1,700 characters for this section, so take advantage of it. Use a paragraph or two to give a brief background of your professional history, and use the rest to highlight your professional accomplishments.
- An updated experience section—This should include details about your current position and responsibilities.
- Your “skills and expertise”—This section will make it easier for your connections to endorse you for the correct skills.
Once you have your profile updated, make sure you review it regularly and keep it current.
Connect with the higher ed community through LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups are something you should get very familiar with, and groups are where you should be committing a lot of your “LinkedIn time.” Luckily for those of you in the higher ed community, there are some GREAT LinkedIn groups that exist for doing just that.