Put simply, LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. Whether you're an CEO at a major company, a business owner who runs a small local shop or even a first year univeristy student looking to explore future career options, LinkedIn is for anybody and everybody who's interested in taking their professional lives seriously by finding new opportunities to grow their careers and to connect with other professionals.
It's sort of like a traditional networking event where you go and meet other professionals in person, talk a little bit about what you do and exchange business cards. On LinkedIn, however, you add "connections" similarly to how you'd make a friend request on Facebook, you converse via private message (or available contact information) and you have all of your professional experience and achievements laid out in a neatly organised profile to show off to other users.
LinkedIn is very similar to Facebook in terms of its broad feature offering. These features are more specialised because they cater to professionals, but in general, if you know how to use Facebook or any other similar social network, LinkedIn is comparable.
LinkedIn's Main Features
Here are some of the basic features that this business network offers and how they've been designed to be used by professionals.
Home: is your news feed, showing recent posts from your connections with other professionals and company pages you're following.
Profile: shows your name, your photo, your location, your occupation and more right at the top. Below that, you have the ability to customise various different sections like a short summary, work experience, education and other sections similarly to how you might create a traditional resume or CV.
My Network: Here you'll find a list of all the professionals you're currently connected with on LinkedIn. If you hover your mouse over this option in the top menu, you'll also be able to see a number of other options that will allow you to add contacts, find people you may know and find alumni.
Jobs: jobs listings are posted on LinkedIn everyday by employers, and LinkedIn will recommend specific jobs to you based on your current information, including your location and optional job preferences that you can fill out to get better-tailored job listings.
Interests: In addition to your connections with professionals, you can follow certain interests on LinkedIn as well. These include company pages, groups according to location or interest, LinkedIn's SlideShare platform for slideshow publishing and LinkedIn's Lynda platform for educational purposes.
Search bar: LinkedIn has a powerful search feature that allows you to filter your results down according to several different customizable fields. Click "Advanced" beside the search bar to find specific professionals, companies, jobs and more.
Messages: When you want to start a conversation with another professional, you can do so by sending them a private message through LinkedIn. You can also add attachments, include photos and more.
Notifications: Like other social networks, LinkedIn has a notification feature that lets you know when you've been endorsed by someone, invited to join something or welcomed to check out a post you might be interested in.
Pending Invitations: When other professionals invite you to connect with them on LinkedIn, you'll receive an invitation that you'll have to approve.
What You Can Use LinkedIn For
Here are some tips for beginners.
- Get back in touch with old colleagues.
- Use your profile as your CV.
- Find and apply to jobs.
- Find and connect with new professionals.
- Participate in relevant groups.
- Blog about what you know.
ReasearchGate is free to join and currently has around 13 million users worldwide. It is a Social Networking Site for researchers, particularly those engaged in broadly scientific research.
- Sharing of publications
- Connecting with colleagues
- Seeking new collaborations
- Obtaining statistics and metrics on use of uploaded publications
- Job seeking /recruitment
ResearchGate incorporates many elements of familiar social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn:
- Creating profiles
- Liking and following researchers and their publications
- Endorsing the skills of others
- Ability to bookmark favourites
- Ability to comment or send feedback
- Ability to share news items and updates easily and quickly
ResearchGate links researchers around selected topics and specialisations – these can be chosen or edited at any time by members.
- Members can track and follow the research publications of others in their field.
- Members can upload copies of papers (either pre- or post-review) and the associated raw data. All will be searchable. Non-peer-reviewed material can be added only through manual file upload.
- Researchers are encouraged not only to upload successful results but also those results from failed projects or experiments – the latter are stored in a separate but searchable area.
- Members are automatically subscribed to a co-author’s feed, so that they can see work from and connect with their co-authors’ co-authors.
- ResearchGate offers the ability to search and filter on a variety of topics: author, institution, journal, publication, and so on.
- Members can request a copy of a paper from the author if it is not freely available.
- Full text publications uploaded to ResearchGate are indexed by Google.
- ResearchGate contains useful information about journals, such as impact factors, metrics and some details of open access policy – in this respect it is useful for bringing information together into one place.
ResearchGate claims to have 3 million users but it is not clear how many of these are active accounts that are maintained and updated regularly.
- A quick trawl of members shows that many profiles contain none or a small number of publications and many appear not to have been updated for some time.
- A high percentage of ResearchGate members are postgraduate and other students (may be a drawback for established researchers).
- Some members have complained about unwanted email spamming. To avoid receiving several emails a day, unwanted updates or followers, be sure to manage your Notifications and Privacy settings both of which can be accessed through Account Settings.
- Many of the publications that are available through ResearchGate are actually uploaded illegally in terms of publisher open access policy.
If you do use a variety of sites, this is where the advantage of having your paper in a single, freely available place, i.e., PURE will come into play as you can simply link simply link to the paper and know that anyone anywhere can get secure, long-term and free access
- Maintain and regularly update your profile, to get the most out of ResearchGate.
- It is recommended that you deposit the legal copy of your paper to PURE (Abertay Research Collection) and then link to that on networking sites such as ResearchGate.
- Consider using ResearchGate in conjunction with other sites such as Academia.edu, Mendeley, Google Scholaror figshare to promote work.
- Use other social media sites to promote your research, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums.
- Make your research outputs open access where possible
Use online media to promote and link to your research
Evidence suggests there are statistically significant associations between higher citations for articles and the use of various social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums.
Make research outputs open access where possible
Evidence shows that open access articles are cited significantly more than non-open access articles.