The Web is filled with social networks for educators. For many faculty members and administrators, though, LinkedIn can be the go-to one-stop shop for professional interactions online. The site’s purpose is fairly straight forward, but in the world of academics where everyone has a public online presence and needs to be properly curated, just setting up a profile can be intimidating.
Fortunately, LinkedIn has some of the best social network privacy options out there, as well as a lot to offer those working in colleges or K-12 schools. Here are seven easy ways that you can make the service work for you as an administrator or instructor.
1. Finding Jobs: This is the obvious one. LinkedIn first and foremost is a public résumé that is easily findable via Google or LinkedIn’s built-in search engine for employers looking for potential hires. The Jobs menu on LinkedIn also has a handy set of tools for educators looking for jobs, though, including searchable postings and a premium paid service to make yourself more visible to the right people.
2. Consult Experts: Since LinkedIn users are searchable via name, position and institution, seeking out new potential contacts and reaching out to them with questions about experience about curriculum or lesson topics can be a breeze.
3. Connect with Old Colleagues: Did you fail to stay in touch with a teacher from the first school you worked at? Did a coworker you admired but lost touch with go on to grab an administration job out of state? Looks them up and reconnect. You never know what might happen.
4. Get Recommendations: LinkedIn streamlined the age-old process of soliciting letters of recommendation by letting you issue and request personal statements from your colleagues. Think of them as added credibility that prospective employers can look at and consider when they start searching the Web for reasons to hire you.
5. Form Discussion Groups about Departments and Policies: LinkedIn’s systems for setting up groups are wonderful. Each one can be public or private and hosts space for ongoing discussion threads.
6. Keep an Accurate Contact List: Like Facebook, LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool for keeping track of your your social network's members as they move between zip codes, workplaces and even industries. The network also brings a messaging platform that doesn't require you to update addresses and numbers.
7. Promote Your Own Blog or Other Extracurricular Project: Students aren't the only ones with after school activities to worry about. If you have a research project, blog or side venture that you think might interest others in your field, LinkedIn can be a great place to get feedback and let your colleagues know what you have been doing outside of the classroom.