LinkedIn: A Researcher’s Secret Best Friend

Zachary K. Ochoa

At the beginning of this summer, I decided that I wanted to expand my portfolio to include a wider range of research experience and accomplishment. Therefore, I began to pursue the publication of research that I had already completed. I also began to seek new ideas for projects that I could undertake. Since setting my sights on these goals, I’ve been blessed with the privilege of having three of my scholarly papers published in online research journals. This could not have been possible had I not discovered the tremendous value of my secret weapon: LinkedIn.

I signed up for my LinkedIn account shortly after the end of this past spring semester. When I first got started, I had no intention of using it for any reason other than networking. Although LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for accomplishing this goal, there is another hidden value in it for those who are undertaking university research. When you explore the profile of another student in your field, there’s a good chance that they’ve posted about their projects, publications, achievements, etc. These posts are an immensely valuable resource for any undergraduate student researcher.

Within these posts and experiences are the clues you need for success in research. If you look at the kind of work other professionals and high achievers in your field are undertaking, it can give you a wealth of ideas on how to move forward with your own projects. In addition to that, you should take note of the publishers and organizations with which the professionals have been involved. If they were able to meet with success using those avenues, there’s no reason that you can’t too. If you really want to go the extra mile with your portfolio, never let a single lead go to waste.

Since figuring out how to use LinkedIn to not only grow my own network, but my list of possible resources, I have been using it almost continuously. Every time I come across a new author of a publication, or I hear about a rising star in international affairs, the very next thing I do is try and find their LinkedIn page. I check every publisher and organization that they have worked with and check to see if there are any opportunities there for someone like myself. Using this method was how I was able to find publishers for two of the three papers I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. So, if I could give you any piece of advice on how to take that next big step in your professional development it is this: get a LinkedIn account, connect with other researchers like yourself, and start fishing for opportunities. Good Luck!


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