Postgrads are really starting to take to LinkedIn. Not surprising, really, given that there are over 110,000 PhDs already listed on LinkedIn, and over 410,000 Masters postgrads in the UK alone.
I’ve started picking up tips on using LinkedIn from our current postgrads – here are three uses I’ve heard of in the past week:
Finding social science research interview subjects
It could be great for finding academic research subjects if you need to interview people from specific professional groups. Just one contact could then lead you on to others in the same field, location or with the same interests.
Of course, you still need to consider the ethical issues surrounding any human research (our Research Ethics office can help there) but as a means of locating contacts once you’ve got approval, it could really help. (Obviously this probably only really applies to social science research – I wouldn’t expect to recruit many medical research subjects from their professional LinkedIn profiles!)
Wonder what they look like…?
It’s good practice to put a picture on your LinkedIn profile, so having a look at someone’s profile can be helpful if you’re planning to meet someone you’ve only ever spoken to online or on the phone.
On the other hand, it can be used if a recruiter wants to check out what you look like before deciding to offer you an interview. In the UK, it’s not common practice to put a photo on your CV – personally I’m against it, as you ought to get an interview based on what you can offer, not what you look like … or whether you’re black, white, asian, female, male or any other irrelevant criteria which some recruiters might want to use. However, it can be the norm to add a photo in other countries.
One of our PhDs pointed out that for multinational recruiters operating in different regions, maybe where Head Office “best practice” in recruitment differs from the local norms, if you include your LinkedIn profile, it can be a way of allowing them to see what you look like without them having to ask for a photo. This has one added advantage …
… you can track which employers are checking you out
If you include your LinkedIn profile on your CV, you can see who’s looked at your profile in the last week or two. Of course, even if someone has looked at your profile, they may still be able to remain anonymous, but as my PhD contact pointed out, most recruiting HR managers are pretty open with their profiles, and she was able to see if anyone was clicking through from her CV (they were!).