Creating A LinkedIn Profile In 5 Easy Steps

Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is the first thing that pops up on Google if someone is looking you up? Did you also know that 94% of users only click on items found on the first page of their Google search? In other words, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile and you want to transition from academia, you don’t exist in the professional world. It’s that simple.

Here are a few tips on how to get started:

STEP 1:  Get a decent headshot: We know, we know, pictures are sometimes awkward for introverts. You might feel self-conscious and weird about the whole process.  Unfortunately, if you are going alt-ac you have no choice. Faceless profiles are considered bots and dismissed from the social media arena. The good news is that you only need one good headshot that you can use on all other social media platforms. So don’t be camera shy. It won’t take too long…

What do we mean by “decent”?

* Choose a high-quality image with a high pixel count.

* The picture must be as recent as possible. Disregard pictures older than two years.

* A selfie does not work. Ask someone to take a picture of you. If you’re shy, you can buy a remote for under 5 dollars for your phone.

* Be alone in the picture. Keep your best friend, better half, parents, or pet out of the frame.

* Avoid distracting backgrounds.

* The frame should cover head and shoulders, or head to waist.

* Research has shown that pictures of people who smile and show their teeth get a better response online. Yet, a toothpaste smile is hard to achieve, especially if you’re not too fond of pictures. If showing most of your teeth to strangers feels fake to you, choose a picture that exudes competence, likeability, and influence.

* Comb your hair, put on some make-up and try to look as physically presentable as can be. Any jewelry that would distract from your face should be off.

* You don’t have to wear a power suit or dress like a Wall Street investment banker. Match your IQ to what you wear and go smart (you sure are!) casual. What does that mean? A compromise between casual and business casual. Still no clue? This link might help:  Stay away from bold prints, colors, and patterns that would distract from your face.  And most of all, wear clothes that make you feel good and that are comfortable, it will definitely have a strong influence on your body language in the picture.

2) Personalize your profile:  Now that you have a presentable picture, personalize the background banner of your LinkedIn profile by adding a picture of your choice. It demonstrates that you are active on social media, and shows your personality. Keep away from pictures of books. Go for pictures that refers to something other than your research skills.

3)  Write a compelling bio:  Compared to other social media platforms, LinkedIn provides you with the most space (2000 characters) for your bio. Take advantage of it, whether you plan to transition from academia or not. Keep in mind that this description not only needs to be compelling, but it must also be readable (keep away from too much jargon). How do you make your bio compelling? By providing an at-a-glance portal into your achievements.

Here a few pointers:

  • It should be written with small paragraphs. Avoid long blocks of text. Don’t be afraid of bullet points and lists
  • Show, don’t tell. Make sure that you list your achievements loud and clear (books and articles, conferences, degrees, awards and honors, relevant projects, national and international credentials), and most importantly talents, skills, and abilities.
  • Stay away from anything negative or whimsical (“disgruntled academic looking for employment”, or “cat lady”.)
  • Pay specific attention to the section devoted to “Additional skills”.


4)  Browse around:  Conduct keyword searches, look up people you know or people you would like to become. To prepare for a smooth transition from academia, find inspiration and become acquainted with the appropriate lingo to talk about your skills and strengths.

5) Start Connecting: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Contrary to Facebook, you don’t have to be very close to people to connect with them on LinkedIn. Seasoned LinkedIn users have a broader definition of networking than on any other social media platforms. Connecting does not mean that you want people to be your friend. Feels lonely out there? Connect with us! We’ll be glad to break the ice with you! The more the merrier, right?

Now that you know how to get started, let’s talk about your goal for the next few months. In the upper right corner of your profile, you will find a circle that indicates your profile’s strength. It ranges from “Beginner” to “All-Star”.  Your goal is to keep working on your profile and adding information about you as you go along.  Impress your friends and reach the “All-Star” status. Who doesn’t want that?

Hope this helps! If it did, “like” us on Facebook and feel free to post comments or any questions on our blog focused on helping people like you achieve a smooth transition from academia.  We’re here to help you start the next school year on the right foot.

For more in-depth tutorials:

Need assistance as your prepare your transition from academia? Check out our services and work with us to find the career path in alignment with your dreams.

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