What you need to know about LinkedIn
Central to creating an effective LinkedIn profile is to include key words so an employer searching for someone with your expertise will be able to find you. A LinkedIn profile is meant to be fluid. It is a living resumé that can be easily updated to reflect new projects you are working on, new opportunities you have, new skills you have gained, and more. LinkedIn allows you to change the order of the following sections, but I recommend you start with the order as it appears below. It also lets you make only certain sections of your profile publicly accessible. For example, you can choose to hide the groups that you belong to. That would be useful if, for instance, you are looking for a job and are part of a group that is clearly for job seekers.
Alaina G. Levine
President, Quantum Success Solutions
Speaker, Consultant, Writer, Comedian, Entrepreneur
Research, Higher Education, Biotechnology, Aerospace [AGL2]
Include your email address and Twitter handle if you have one. You don’t have to include your phone number.
Use a customized URL, such as www.linkedin.com/in/alainaglevine, so your LinkedIn profile can be easily found. You also can put it on your resumé and your business card.
For your summary, you can use either bullet points or paragraph form. It should communicate your expertise, skills, major accomplishments, and pedigree. Below are a few examples:
I am a contributor to National Geographic, a science writer, a science and engineering careers consultant, a professional speaker, and a comedian. My new book on networking strategies for scientists and engineers will be published by Wiley in 2014. As president of Quantum Success Solutions, a career consulting enterprise, I have been advising emerging and established scientists and engineers about their careers for more than a decade. I have given more than 500 workshops and seminars in the US and Europe, and I have written more than 100 articles pertaining to science, science careers, and business for such publications as NatGeo News Watch, Science, Smithsonian, Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, and COSMOS. I also pen the career columns for Physics Today and the American Physical Society’s national publication, APS News.
- Scientific researcher studying the effects of A and B on C. Experienced in X, Y, Z, and ZZ.
- Educator in graduate and undergraduate courses in X and Y.
- Volunteer involved in science communications, outreach, novel teaching methods, and STEM fields diversification.
Specialties: A, B, C, D
To date I have had two careers, as an astrophysicist and as a magazine editor.
In my first career, which lasted eight years, I strove to understand how the plasma around neutron stars, black holes, and other cosmic objects emits x rays. In my second career, which continues, I write and edit articles about physics and its scientific relatives.
Communicating physics is challenging, even if readers, like mine, are mostly physicists themselves. When I approach a story, I try to identify the basic principles of the research and the motivations of the researcher. Telling the story entails building a sequence of ideas that both engages and informs readers.
I’ve solicited and edited numerous obituaries, feature articles, and opinion pieces. I also ran a news department for seven years.
My experience might seem narrow. I’ve worked for just one publication. However, physics is a broad subject. I’ve covered proteins in fish eyes, quantum computing, colliding protoplanets, and much more.
I’ve also written different kinds of pieces. They include news stories about research; surveys of physics in Hong Kong, China, and Singapore; whimsical columns about computing; and, in my blog, commentaries on just about anything that’s more or less connected to physics.
Being an online editor entails more than just writing stories, editing articles, and running departments. As the world of electronic publishing evolves, I devise new editorial products that stay true to my publication’s mission while taking advantage of the new ways people read, watch, and listen.
I am a citizen of the UK and the US.
List all your alma maters, including foreign schools and programs in which you earned special certificates. You can also list honors from each school and activities you participated in. Don’t list your high school except in rare circumstances, such as if you went to a prestigious school or for networking purposes.
List your jobs—both paid and volunteer positions (if they are relevant)—in reverse chronological order. Include a few bullet points or provide a summary of your accomplishments for each position, with the guiding principle being to clarify the problems you were given, the solutions you came up with, and the results (quantified if at all possible).
You can embed pictures, videos, PDFs (of reports, for example), and even PowerPoint slides. They can provide great visual elements for your profile, show you as a savvy LinkedIn user, and make it easy for someone to understand the significance of your expertise and achievements.
Honors and Awards
When listing your honors and awards, it may be useful to explain the significance of a particular one.
Skills and Endorsements
LinkedIn lets you list up to 50 skills. Look through the site’s skills list. Add those skills that are related to your expertise and problem-solving abilities. If you are unsure of what you should list, start with your major areas of expertise, such as physics, research, or teaching. Then look for business skills such as grant writing, mentoring, or teambuilding. You can also add techniques and tools, such as x-ray spectroscopy, Python, Hadoop, or mathematical modeling. Take a look at the profiles of people who have similar careers to see what skills they have listed.
Your skills section should tell the story of who you are and what value you can provide to partners and employers. Depending on where you are in your career, you can, and should, adjust your list of skills as you hone some, stop using others, or want to emphasize certain ones that an employer or partner would be interested in.
Once you add your skills, you can then seek endorsements from your connections. The good news is that LinkedIn basically does that for you. It has an algorithm that asks your connections if you have certain skills, and the connections decide themselves if they want to endorse you for those skills.
These are useful because they are hard to fake (at least so far!). You can ask your connections to recommend you; each recommendation appears on your profile for the job or project that it is associated with. That is useful because readers will see what individual members of your community have to say about your expertise and accomplishments.
- Publications: Include links to the publications, if possible.
- Volunteering and Causes
- Organizations: List your memberships in national societies or chapters of organizations to which you belong.
- Additional Info: Subsections are included for Interests, Personal Details, and Advice for contacting you.
- Your “value statement.” List what you are good at, what you are known for, what your expertise is. This is especially important if you are looking for a job or are in your early career and still exploring and researching career possibilities. You will convey to the reader what job you want.
- Your actual job title. If your current job is a permanent position rather than a temporary one, such as a resident assistant or a postdoc, list it here.
- A mix of the two above. Beware that most LinkedIn profiles are public, so your boss may be able to see what your title is.