The popular social-networking site LinkedIn offers you far more than a place to post your résumé online. You can connect with colleagues and peers on professional interests and activities (rather than the cat videos and pop-culture quizzes you’ll find on other social-media sites).

But how frequently do educators use LinkedIn? To begin exploring this topic, we asked readers of the Engaging Minds blog: Do you have a LinkedIn account? Below, their responses:


Instructors' use of LinkedIn

The majority of respondents (82%) said that they have a LinkedIn profile. However, not all of them use the social-media site with any regularity. Only 44% are actually active on the site, while 38% have a profile, but never visit the site. It’s possible they aren’t finding meaningful interaction or content there… or, like many of us, they might not have time to check one more app or website on a regular basis!

If you are hoping to make more of LinkedIn as an educator, beyond setting up your profile, searching for jobs, and connecting with your peers, there’s much that you can do. Below, we’ve provided our three tips for using this social-media site as a means of gathering insights and ideas that are relevant to your career.

Beyond the résumé: Three ways to use LinkedIn to stay informed & engaged

1. Link up with your campus (and others).

LinkedIn’s University pages (which actually cover all types of post-secondary institutions) reveal insights from data provided by LinkedIn users. You can observe trends about where alumni work and the types of jobs they have. In addition, you can see which of your own LinkedIn connections have added your school to their profiles.

On these pages, colleges can also share news and updates relevant to their audience of students, alumni, and faculty. These might include campus events, on-campus workshops, updates on alumni, interesting faculty and student research, or career-success tips for graduates.

Want to learn what other colleges in your state (or across the country) are doing? Follow them to see how they’re engaging with students and keeping alumni abreast of school news and activities.

To search for a college on LinkedIn, enter the school name, then filter your search by Universities. (You can choose the Universities filter from the drop-down that appears next to the search box; you can also choose it from the left-navigation of the search results page.) You might also search by city, or by a relevant search term such as “community college.”

2. Join a LinkedIn Group.

Whatever your job title or professional interests, there’s a LinkedIn group for you.

Just about any role within a college or university has a corresponding LinkedIn group. You’ll find groups for adjunct instructors, administration, university emergency managers, finance, academic support services, and more.

Do you belong to any professional associations within your discipline? It’s probable that they host a group on LinkedIn as well. Groups have also formed around such topics as professional development, the improvement of student learning outcomes, learning space design, and leadership.

To find a group, search for terms such as “higher education,” “college teaching,” or the name of your professional association. Then, use the Groups filter, and browse the list to find those that fit what you’re looking for.

Note that many groups on LinkedIn are open, while others require you to request membership. Most of the time, group administrators (known as “owners”) will allow you to join, but you may need to wait a bit for your request to be approved.

3. Follow thought leaders.

LinkedIn Pulse delivers you news and thought pieces related to your professional interests. These articles skew toward the popular (rather than the academic), but they will keep you abreast of current issues and trends that are on the minds of many people. The articles you’ll find on LinkedIn Pulse can also serve as a springboard for thoughtful classroom discussion.

To get started, you can follow specific topics, such as EducationLaw and Government, or Technology. Or, you can follow the individuals who post articles that interest you. Simply visit the LinkedIn Pulse page, click on “Discover” in the top navigation bar, and browse the posts to choose for yourself.

More great ideas about LinkedIn for educators

For additional tips, read our previous post Taking the Mystery out of LinkedIn For Educators by Ron Nash, Founder of The In Academy.

We also invite you to follow Cengage Learning on LinkedIn.

How do you use LinkedIn? What are your tips on LinkedIn for educators’ use? Share them in the comments.