Getting Started with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful networking platform that allows users to publish posts, share professional updates, and connect with colleagues. Learn the benefits of using LinkedIn, and how to set up your basic profile, below.

Why should I use LinkedIn?

  • It is a great place to find mentors or collaborators and expand your network 
  • You can add media beyond your resume, including published papers and videos of talks
  • SEO (search engine optimization) for published posts is high. Your posted content can result in immediate views and comments and helps boost your profile to receive more views
  • Many hiring managers look at LinkedIn before reading a CV, so it is important to keep your profile current

How should I use LinkedIn?

  • LinkedIn has a more engaging and polite overall tone than other platforms; imagine that you are at a conference to guide your interactions with others
  • Engage with those in your feed; share what you have written or something that you have read and tag others; positive engagements can lead to opportunities
  • Promote or boost the work of your colleagues (and they will likely reciprocate)
  • Include photos in posts whenever possible.

What should my profile include?

  1. Upload a professional headshot (photo should be square; 400 x 400px* is the ideal size)
  2. Upload a cover photo that is relevant to your work but that does not distract the viewer from your headshot. A campus photo or image from your research works well here (1128 x 191 px*)
  3. Write a compelling headline that lists more than your current job title and that includes relevant keywords (character limit - 220)
  4. Describe your work/research and why it matters in your About section. Be specific but do not use academic jargon. Don't simply paste your professional bio verbatim; craft a narrative that draws the reader in. Include a call to action (character limit - 2600)

Character Limits* at a Glance:

  • Your first name: 20 characters
  • Your last name: 40 characters
  • Professional headline: 120 characters
  • LinkedIn Summary (or “About” section): 2600 characters (roughly 400-600 words, including spaces)
  • Job position: 120 characters
  • Published posts - up to 3,000 characters; the first 210 will be visible in preview

*The Word Counter website is a great tool to count characters. Word/Google Docs also has a “word count” feature which also includes character count.


Image Specifications:

  • Profile photo: 400 x 400 pixels (max 8MB)
  • Background image: 1128 (w) x 191 (h) pixels
  • Published post image: 1200 x 627 pixels

*If you are new to sizing photos, the free online platform Canva is an excellent tool for creating your cover photo and headshot to the specifications above.

    Learn more

    Engage with others. Read your feed, 'like' and comment on others’ posts. Follow hashtags that are of interest. Share a resource, link, or article.

    Build your network. Look through your contacts; who is on LinkedIn? Look at My Company to find colleagues and connect with them. Look at the connections of a colleague. Join groups, alumni networks, or professional organizations.

    Write a recommendation for a colleague.

    Promote your work (or that of a peer). Share events, book publication dates, published papers, and grants.

    Leveraging LinkedIn faculty development session

    On March 25, 2021, we hosted Leveraging LinkedIn, a panel discussion about how faculty can use the platform to share their work and build their professional networks.

    Our panel consisted of Orin Herskowitz, Senior Vice President for Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV), and Adjunct Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and Ramon Vinluan, Senior Manager, Client Solutions (Education Vertical) at LinkedIn. Acacia O'Connor, Director of Social Media, led the discussion, and Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement Dennis Mitchell gave opening remarks.

    Watch the video below.