LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Academia.edu can be extremely useful tools for connecting people with the same interests from a professional point of view. In addition, they allow users to share relevant information for research purposes.
Nowadays, one of the most popular professional social networks is, no doubt, LinkedIn. First of all, this tool allows you to create an online CV, and then it gives you several extras that you cannot add to your physical one. For instance, you can create a video-CV, which according to some experts is a very efficient way for catching the attention of potential recruiters. In addition, you can show in your profile that you have certain skills and other users will be able to endorse them. But that is just the beginning.
Linkedin also offers a really good search engine in order to connect with people, companies and groups. In these terms, depending in your main fields and the companies that you follow, you will receive suggestions of people who may be working in a sector where you would like to work. The same way, recruiters and companies can find you even when you don’t apply for a position. As a matter of fact, thanks to LinkedIn, I have had the opportunity to talk with engineers from Aston Martin or Nissan. Furthermore, companies use this tool to offer jobs, and it is extremely easy to apply for them: you just have to go to the description and click “Apply” (sometimes you will have to attach your CV as well). Then they will revise your profile and if they are interested, they know how to contact you!
Another aspect that I find interesting is the fact that you can write posts there (the same way as a blog) or share news and links. Obviously, the things that you share should be professional… However, not everybody feels the same way and unfortunately, every day more people are using LinkedIn as a “second Facebook”, posting random pictures or sharing updates which are just quotes. I’m not saying those things are not entertaining, don’t get me wrong, but we already have other social networks for sharing them! Therefore, I would strongly recommend to try to keep your profile as professional as possible.
Apart from that, I would like to highlight other two networks which can be very useful, specially for researchers: Academia.edu and ResearchGate. These main objective of these tools is to allow people to share their publications. By doing this, you can get in contact with other people who are researching similar topics. You can actually find people for future collaboration! Unfortunately, at this stage of my research, I haven’t written any publication yet, but I will use these applications in a very short period of time, that is for sure. In addition to publications, people can also ask technical questions and experts will be able to reply and help, making these websites the best places to be within the research community!