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How to Build a LinkedIn Profile that Lands You a Job/Career in Life Science

To really stand out to recruiters and interviewers in this market, you’ll want to include a good fusion of both technical skills and soft skills related to people and communication. In addition to having technical abilities, a company wants to know how well a team of people can organize themselves and complement each other to accomplish organizational goals. Some of the key skills you’ll want to spend time highlighting to increase your likelihood of getting noticed are showcasing experiences solving technical challenges, strong interpersonal skills, leadership examples, and networking opportunities.

Here’s an overview of specific steps you can take today to enhance your LinkedIn profile:

Profile Summary |Of the many elements that make up a strong profile, two of the most important ones are your professional headline (up to 120 characters) and “About” section (make sure to include industry-related keywords). Together, they make up what’s known as your “LinkedIn profile summary,” and it’s one of the first things people see when they visit your page.

Try to make sure someone could skim your summary in 30 seconds or less, and include industry-related keywords, core skills, strengths, talents and interests. It’s also highly recommended to answer questions that provide deeper insight about how you’re unique, where your career is headed, how others would describe you, and what values and personal traits are most important to you.

Your professional headline is especially important because it’s the text that gets displayed in search results for both Google and LinkedIn.

Here are a few strong examples of personal headlines for the life science industry:

  • List your career goal or focus: Biology Graduate Student focused on Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition
  • Highlight your work: Healthcare Communications Professional | Writer & Editor | Event Planner
  • Career focus / work highlight combo: Scientist in Metabolic Disorders | Postdoctoral Researcher | Tay-Sachs Prevention

Profile Photo | Profiles with photos are around 14 times more likely to be viewed, and it’s recommended to use one of yourself in professional attire, without the distraction of other people in the photo. If you do not have any professional photos or headshots, pop on a suit or a nice shirt and ask a friend or colleague to snap one with their smart phone. A professional looking photo (sized 400px by 400px) will only take a minute to capture, but could be the difference between receiving a message and being passed over.

Cover Photo | Your cover photo creates a great opportunity to share more about yourself as a human being and as a professional. Share something you’re passionate about like presenting at an industry event, doing volunteer work, a hobby you love like running, painting, or hiking, spending time with your family, or traveling. Look at the web tool, Canva, for some pre-made templates to get you started.

Public Profile URL | Make it unique, and use it on business cards, your resume and in your email signatures. The address should look something like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname

Additional Sections | Sections can be added to enhance your profile, like Projects, Courses, Certifications, Languages, Publications, and Volunteering Opportunities. This can increase the amount of times people view your profile, which can help build your network and connect to new opportunities. LinkedIn also has a rating system based on your

Experience | This section should reflect your resume. Be sure to use targeted keywords and accomplishments and include specific information about what you’ve done in previous roles that led to measurable results.

Skills & Endorsements | This is an important section to customize since others can ‘endorse’ you. As a reminder, the first three skills will be listed and visible, then a ‘View More’ button will appear – so prioritize your top three!

Recommendations | These can be from previous supervisors, coworkers, clients, vendors, professors or fellow students who know you well and want to help enhance your profile. Don’t be shy in asking for some help!

Build Your Network | Invite past connections, coworkers, classmates, alumni, friends and family to connect. Share updates and interesting industry-related content. Engage with your connections ‘Recent Activity’ and join industry-related groups to catch the eyes of life science recruiters! LinkedIn search results depend heavily on your network of friends, colleagues, and business contacts.

Leave Recruiters a Note | Let recruiters know you’re open for business by turning on LinkedIn’s ‘Open Candidates’ feature. When you turn it on, LinkedIn lets you leave recruiters a note (up to 500 characters) so you can provide some context around your situation and what you’re looking for next. Update your status to ‘actively searching’, add the job tiles you’re interested in, set your location preferences, and type of employment you’re looking for (full time, part time, contract, etc.).

Standing out on LinkedIn is not always easy, but if you are looking to receive more messages, following the tips above will give you a leg up against the competition. Remember, this is a professional tool that should be used and not abused. Showcase your professional talent and connect with those you know professionally. Networking is a great way to look for new opportunities and LinkedIn makes it as easy as possible, so use it to your advantage!

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