In Part 1 about LinkedIn and life scientists, I described a few reasons that life scientists would want to familiarize themselves with LinkedIn and steps you can take to build your profiles.
More about leveraging Linked-In groups
Hopefully, now you’ve joined appropriate groups, which could include alumni groups, regional networking groups for your company or federal agency or research institution, and/or science groups that match your interests or your particular job title. Some examples of these groups would include the Technology Council of Maryland (a statewide group), Mid-Atlantic BIO (a regional group) Bioinformatics Geeks.
At my first job as a medical technologist, someone advised me to dress for my next hoped-for promotion. I was interested in expanding my marketing role, so when I had meetings with physician managers, I often wore “corporate” professional clothes under my lab coat. That may sound superficial, but it helped people see my skills beyond my immediate responsibilities.
Translating that career advice to the online world of LinkedIn, you can join groups based on what you hope your future, projected career will be. Let’s say you are considering a project management certification to add to your skills, but haven’t decided yet to pursue it. Think about joining a project management group on LinkedIn and solicit advice from group members. You might ask group members how a PPM certificate has expanded their career responsibilities.
Just like meeting someone new in person, if you only self-promote, people are less interested in helping you. Try to periodically post information that is genuinely helpful to others, and offer resources in response to others.
Posting notices to groups
Posting notices to groups is an excellent way to promote events, seminars, and your institution/company because being listed on LinkedIn will raise your search ability and online rankings. Keep your posting brief and low-key (no superlatives, just the essential info and a URL for more details).
Any event that would be of interest to others – a workshop, seminar, or booth at a conference – is fair content for posting. Including a URL makes your information more useful. You can ask others to circulate your post.
I volunteer with UMUC’s Biotechnology grad school’s mentoring program and I’ve used LinkedIn to request mentors. I posted my request to biotech groups and included a deadline for volunteering and a URL link. Since LinkedIn is global, we’ve had mentors respond from other countries.
If you’re attending a meeting that isn’t listed yet, post it in appropriate groups (along with the URL). If you’re attending a meeting that is listed, try looking for professional contacts who would be good connections for you to meet. You can send them private requests to meet or post a general request to anyone attending that conference.
If you use it wisely, LinkedIn can be a great professional resource!