What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn isn’t just for tech geeks, marketers and wannabe entrepreneurs. These days, almost all professionals have a LinkedIn page and so do the majority of companies and businesses. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet with 875 million users (January 2023). If you use LinkedIn correctly, it can help you find a new job or internship, connect and strength your professional network and learn the new skills using its training courses. LinkedIn is available on desktop, Android and Apple devices.
A complete and well presented LinkedIn profile can help you connect with opportunities by showcasing your unique professional story through experience, skills, and education. You can also use LinkedIn to organise offline events, join groups, write articles, post photos and videos, and more.
1. Gain Access to the LinkedIn Job Board
If you are looking for an ecology job then LinkedIn is a good place to start. As a LinkedIn user you will access to its job board, recruiters and recruitment agencies. Some jobs even let you apply directly from your LinkedIn profile.
Keep abreast of the job market in your sector by setting job alerts based on your career interests.
Turn on your “I’m interested” button, to let recruiters and potential employers know you’re open to hearing about new opportunities. This option is discrete and hides your interest from any co-workers or managers you are connected to at your current company.
Top Tip: A good LinkedIn profile helps you build trust, make sure your LinkedIn job experience and your CV match, otherwise you might find yourself answering awkward questions about the differences!
2. Build Your Personal Brand
In the same way that companies build their brands, you can build your own personal and professional brand online. This can help you stand out from the competition and catch the eye of potential employers.
Of course personal websites like this one are also a great way to promote your brand, but websites come with extra costs and may require hours of building to make them look professional. LinkedIn is a quicker way to get your brand out there.
Upload a professional looking photo (this is not the place for a photo of you on the beach with your mates in Ibiza), typically head and shoulder shots work best. Write a professional LinkedIn summary that emphasises your strengths and experience and expresses your personality.
Top Tip: If you are worried about your profile picture it may be worth paying for a session with a professional photographer who can get the best out of you.
3. Rank Higher in Google
Every recruiter and prospective employer will Google your name and see what comes up. Even an email enquiry about a job may result in them checking you out.
One of the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile is that is likely to rank highly on any Google search of your name. The weight Google gives LinkedIn means it is easier to rank higher with a LinkedIn profile than it would be with a personal website, especially if you are just starting out.
Top Tip: If you haven’t ever Googled your name, do it now and see what comes up on the first page of results.
4. Research Companies and Employees
Almost all companies maintain their own LinkedIn pages where they’ll update company information, share company news and insight, and showcase current employees. A good company page will give you a feel for its culture and its people before you enter the interview process or accept a job.
Top Tip: Find employees and look at their profiles. What projects have they worked on, are they things you’d like to do?
5. Create and Maintain A Professional Address Book
In the modern working world no-one stays at the same employer forever. A typical length of employment in the ecological consultancy industry is between two and three years. With many jobs being seasonal and even shorter, it can be easy to lose track of who you’ve worked with and for.
If you connect with your co-workers and managers, those connections will remain if and when you move jobs. Ecology is a small world and you never know when you will need those contacts again.
Once you are more established it can help you with resourcing. Need a herptologist in a hurry, remember that guy you used to work with three years ago – one LinkedIn message and you are back in touch.
Top Tip: If you meet someone interesting at a conference or talk, instead of getting a business card and sticking it in a drawer, add them in LinkedIn, it will make them a lot easier to find again when you need them.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly THE networking tool for professionals. It is a great way to interactive with like-minded individuals, build new connections and to find inspiration from people you admire.
Top Tip: If there is someone you want to interact with but are too timid to connect, see if they have a Follow option instead. That way you will see what they are posting and can start commenting on their posts and build up to asking the to connect.
7. Find Industry News
Like other social networking sites, LinkedIn aggregates a timeline when you log in. There, you’ll find news updates from your connections, your groups, and your company. A well maintained timeline is a simple way to keep tabs on industry trends and reports.
Top Tip: LinkedIn is currently pushing its Newsletter option, look at other users profiles and see what newsletters they are subscribed to and find news ways to be inspired.
8. Training and Learning
LinkedIn has its own learning branch called LinkedIn Learning which contains thousands of short courses and online learning opportunities. Companies also advertise their own training and learning opportunities on their LinkedIn pages which can be a great way to connect and learn a new skill.
Top Tip: If you take a course make sure you update your LinkedIn profile and tell your network all about your success.
9. Produce Great Content
We work in ecology so we are often in the fortunate position of being in great locations or seeing fantastic wildlife. Use this to your advantage and post photos and videos on your profile. Not only will people who spend their work lives in offices love seeing the pictures (you wouldn’t believe how many people skive on LinkedIn on a Friday afternoon) it will give you a chance to show your passion for the subject and express your personality.
Top Tip: Never post anything that is company-confidential or that is negative about an employer or a project you’ve worked on.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that having a LinkedIn profile is a must for any ecologist. LinkedIn is the biggest online professional network in the world and gives you the chance to build and maintain your professional relationships, search for your dream job and to build your professional reputation.